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2001/84/76 Performance costume, including flippers (pair) and cap, 'Swimmer', rubber / plastic / silcon, designed by Dan Potra, Australia, date unknown, made by Technisub, Italy, date unknown, used in the Opening Ceremony of Olympic Games, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, 2000. Click to enlarge.

‘Swimmer’ performance costume designed by Dan Potra

The Swimmer costume was assembled from a pair of purchased lime green flippers and a purchased pink swimming cap. The complete costume included a wetsuit and swimming goggles, but these are not included in the Powerhouse acquisition. The costume featured in the Deep Sea Dreaming segment of the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games Opening Ceremony and is one of eight identical costumes used int he segment.

The costume was designed by Dan Potra and it's manufacture coordinated by the Ceremonies Costume Workshop in Redfern, NSW.

The Deep Sea Dreaming segment presented a theatrical representation of Australia's affinity with the sea and it's rich and exotic creatures. Quoting from the Post-Games Report:

After the horses left the arena, the first narrative sequence, Deep Sea Dreaming, began. A small Hero Girl - Nikki Webster, a 13-year-old of astonishing talent and versatility - skipped into the arena in a pink sunsuit, carrying a beach towel. She applied sun cream to her nose, stretched, lay down and began to dream. Her dreams afforded the director of this segment, Meryl Tankard, the opportunity to transform the stadium into a deep, brilliant ocean - the kind of ocean that surrounds the island continent. To this end, 11 cables were used, strung 45 m above the arena across the 111 m space between the grandstands on either side.

As the Hero Girl soared high above the arena in a special lift harness, swimming and floating and somersaulting through the ocean, she was surrounded by exotic creatures of the deep. Giant translucent jellyfish drifted past her, through her dream, and then various coral cods, angel fish, sea-dragons, stingrays, sea cucumbers, anemones, banana eels, even a fearsome barracuda. Of the 800 people involved in this segment, 150 were schoolchildren taking the part of a giant school of fish. At one stage, as the Hero Girl drifted through the ocean, the face of Australia's famously vocal swimming coach, Laurie Lawrence, appeared on giant screens around the arena, urging kids to swim faster.

The Hero Girl could not swim faster. She was sucked slowly downwards among a swirling mass of fish. White ochre spirits entered the whirlpool and took charge of her, carrying her to a stage where a silhouetted figure was waiting. This was Djakapurra Munyarryun, the Songman and great tribal dancer, who would guide her during the rest of the program through an exploration of Australia's past. (Source: Post- Games Report,


Object No.


Object Statement

Performance costume, including flippers (pair) and cap, 'Swimmer', rubber / plastic / silcon, designed by Dan Potra, Australia, date unknown, made by Technisub, Italy, date unknown, used in the Opening Ceremony of Olympic Games, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, 2000

Physical Description

Consists of a pair of rubber and plastic 'technisub' flippers (or fins) and a hot pink latex swimming cap.



Dan Potra was born in Romania where he studied film, television and theatre design at the Art Institute Nicolae Grigorescu, graduating in 1987. He designed overseas for the Romanian National Theatre as well as working as a production, graphic and interior designer for film and theatre in Romania and Vienna. Potra graduated from the Design course at NIDA in 1991 and currently (2002) designs for theatre, opera, film and television.

Opera Australia repertoire: Carmen, Lakm?, Jenufa, Orlando (OzOpera), Ariadne auf Naxos, Batavia

His design work also includes; Carmen, The Threepenny Opera (West Australian Opera); Christina's World, Quito (Sydney Metropolitan Opera); The Burrow, Wide Sargasso Sea (Chamber Made Opera); Rigoletto, Barber of Seville (Wellington City Opera); Lenz, Orlando (OzOpera/Melbourne Festival); The Medium, Trouble in Tahiti, Tolemeo (Muziektheater, Belgium); Salome (Mariinsky Opera in St Petersburg and 2001 Melbourne International Festival of Arts); Carmina Burana (State Opera of South Australia and Australian Ballet); A Streetcar Named Desire (St Gallen Theater und Opera); La boh?me (Berlin Staatsopera)

Maker name Coordinated by the Ceremonies Costume Department.



Worn by one of eight swimmers who flew across the stadium in a 'race' coached from a large video screen by Laurie Lawrence

Presented to the Powerhouse Museum by the Olympic Coordination Authority, on behalf of the NSW Government


Credit Line

Part of the Sydney 2000 Games Collection. Gift of the New South Wales Government, 2001

Acquisition Date

5 October 2001

Cite this Object


'Swimmer' performance costume designed by Dan Potra 2020, Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, accessed 4 June 2020, <>


{{cite web |url= |title='Swimmer' performance costume designed by Dan Potra |author=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences |access-date=4 June 2020 |publisher=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, Australia}}

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