Father of five dies at town swimming pool

Ashley Himstedt, 33, died at the Tara swimming pool on Saturday.
Ashley Himstedt, 33, died at the Tara swimming pool on Saturday.

A DAY of fun in the sun turned to horror when the body of a man was dragged from a country town's swimming pool.

Ashley Himstedt was 33, and had passed a workplace health examination only 12 months earlier, when his heart stopped mid-stroke.

He had stopped for a chat with his mates Alan and Ward on Saturday just before heading to the pool on the hot spring afternoon.

"We were sitting here doing up a mud map of the best fishing spots, when he got up to get a towel. Said he was going for a swim," said Ward Sutton, his neighbour.

"Two hours later they came and said he'd passed away. That did my head in."

Born in Mitchell, Mr Himstedt played rugby league with the Mitchell Magpies, the St George Dragons, the Tara Panthers and the Miles Devils over the years.

His mother Vivien Wybenga, and many of those who knew him, described him as a "hard head" and "a rogue charmer", whose laugh would be missed around Tara.

"I remember last year he and the kids were saying 'Himstedts rule the pool'. All the kids were great swimmers, or age champions. It's uncanny," she said.

Mrs Wybenga said while he had lived in several towns in western Queensland, Tara was the place he truly felt at home.

"Tara was the place that turned his life around. He helped at the Christmas party when he first arrived, and since then they just accepted him.

"He loved his pool comp every Friday night, and Sunday afternoon, with the locals."

Ashley Himstedt is survived by his children, Shiana, Dwayne, Ashley Jnr, Alysia, Zhandra and Savannah Himstedt.

The coroner is still investigating the cause of Mr Himstedt's death, and the pool has remained closed since the incident.



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