03 September 2010

From the October 1987 newsletter....

Melbourne Olympian, Denise Wangel (formerly Norton) and 'oldie' at the time, Joe Savage write about joining Adelaide Masters.

As we were......

Also from the October 1987 newsletter celebrating ten years of Adelaide Masters, Graham Ormsby reflects on a night's training at the now Stateswim pool on Norwood Parade

18 July 2010

Michael Harry reports on Townsville Strand Swimming

Photos (from top) A straight 8k swim to Castle Hill and The Strand; gearing up for the 2.5 k; the start of the 5k Strand swim; Magnetic Island from The Strand with Picnic Bay SLC in the background.

Having a son living in Townsville is the perfect reason for a mid winter escape to the soft tropical sun of north Queensland, and an opportunity for a different open water swim. A booming regional city, Townsville has a tough exterior - heavy industry, a big military presence, rugby and hoon car culture. Scratch below the surface and it has real charms, beautiful gardens and fine colonial buildings, excellent galleries and restaurants, jazz at the Surf Lifesaving Club on Sunday evenings and most of all, the Strand, a 2.5K esplanade providing a magnificent recreational area which buzzes with activity
from 6.00am when the first walkers arrive to past midnight when the cars cruise the strip. There are elaborate water play areas, bike tracks, picnic tables and barbecues, cafes, sculptures and gardens, and two wonderful swimming facilities at either end: the Rockpool, an oval 100m x 50m open seawater pool at the north, and the Tobruk Memorial Pool at the south. Built in 1947 as a tribute to Townsville’s wartime services, the Tobruk Pool was the training base for the 1956, 1960 and 1964 Australian Olympic training squads (before the days of heated pools) and is now the home of the AUSSI Masters Rats of Tobruk. The original art-deco exterior has been preserved, and the entrance hall has a fascinating photographic display of our swimming heritage. The Strand Swim, run by the Picnic Bay SLC, offers 2.5K and 5K events, the latter serving as the qualifying swim for local swimmers doing the 8K Magnetic Island swim in July. Swimming in salty, turbid water – Cleveland Bay is a wide, shallow expanse with mud flats fed by the Ross River – competitors have views to the Island on the east and Castle Hill on the west. I did the 2.5K with about 40 others, and 70 swimmers tackled the 5K. The standard was high, with lots of young swimmers, but a few older Masters as well. A 400m dash for cash and generous prizes and lucky draws followed, and everything was wrapped up by 11.00am.The Maggie swim, which has a long history, was originally limited to a small number of competitors penned in shark cages but has grown rapidly since 2005 when it was first run as a paddler accompanied swim. It is now pushing up to 100 registrations. The course is a straight line from Picnic Bay across to the Strand, aiming for Castle Hill, so navigation is not a problem. Spending a couple of nights on the Island is a bonus – there is a permanent population of around 4000, many of whom commute to the mainland, but it remains a magnificent unspoilt place where development has been confined and kept low key. There are great walks and an interesting military history. Doing the swim is a personal goal next year, preferably in a duo, so if someone is interested let me know!

26 June 2010

Norma Fowler : a tribute from Di Simons

Norma Fowler in recent times (top); Norma, Di Simons, Mary Phin and friends a few years ago (bottom)

Friends and fellow swimmers in Adelaide Masters were saddened to hear that Norma Fowler had been struck down with cancer in 2009. We all worried about her as she overcame the pain and learnt to walk again after many months in Royal Adelaide Hospital Hampstead Rehabilitation Centre, and finally a nursing home, until eventually she was able to return home only to be struck down by a heart attack after fighting such a courageous battle.

Norma joined Adelaide Masters in 1978 and was part of the backbone of our club. She made our first club banner and served on the Committee for many years notably as our club treasurer.

She was a very feisty lady and considering she only learnt to swim at the age of 58, she became very competitive in local and national competitions and held several state records during her thirty plus years of membership.

In her early years in our club she had a fear of deep water and related the story of how she was terrified at the thought of a false start in the deep end of the North Sydney pool because she feared she would never make it back to the wall. We think and hope that in later years she overcame this phobia.

We remember a few of her famous quotes: ‘My get-up-and-go has gone’; ‘We’ll outlive the competition and win all the gold medals’ (and she tried very hard to do just that!)

She was an adventurous lady who was affronted on a recent African safari when she was questioned about her age and fitness. Of course with her usual verve and enthusiasm she coped very well.

Norma was beloved by all who knew her and will be sadly missed.

02 May 2010

alice the springs open water swim

alice the springs on a break every break i get the chance to swim no matter what or when or where might be a short swim might be a long swim across a loch or carrickalinga ocean 3 km this time no distance but sublime relaxation macdonnell national park ellery creek big hole on sight amazing could not stop grinning already in bathers was not intending to swim but slowly started to be drawn towards the water a dream come true as I had always wanted to swim in a hole water hole creek billabong call it what you will it could not be more australian than the kangaroo entering voicing is it cold and being told it is i like it that way horrified onlooker expresses his concern but i don’t hear diving in comment returned he is an open water swimmer he does this sort of thing all the time he will be fine off into the distance back front breast water cool not cold sun slowly descending as I swim out past rocks into creek with no one around high sides beautiful colours water becomes more shallow until i lie on my back look at the blue sky and the high sides of the beautiful red rock with trees over hanging the water completely stopped still no one nothing water to shallow now for swimming sitting on the side cool breeze getting colder must move swim back out of the creek slowly taking everything in before swimming smoothly through the water back to the shore on the side grinning and talking and could not be happier with situation experience people surroundings relaxed happy content wet a bit cold dream come true

by iain wright

12 April 2010

"Keep It Stupid Simple" by Iain Wright

The album "Keep It Stupid Simple" can be purchased on CD by emailing the Adelaide Masters of your interest at $13 including postage.

Check out the video clip of Bad Dreams on Vimeo.

Purchase the album on iTunes here "Keep It Stupid Simple".

Check out the blog posted during and after the month of writing the album here.

Thanks to the Adelaide Masters Swimming club for helping me promote my work.



31 March 2010

open water swimming

start like a lamb and finish like a lion they say but the finish is some way away and the lion is lurking ahead in the water somewhere hidden a bit bashful a bit reluctant to join in and you don't feel bold and all conquering and you tell yourself to enjoy the present stay calm in the early stages breathe easily relax wait and gather momentum so that you can enjoy the moment for the moment and swim towards that first yellow buoy lifting your head for quick glimpses to get your bearings and make sure you stay straight no matter how many swimmers dart to the right or left or across your path or rush past and ahead you're impressed but not stressed by their speed and purpose keep your own tempo you remind yourself enjoy this swim you want to enjoy the warm sensuousness of the water and pick out the sea grasses and small fish that come into your eye line you don't want to miss any scuttling crabs scuffing up sand and brandishing their claws as they dare you to return there are stingrays out there but you wont see any you've only seen them next to you on the sandbar sometimes or in the shallows when you've been training never in races you've come upon them abruptly and you've been startled by their panicky flourish and their haste as they dart sideways into the gloom but you know they'll never do this when there's a race on they're always well away from the churn of a hundred swimmers and burrowing into the sandy sea bottom or seeking the safety of sea grasses until it's over and although you try not to think about it you hope it's the same with sharks fishermen and boaties tell you they're out there and probably not far away there's a nursery on the other side of plum pudding island they tell you when you're down at port elliot but you've never heard of a sighting in any of your races and you want it to stay that way you want these magnificent but scary scary scary creatures to be super polite and move off for a quiet life somewhere else until this race is over and you really don't give them any more thought knowing there would have to be an incident for that to happen you're lulled by the beat beat beat of your arms on the water and you're much more interested in getting to the next buoy you begin stretching out and increasing your tempo you're feeling good and you've noticed you've drawn alongside a group of swimmers and you're swimming in a line towards the next buoy an arm next to you flaps a little erratically and you realise it's fatigued you're not fatigued at all you realise and you almost growl as you increase your tempo it helps that you are swimming with the tide you're not fighting the sea and you know it won't be long and you'll soon be on the beach there'll be none of that exasperation you get sometimes when you swim and swim and swim and don't seem to get any closer the final buoy is approaching and you feel someone slapping at your feet and someone else at your hip as you make the turn it's as if you're in the middle of a mob of sheep and you're all trying to squeeze through a narrow gate at the same time you half expect someone to swim over the top of you but they don't and soon you're on your own stay calm you say to yourself don't rush you've started like a lamb now finish like a lion it may be old and a bit moth-eaten but summon as much strength as you can and when the tips of your fingers touch sand stand up and lope towards the line

peter mcfarlane

29 March 2010

Di Simons writes about Mary Phin, AM Life Member

For those of you who don't know Mary Phin she is married to Ashley, she has two sons and one grand daughter and she regularly competes in the 70-74 age group. Mary is my sister and the two of us have consistently marshalled interclubs and state meets for over ten years.

Mary has been a member of Adelaide Masters for 30 years, having joined our club in the early 80s, and she was an enthusiastic competitor at national meets in the 80s and 90s. She doesn't attend club training, preferring to do her own thing at Immanuel Pool close to her home, and these days Mildura is her favourite meet. She enjoys our houseboat holidays there with all the fun and camaraderie associated with these trips.

Mary personifies the dedicated club swimmer. Although no one would class her as a champion she always puts 150% effort into her swims. She is very much a quiet achiever who has earned her fair share of the points which have contributed to our success as a club over the years. One of Mary's favourite quips when she competes in the longer 200 metre events is 'don't all get out and get dressed before I finish the race', so you can imagine her absolute delight when she scored a 25 metre breaststroke record at Mildura recently!

Mary loves to have fun. She was one of the Flim Flam girls in Canberra (with Elly Fleig and Cheryl Lim), and I remember her cavorting around doing water ballet in the Parap Village pool at midnight with Linley Cooper and her daughter Amanda as part of the Frangipanni Girls. Being an ex-member of the Adelaide Water Ballet team and a former teacher of synchronised swimming with the SA Education Department 'performances' like these were her forte. Wherever there were 'goings on' in the club Mary was in the midst of them: our spicy Tinsel Town Tarts floorshow, our risque Cabaret and the Nuns' Chorus floorshow - all a lot of fun!

Members of the social committee know that Mary can always be relied upon to provide food for our barbeques and social events and she is a dab hand at putting numbers on arms at beach swims.

In short I am proud to call Mary Phin my sister!

Di Simons

15 February 2010

Big River Man

Last weekend The Advertiser's SA Weekend magazine had a fascinating article on the Slovenian long distance swimmer Martin Strel http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Martin_Strel who swam the Amazon River in 2007 when he was 53. Apparently the award winning documentary 'Big River Man' which is now out on DVD shouldn't be missed by anyone interested in swimming. Fellow bloggers may be particularly interested in Strel's diary of the final days of his journey. The BBC published it not long after he completed the journey: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/talking_point/6389845.stm

It was a big weekend for open water swimming as The Weekend Australian Magazine (page 34) carried a timely preview of next weekend's 19.7 km swim to Rottnest, mentioning among other things that Dieter Loeliger, former Adelaide Masters member, will be completing the swim two days before his 77th birthday! Good luck to Dieter as well as Pam Gunn and the other Adelaide Masters swimmers competing this year. Check out the Rottnest site http://www.rottnestchannelswim.com.au/content/other-events for more on this event.

09 February 2010

Ocean swimming booms: record numbers show for Cole Classic

The love of sea and salt is proving irresistible to a growing number of ocean swimmers, with a record number taking part in one of the country's longest-running ocean swims, the Cole Classic in Manly, Sydney. Four and a half thousand swimmers entered the 1 kilometre and 2 kilometre events, despite the heavy rainfall making for dirty conditions.
As a sport, ocean swimming is booming and NSW leads the way, followed by Victoria and Western Australia.

Download audio here from ABC website

The AM on Facebook

For all you Facebook junkies the AM has a group on Facebook.  Follow this link if you are keen to be a member:

AM Facebook Group

25 January 2010

How does a blog work?

A blog is simply a web page designed to deliver information in an easy to read well formatted manner. To access the AM blog you can follow this link.:

Link http://amnewsletter.blogspot.com/

There are 2 ways to follow the site. One is to regularly follow the link to see what is happening but we also send out an email with the link after several stories have been posted.

The second option is to subscribe to our blog. For this option you will need a Gmail or Yahoo email account (both can be set up free of charge) and by clicking on the link Follow to the right of the blog and adding your email address you will receive an email when the site is updated.

The blog happens chronologically, older items will be further down the blog or under the link on the right.

That's it!  Enjoy the blog.

20 January 2010

The newsletters they are a changin'

Be patient with us that's iain and me well me more than iain i'm a bit old and out of touch and trying to stave off dementia by learning something new not doing something I'm already comfortable with and I'm sure not readily comfortable with blogs and creating the first post of what we hope will be many posts written by and expanded upon and published online by us and you as a fun way of bringing our club and its wondrous characters and history alive and well for all of us to read about and enjoy

i'm peter by the way peter mcfarlane petermac petermacca macca sometimes poider i was appointed editor of the newsletter at the agm last year but as you can see from the photo i took of the poster put out by the desperate-for-members petanque recruiting team at collonges la rouge in the dordogne i ran away to france and other places for an extended stay as a way of escaping all responsibilities and left them all with iain wright former newsletter editor and much appreciated and indispensable member of the editorial team who reckons and i believe him well almost that we'll all be going online to check this blog out as well as add to it and build on it for the future once we've got the hang of how easy it is to do and we appreciate how splendid it will be to have blogs on what was then what is now and what's coming up in the future

so thanks to iain this blog's under way we've already got a post on the vanuatu swims plus a great link to the issue of suits that sue our president found in the washington post and a brief summary from iain on how to get into the blog and subscribe to it that is the mechanics of the thing and he says and i believe him that once we follow his directions and get the hang of how to collect and edit posts there'll be lots more entries and lots more links and the aussi masters swimming blog will grow and grow into a pretty exciting and enjoyable addition to our club

what's going to be in future blogs is up to us and what we want to read about but i'm going to make a small beginning by responding to the members' suggestions that were in the recent survey and begin collecting stories and photos and articles from our older members as a way of celebrating the swimmers who founded the club and made such a significant contribution over the years

over the oncoming months i'll be approaching various people with requests for articles and ideas on this and other topics but if you've already got something you want to write about or if you've found a link you want to recommend to everyone don't wait for me to ask please email it to me directly as my aim my hope my wish for the future as i hope you've been able to work out from this unpunctuated rush of thoughts from my brain is that the adelaide masters swimming blog is one that's made by and for all members of our club


19 January 2010

In the beginning...

For the benefit of our new and younger club members articles containing Adelaide Masters' history and past personalities will be a regular feature in future AM newsletters.  Di Simons, one of our founding members has written this one.

In the early 70, she writes, a group of coaches and ex-amateur swimmers met regularly to compete as a means of staying fit and keeping in touch. The called themselves the Old Time Swimmers League.

Josie Sansom (left) was part of this group. She had been chosen to represent Holland in the 1948 Olympic team until TB and the removal of a lung put paid to her aspirations.

Josie heard about a group called the Australian Union of Senior Swimmers International (AUSSI) which had been formed by returned diggers in NSW. Consequently Josie, Stan Walker and Pam Squires went to Harbord Diggers Club to compete and that was the nucleus of Adelaide Masters.

Ours was the first AUSSI club in SA formed in November 1977. Ern Reddaway, the manager of the Parade Pool (now State Swim Norwood), was our patron and he allowed us to use the pool free 3 nights a week for training. Impromptu meetings were held on the back lawns as we scoffed a sausage sizzle.

Josie became our much loved and revered coach and would coerce/cajole us into time trials and swims we thought beyond our capabilities.

Twenty eight members competed at Melbourne Nationals at the Footscray Pool completing 9 swims in one day. The team was placed 2nd overall, won the St Leonard's Trophy, and thereby became a force to be reckoned with at future Nationals.


The oldies at our club were a canny lot who would all get together to plan their swims to maximise points for the club and up until the mid 2000s when they were all in their 80s, scored a large percentage of our winning points at Interclub meets and made a great contribution serving on various committees over the years. Names which come to mind are:

Mavis Boase (left) who at 68 won the Henley to Grange swim. She complained that she swam it 5 minutes slower than she had when she won this event 50 years before and said with a chuckle, 'They looked at me and saw a little frail old lady.' She has since passed away.

Joe Savage (life member below) who endeared himself to everyone when he entertained us all night at a restaurant under the Princes Bridge at the Melbourne Nationals. He had a beautiful bass voice and his last rendition was at the Darwin Nationals in 1999 when we were on a sunset yacht cruise - a memorable night! He competed into his 80s and I have a memory of him diving in and swimming 50 metres with his togs around his ankles because he'd forgotten to tie up his bathers! Sadly he passed away in 2007.

Mary Kemp, life member, (below) joined in 1982 because her son told her she wallowed in the water instead of swimming. Mary regularly brought along cakes to raffle at our training sessions to raise funds to subsidise our trips to the Nationals. We all felt desperately sorry for her when she was regularly disqualified for a screw kick in the breaststroke events. Turned out it was a hip problem causing this disability. She was swimming and competing regularly (she is now aged 89) until a knee reconstruction slowed her down this year. Mary plans to get back in the water as soon as possible.

 .....to be continued

Swimming Around Australia

Follow this link to see Natalie Hann's blog on swimming around Australia....what a great idea!!


10 September 2009

Vanuatu ... AM swimmers in paradise

Four Adelaide Masters swimmers – Jeanette Ashton, Sue Graebner, Pam Gunn and Michael Harry – made the trek to Vanuatu for two rewarding swims in June. Among a dozen or so swimmers from SA around 100 in total which made the trip including a number of local Vanuatan swimmers.

Vanuatu is a fascinating country, a spectacular tropical environment, volcanic terrain with some volcanoes which you can trek to and clear, deep blue water with abundant reefs teeming with fish.

It is the people who really make an impression – mostly extremely poor, they are universally friendly, relaxed and welcoming.

The population is young and homogenous – 95% indigenous ni-Van with a small community of French and English expats and a Chinese minority which operates most of the country’s businesses.

Our deeply religious drivers were called Thomas, Luke, Moses and John!

While there are literally hundreds of local dialects, English and Bislama – pidgin English – are widely spoken and communication is never a problem.

Everyone seems to be employed – mostly in subsistence agriculture, though there is a growing tourism sector.

Infrastructure – most obviously health, education and roads – is quite primitive but the country has a sense of purpose and well being that shines through the poverty.

Accommodation, local travel and food are reasonably priced. Food is incredibly cheap if shopping at the local markets or from the roadside.
Some of the treats are the Vanuatan beer Tusker and coffee, grown on the southern island of Tanna.
The first swim, a 3.2K course around Iririki Island at Port Vila on the main island Effate, was held in overcast but fortunately fine conditions after a wet and windy day before.

On the day the water was almost flat, clear enough to see tropical fish while swimming over reefs close to shore, and markedly cooler crossing a deep, indigo trench between the island and the mainland.

There is also a 1500M loop swim.

The awards dinner the following night was fun, a ni-Van string band played Vanuatan reggae and there were tarot, yams, curries and other interesting dishes as well as lots of fish.

After Port Vila we flew to Espiritu Santo, the largest of the islands about 200K north.

Lugarno, the capital, is a small, almost sleepy township, with distinct French influences and fascinating relics and infrastructure left by the US forces in World War 2.

While Vila is friendly bustle, Santo feels more remote and exotic.

The day after we arrived we were taken in canoes to a “blue hole” - a deep crystal clear brilliant blue waterhole fed by mountain rivers - then swam back downstream to meet our bus.

The next swim, 2.6K from the Luganville foreshore across a channel to Aore, a separate island, was more challenging than the Vila swim, however the weather was kind and predicted strong currents didn’t seem to create problems for most swimmers.

Water cover was provided by a fleet of traditional outrigger canoes, which had done an exhibition race the day before.

A memorable feature of the swim was the large cohort of local swimmers – around 30 including 5 or 6 women tackling the course.

Self taught, in boardshorts or jocks, without goggles unless they were able to get hold of a donated pair, and with no preparation, most managed to finish, some completely spent by the finish line.

Other highlights included an entertaining traditional welcome dance before the swim, loud and humorous and a fine awards lunch on

Of our group, Jeanette distinguished herself by winning the 60 – 65 category in both swims, a terrific achievement, as the standard was high.

All were happy with their swims, and could not have asked for a better experience.

We didn’t get around to visiting a kava bar....that, together with lots of other adventures, remain for a return visit.

Pacific Swims did an excellent job organising the trip and made a genuine effort to give something back to the local community as well as providing a memorable and great value experience for swimmers. Check them out yourselves at www.pacificswims.com.

One suggestion for future swims – in the spirit of east-coast open water swims – leave your high tech swim suits at home. They are not necessary in 24C degree water, and don’t fit with the spirit of competition which the local swimmers epitomise.
By Michael Harry

Washington Post Article on Full-Body Suits

The Washington Post recently posted an article on Full-Body Swim suits and their use by masters swimmers. Follow the link below to find out more....

"Master Swimmers Are Split On Full on Full Body Swim Suits"