The Geelong Swimming Club (GSC) has been awarded Swimming Victoria’s Club of the Year for the 2020-2021 season.
The prestigious title was awarded to the club at Swimming Victoria’s annual Awards Night in June at the Melbourne Sports and Aquatic Centre. For many years the podium has been dominated by metropolitan clubs, but this year saw GSC reign supreme.
Providing a strong training and team environment for over 135 years, GSC received its award based on strong performance in the pool, good governance, inclusion, membership retention and growth.
Throughout Covid, the club offered reduced membership fees to swimmers and managed to increase its membership base by a staggering 78 per cent in the 2020 period. With approximately 250 members and 150 competitive swimmers, this was a great outcome for the club.
“We are honoured to have received this award, which recognises the vision and dedication of our amazing committee and coaches, particularly through the challenges of Covid,” says GSC president Glenn Benson.
With their home base at the council-run Kardinia Aquatic Centre, athletes at the club continued to train hard even throughout restrictions and the off season.
“We’re also very thankful to the council for its ongoing support,” says Mr Benson.
“We’re fortunate to have access to high quality facilities, and the year-round opening of Kardinia Aquatic Centre has been particularly beneficial for our athletes.”
City of Greater Geelong Mayor Stephanie Asher says that the work of GSC coincides with that of the council to promote a healthy Geelong community.
“Geelong Swimming Club is a great example of the benefit a community sporting club brings to the community,” Mayor Asher said.
“The club is very inclusive, giving swimmers of all abilities the opportunity to achieve their sporting goals, while being active and forming long-lasting friendships.”
Zoom sessions held by former Australian Dolphin and Head Coach Sam Ashby went ahead with athletes five days a week to combat the challenges of the pandemic.
This practice resulted in some well-deserved success, with GSC’s 18-member squad the club’s largest ever competing in the 2021 Australian Age and Open Championships on the Gold Coast in April.
Two of the club’s athletes won gold medals at the championships, Hayley Mackinder in the 13-years 100 metre breaststroke and Dylan Logan in the Multiclass 17/18-years 100 metre backstroke.
GSC’s overall success is attributed to a healthy team environment with inclusion, hard work and respect for each other being strong club concepts.
“We congratulate Glenn, his committee and all club members on their success, which has brought state-wide recognition to Geelong,” says Mayor Asher.