South Esk Swimming Club In Tasmania Named Swimming Australia’s Club Of The Year

South Esk SA Coty 2020
WINNERS ARE GRINNERS: The team from South Esk Swimming Club, Launceston, Tasmania named the Swimming Australia Club of The Year. Photo Courtesy Swimming Australia.

South Esk Swimming Club’s 122 members from Launceston in Tasmania faced the challenges of 2020 together “focusing on the well-being of each other and the wider community” and this week  the club is the toast of Swimming Australia after winning the prestigious Club of The Year Award for 2020.

Due to COVID-19 Swimming Australia did not hold its full awards night this year but felt it was important to acknowledge the extremely deserving community award winners – The Club Of The Year, the Roger Smith Technical Official Of The Year won by Bill Ford from NSW and the Local Legend Of The Year to Helen Harding from WA.

Like all clubs during the pandemic, South Esk Swimming Club looked for ways to keep its registered members engaged and innovative Head Coach, Ketrina Clarke led the way, constantly engaging with her swimmers through weekly zoom meetings.


SWIMMING AUSTRALIA CLUB OF THE YEAR: Members of the South Esk Swimming Club, “focusing on the well-being of each other and the wider community” Photo Courtesy: Swimming Australia.

The sessions included discussions on exercise, nutrition, positive mindsets and motivation and she also used an app to engage with her senior swimmers, setting weekly challenges for them to achieve.

In a year where communication was critical, Clarke kept swimmer engagement high creating a four week program called FAST – flexibility activity, aerobic activity, strength activity and technique activity – for swimmers 11 years and above to complete activities across the week.

The club has prided itself on providing a number of social and fund raising activities for its members across the calendar year, including an annual awards dinner, a Christmas break-up and a footy tipping competition.

South Esk Swimming Club President Kris Dolle said she was humbled by the award, saying: “South Esk Swimming Club is very humbled to be the recipient of the Swimming Australia Club of the year for 2020.

“It has been a challenging year for all sporting clubs which required a focus on keeping our swimmers engaged with each other whilst continuing to comply with COVID-19 restrictions,” said Dolle.

“Ketrina used various online platforms to keep our squads in touch and it allowed our swimmers to maintain their physical fitness with various activities outside the pool.

“Facing the challenges of 2020 together our club as a whole has grown into a cohesive group focusing on the well-being of each other and the wider community.

“The South Esk Swimming Club Committee thanks all club members and their supporting families for their commitment to club programs during this challenging period.”


OLYMPIC OPEN WATER PIONEER: Bill Ford is a deserving winner of the Roger Smith Technical Official of the Year. Photo Courtesy: Swimming Australia.

Pioneering Olympic open water technical official Bill Ford, is certainly a deserving winner of the all-important Roger Smith Technical Official of the Year.

Ford began his career officiating in 1986 at the Penrith Swimming Club which ran the annual Bridge to Bridge event –– a 3km swim in the Nepean River during the 1990s with over 500 participants.

Officiating has become Ford’s passion, a man has clocked up a host of memorable achievements including Chief Referee for the Men’s 10km event open water event at the 2012 London Olympics and next year he will again officiate at the 2021 Tokyo Games.

Ford continues to give back to the sport by serving on the FINA Open Water Technical Committee and recently had the prestigious honour of being inducted into the Australian Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame.

Ford said he was incredibly humbled to receive the award.

“I’m both honoured and humbled to have been awarded the Roger Smith Technical Official of the Year Award for 2020,” Ford said.

“Every technical official is helped to reach their fullest potential by a very special group of mentors and I have been most fortunate to have the following mentors, all of whom have contributed to my success as a technical official in both the pool and open water swimming, and I would like to recognise each for their contribution towards my development and achievements as a technical official.

“They are Mrs Lynette Crossley, Mr Patrick Troy, the late Mr C B “Berry” Rickards (who was instrumental in my first FINA List appointment for Open Water Swimming), the late Mr Dennis Miller and Mr John West (New Zealand).

“Swimming Australia, through its development programs, encourages all Australian Technical Officials to reach their highest potential.

“As Technical Officials, our goal is to provide all swimmers with an equal opportunity to succeed by the fair and consistent application of the Rules of Swimming.

“The Roger Smith Technical Official of the Year Award is the pinnacle award for Australian Technical Officials, and I thank Swimming Australia for this prestigious Award.”


MULTI-TASKER EXTRAORDINAIRE: Local Legend of the Year Helen Harding enjoys the multi-tasking challenges and has duel been rewarded for her dedication. Photo Courtesy: Swimming Australia.

Local Legend of the Year, Helen Harding has held nearly every committee position available at the Southside Penrhos Wesley Swimming Club in WA and serves as a technical official.

Under her guidance Southside Penrhos Wesley has thrived, widely acknowledged as one of WA’s best swimming clubs.

Not only does Helen dedicate her time to serving on the committee, but she has been instrumental in the support and development of the Central Zone and now serves as the Zone Coordinator.

In true volunteer spirit, Harding dedicates further time to assist WA Swimming with competition planning, serving on the State’s Competition Planning Committee.

She started volunteering at Club level whenher now three very much adult children joined our club.

“Now near 15 years later, whilst only one is still swimming and no longer at home, I still enjoy giving back to the sport,” Harding said.

“Being retired, I really enjoy the multi-tasking mental stimulation and at times, the challenges of pulling competitions together and trying to do the best for our swimmers and I encourage all to volunteer in some capacity.”

Swimming Australia Chief Sport Performance, Matthew Kennedy said community recognition was especially important in this challenging year.

“Although we didn’t hold the full awards this year due to COVID-19 we felt it was really important to acknowledge our extremely deserving community award winners and highlight the work they do for the greater good of our sport,” he said.

“Volunteers are the backbone of any sport and swimming is very fortunate to have thousands of people who give up their own time to make our sport better each day.

“This year’s recipients have all shown superb commitment and passion for swimming and on behalf of Swimming Australia I congratulate them all and thank them for their contribution to our sport.”

All the winners will receive arena prize pack and a framed award recognising their achievements.



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