Swim champ meets idol

Caitlyn WattsPilbara News
Premier Mark McGowan meeting Karratha resident Luke Whatley with Chandra Malik and Andrew Heath.
Camera IconPremier Mark McGowan meeting Karratha resident Luke Whatley with Chandra Malik and Andrew Heath. Credit: Picture: Caitlyn Watts

Premier Mark McGowan may have just met his biggest fan.

Karratha local Luke Whatley, a quadriplegic man who made headlines after swimming 100 laps of an Olympic-sized pool, was written a letter of congratulations by the State leader, who he later admitted was his “idol.”

His wish to meet Mr McGowan came true during his trip to the region last week, when he was greeted by the Premier at his Kmart workplace.

Mr Whatley said it was “awesome” to have finally met his idol, who he described as an “absolute living legend”.

“He has been my idol for many, many years and on Tuesday I finally got to meet him. He sat down with me for like 15 minutes and he doesn’t do that for anyone,” he said.

“We were just so entangled in conversation. It was great because we connected, we had a good yarn and it was awesome.

“He is just so genuine and he is a champion like me. It was such an honour to meet such a great man. He’s like Nelson Mandela, only better. He is a god.”

Mr McGowan signed a Kmart mug for Mr Whatley to keep in memory of their meeting.

“It’s gone straight to the pool room. That’s a very important piece of china up on the cabinet where it can’t break,” Mr Whatley said.

Mr Whatley said the Premier was his idol because of the work he does every day for WA.

“I think that many ministers and premiers around Australia should take a leaf out of his book and really focus on what matters because that’s what he does,” he said.

“He’s just such a humble guy. He doesn’t take any nonsense from anyone. I told him on Tuesday to keep the borders closed and keep up the great work.

“He listens to the people of WA and that’s what many of the ministers around Australia should do with their State.”

Mr Whatley said he aimed to smash his record and complete 150 laps this year, and hoped the Premier could attend poolside or watch the swim via a live stream.

Get the latest news from thewest.com.au in your inbox.

Sign up for our emails