If you enjoy making a bit of a splash and you’re aged 18 and over, the Port Macquarie Masters Swimming Club may just be for you! President Sandie Carden explains the club is friendly, attracts swimmers of all skill levels, and presents plenty of opportunities to travel away with a group of like-minded people …
Hi Sandie. What’s your involvement with the Port Macquarie Masters Swimming Club?
My role in the club is that of President. I’ve been in this role for the past three years and have loved every minute of it. We have a great group of people in the club, and we regularly get together for social events.
What can you tell us about the club’s history?
I have personally been involved with the club from its inception, when we started at the indoor 50 m pool in Acacia Avenue. I did take a few years off running around after four children, but returned for some “me” time.
We have a couple of original members still churning their way up and down the pool – Rodger Alden and Loris Hendy compete for the club, although Rodger has only recently “retired” from his competitive days.
We have recently celebrated our 21st birthday with our current members at one of our many “social occasions”.
Our team has competed at many swim meets in that time, at regional, state, national and international meets. We also have state and national record holders in their respective age groups, and as recently as this year had six members compete in the World Masters Games in Auckland, with one of our members coming home with gold and silver and another two of them with silver and bronze medals. An awesome result!
This is not to mention the club being one of the smaller clubs in the state in the top 10 point score against the larger metropolitan clubs. We are a force to be reckoned with.
What does “masters” mean, in terms of the club? What age/skill level is required of participants?
Masters is for anyone at any level aged from 18. Our youngest member is 19, with the eldest being 90. Our members not only do still water swims, but also compete in the open water events.
There have no doubt been some amazing members involved with the club over the years. Who have been some of the standout achievers?
Over the years we have had some amazing members, some unfortunately no longer with us, but we do all remember them fondly. There are so many people who make the club run, and everyone puts their hand up to help out wherever and whenever they can.
Our committee members have been unbelievable in organising events socially, arranging our swim meet here in Port, organising our away trips with travel and accommodation, organising our Ironman volunteers – we are known as the “Masters of Clarence” – and our general everyday programs.
This year, as mentioned before, we had six of our members attend the World Masters Games, with Kim Brennan bringing home a Gold, Silver and Bronze, Annemaree Grainger with two Silver and two Bronze and Roslyn Hodge with a Bronze.
Three of our other members, Darren and Rita Svensson and Andrew Gardiner, also competed and came home with awesome times and great memories. It isn’t all about the win, but this lot churned up and down the pool prior to leaving, and we watched them intently from the “Latte and Double Espresso Lanes”.
Over the years, some of the standout achievers have been Joy Cain, Gary Gilbert, Sharon Walsh-Barltrop, Jody Rich, Margaret Jopling, Reg McGlashan, Carolyn Turnham, Ross Cummins, and that’s just to name a few.
When do club members regularly meet – and what’s involved with training sessions?
We meet every Saturday morning, 7:30am, at the Port Macquarie Pool all year round, with the winter break being mid-year, where we head south to the State Relay Meet and also do our walks along our beautiful coastal walkways and back to one of the many great cafés that we have to choose from.
Most of our members train regularly either here in Port or at the Wauchope pool and do their sessions together with programs that we have from our Masters Association. We also have a coach on deck at least twice a month, doing either sprint or correction workouts. Once a month we have our aerobics session, where our various distances and times are recorded. It doesn’t matter how long it takes; it matters that you do it.
Some of the team meet on a weekday morning and do extra aerobic swims, and these can also be recorded.
What upcoming comps/events do you have on your calendar?
Our main upcoming event is our annual PMQ meet on November 11th, which pulls swimmers from the metropolitan area as a favourite destination for the weekend and has always been a great meet and social occasion.
Personally, what have been some of your fondest memories from your time with the club?
Personally for me there are a lot of fond memories that I have, with the main one being able to compete at the State Relay meet with my mother, Gloria, and daughters, Dakota and Sigourney – and winning!
Getting back in the pool with my old team mate and best friend, Laurice Saunders, and competing with her again and having our old coach, Brian Wilkinson, rocking up to watch us.
Also, just being around such a great bunch of people, who help each other out, look out for each other, travel and compete as a group and welcome new people to the mix. We are such a diverse bunch, but we all work together to make it great.
How can readers become involved?
If anyone is interested in joining us, you can come along to the pool on a Saturday morning at 7:30am and meet the team. Jump in and have a swim with the rest of us, no matter what level you are at, and join in with our morning tea afterwards.
You can also check out our Facebook page to see how much fun we really do have. As I said, it isn’t all about competing and being the best, but getting out there, having a go, having fun and getting fit in your own time.