If you can swim 15 m and you enjoy being in the water, the Port Macquarie Swimming Club may just be for you. The club has nurtured many locals – including swimming champ James Magnussen -but you don’t have to be a record breaker to enjoy what’s on offer. President Warren Phillips fills us in …
What’s the Port Macquarie Swimming Club’s back story – how long has it been around, and why was it established?
The Port Macquarie Swimming Club is celebrating its 50th anniversary and was established to form a club to promote enjoyment of swimming, competition in swimming, good sportsmanship, team spirit, commitment, respect and a sense of belonging and to provide participation for each swimmer in the club.
The Port Macquarie Olympic Pool was officially opened in 1966. What have been some of the highlights of you club’s association with the pool over the past 50 years?
Obviously the biggest highlight has been our former club member James Magnussen going on to become the first Australian male swimmer to win the 100 m Freestyle at the World Championships and to go on and become a dual world champion, Olympic silver medallist and Commonwealth gold medallist.
Other notable swimmers include Ethan Rolfe and Candice McMeeking.
From a club’s point of view, the biggest highlight is our achievement of being crowned Mid North Coast and now Swimming North Coast Long Course champions for 14 of the past 15 seasons. Our current swimming area covers from Bulahdelah to Tweed Heads.
No doubt the club has produced many junior and senior champs, with state and national titles to their name, over time. Who are some of your current high achievers?
Over the past 10 years the club has had many very talented swimmers, including our current junior coach Fiona Connell, who was a national swimmer and received a scholarship to study and swim in America.
Mekayla Everingham, who recently relocated to Sydney to study after her HSC, won a total of seven national medals whilst representing the club.
At present we have national swimmers Sam Harris, Tom Berryman, Bianca Jamison, Grace Bannon and Jessica Grant, who have all reached Swimming NSW Club Legend Status. Our other national swimmers include Lachlan Kirkland, Luke Mapstone, Harrison Northey, Kimberley Gosshorn and Adam Grant.
What age range and skill level does your club cater for? Do members have to compete – or is there also a social swimming aspect?
The swimming club caters for swimmers of all abilities and ages, as long as they are able to swim 15 m or further.
Swimming club is a fun environment, where the swimmers are competing against their own times each week, which are recorded throughout the year.
Our competitive swimmers also swim at club nights, but also swim at the many weekly carnivals on offer from throughout the summer season, with the aim of gaining qualifying times for area, country, state and national championships.
When do you all regularly meet for training, and what coaching facilities are available?
The Port Macquarie Swimming Club trains from August through to the end of June at the Olympic Pool in Gordon Street, under the watchful eye of experienced Head Coach Michael Mullens (former national swimmer) and Junior Coach Fiona Connell.
On offer are ten training sessions per week, with our seniors in the water from 5am to 7am, and afternoon training commencing at 3:30pm through to 6:30pm, Monday to Friday.
For the first time, Port Macquarie will host the NSW Country Regional Meet on January 27 -28. What events will be on offer, and how many/what types competitors are you expecting to attend?
Country Regional Championships is a Swimming NSW run meet, and is one of only three meets held in NSW that weekend. On offer will be all the championship events that will be swum at the Commonwealth Games.
As qualifying times are required to enter this carnival, we will have the best of country swimmers competing for titles, and we have received strong interest from the bigger Sydney clubs looking to compete because of the strong competition that will be on offer.
In excess of 400 swimmers are expected to compete over the weekend, which will see the pool at maximum capacity, and it will be the largest carnival held at Port Macquarie.
Where can we find out further info about the club?
For further information regarding the swimming club you can contact Warren Phillips (President) on 0414 781 565, or our Race secretary Eva Grant at: firstname.lastname@example.org or our club registrar Lerren Apthorpe at: email@example.com. Alternatively, the Port Macquarie Swimming Club meets Wednesday nights from 6pm at the Olympic Pool in Gordon St, and any interested swimmer is more than welcome to come along and try us out!
Interview by Jo Robinson.