By Kirra Grimes
MEMBERS and friends of the South Gippsland Bass (SGB) Swimming Club gathered in Leongatha on Friday night to celebrate being named as the top swimming club in Australia.
The club received Swimming Australia’s 2018 Club of the Year Award at a ceremony the Melbourne Sports and Aquatic Centre on October 26, attended by 45 young swimmers as well as SGB coaches and committee members.
Last week’s gathering at Leongatha SPLASH was an opportunity for the whole club- currently 200 members strong- to come together to celebrate the win.
South Gippsland Shire Council Mayor Cr Lorraine Brunt and Deputy Mayor Cr Aaron Brown attended the celebration, congratulating the club on the achievement, and enjoying watching the action in the pool as swimmers competed in a series of races and relays.
SGB committee president
Lorraine Muir said the club was still buzzing after the win and that it had meant a lot to have the hard work of the swimmers, parents, coaches and committee members recognised.
“All the committee are volunteers who’ve invested heavily into the club, and it’s never been about advancing your own child; it’s about advancing the club and the sport of swimming. And that recipe seems to be working,” she said.
“We’ve always been focused on giving our swimmers the best we can offer them in and out of the pool, so we’re always reassessing and revaluating.
“And it’s not just about ticking boxes, it’s about making it fun for the swimmers, offering various levels of competition and creating an atmosphere that’s very encouraging and supportive so that they want to be here and be part of the family.”
Lorraine said the club was now focused on becoming even stronger, with sights set on a new and improved aquatic centre for Wonthaggi, where the club’s based.
She hoped winning the prestigious award would assist in advocating for improvements but acknowledged that it would be an expensive, long-term project.
“The award’s given us a good foundation to obtain more sponsorship and grants but we really need to look at the Wonthaggi facility,” she said.
“It’s dated and it’s not hitting the mark. The lanes are narrow and for the amount of different groups that use that pool, and the community growing, plans need to be looked at.
“All good things take time but we hope to be able to work with people at the Bass Coast Shire and others that are in a position to help because we need to start to see some forward growth.”
SGB’s swimmers are now gearing up for their next carnival at Warragul on November 17, where they’ll compete against other Gippsland clubs including Moe, Morwell, Traralgon, Warragul, East Gippsland and Sale.
The club’s elite swimmers are looking even further ahead to the Victorian State Championships at the beginning of December.