Posted on Tuesday 18th June, 2024

MSQ Swimmer of the Meet – John

Congratulations to John McKaig from the Townsville Aquaholics, for being awarded the ‘Male Swimmer of the Meet’ trophy at the recent MSQ State Short Course Championships held at the Brisbane Aquatic Centre in April 2024. John earned a total of 4556 World Aquatics points from his five best swims at the State Championships, and broke state and national records across seven events.

Thank you to John for sharing this swimmer profile for you to enjoy.


How did you first become involved with swimming?

I first swam the length of a 50m pool when I was 5 years old.  My parents were keen for us to have those skills so got us into it early.  Like most of us I competed up until I left school.

What do you love about swimming?

Swimming is my happy place.  My mind and body don’t do well without activity.  Swimming keeps me fit and is good for my health and I’ve found it great for my mental health also.  I enjoy setting goals, planning towards them and working hard to try and achieve those goals and swimming has been great for that.

When did you first join Masters Swimming?

I first joined masters swimming about 10 years ago.  I had a lot of trouble with back pain since I was 28 years old and I started swimming again to help with that once I got to a good point of my recovery.

Most memorable swimming moment?

My most memorable swimming moment was winning my first medal at Masters World Championships in Japan last year.  It was my first time competing at World Championships and to snag a bronze medal in my first swim there was an amazing experience.  During that meet I also managed a gold medal as part of a Men’s Freestyle Relay Team where I swam the anchor leg – I can still remember having the biggest smile on my face during that swim once I realised we were going to win. 

Favourite events?

My favourite events are sprint Butterfly and Freestyle. 

How often do you swim, and where?

I swim 4 times per week most weeks.  I train at Kirwan Aquatic Centre in Townsville which is an old 25m pool.  We have a great coach (Bindi Cussen) and a great group.  We train in the mornings from 5am to 6.30am.

What motivates and inspires you?

I like setting goals, planning and working hard trying to achieve those goals.  It gives me something to work towards and makes going to training much easier than if I didn’t have those goals to aim for.

Have you had setbacks to overcome?

Like most people, multiple injuries have been overcome.  I still have to manage my knees, elbows and shoulders.  I think I spend as much time doing stretching and recovery as I do swimming!

Favourite things? Likes and dislikes?

Favourite thing is racing!  My biggest dislike is a cold pool when training – not a fan of the cold!

What upcoming events are you swimming in?

My next events that I’m aiming for this year are the new NQ Championships in September and then Pan Pacs in November.  The main goal for the next couple of years will be World Championships in Singapore next year.

Can you share a little about your family?

As most people know, my parents are big supporters of me.  They travel with me to most of the big meets.  My Dad loves timekeeping and does that all carnival wherever we go.  My Mum is like our manager – she helps keep us organised and keeps an eye on how I’m going during my swims.  Not just me but anyone that we know or is from our club.  She loves cooking so we often have plenty of home cooked goodies when we go away!

Your Career?

My career has been majority in General Insurance.  I’ve run my General Insurance Brokerage for the last 25 years.  In that time, it has grown from 1 office with 3 staff to 5 offices and 50 staff.

Other interesting/little-known facts about you?

I still play A Grade Netball.  Mainly just Indoor Netball now.  A little over 30 years ago I was in the Australian Men’s Netball Team.  I also coach junior netball – under 9’s and under 11’s.

Philosophy on life? Favourite saying?

My philosophy is you get out of life what you put into it.  This was drummed into us as kids by our parents.  Living to that has served me well.

What would you say to someone who is thinking of becoming a Masters swimmer?

I tell anyone that will listen to have a go and they will love it.  We all do!  It is great for your fitness, gives you lots of fun and the friendships that you make are the best benefit of all.