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Warragul Swimming Club - Member History/Swimmers Hall of Fame

Club History

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The Warragul Swimming Club will celebrate its 60th anniversary in 2017, just 1 year away. The Club has enjoyed an eventful history and has continued to thrive due to the efforts of its dedicated members. Their main training centre, the Warragul Leisure Centre, is now open aftert a $13 million redevelopment, which includes an eight-lane, 50 metre outdoor pool. The Club is excited about the redevelopments, and its future, and looks forward to the celebrations in 2017.

Now for some history:

The new pool in Albert Street was opened to the public on 9th February 1957, 5 days later a meeting was held at which Warragul Amateur Swimming Club was formed. The inaugural President was Geoff Foster. The pool was officially opened on 7th December 1957 by the Chief Commissioner of Police, Major-General S H Porter. Competitors at the opening carnival were drawn from Warragul, Bairnsdale, Dandenong, Mirboo North, Sale, Traralgon and Yallourn.

A diving pool was later constructed with one and three metre boards and a tower with five and ten metre platforms. The Country Championships were held at the pool in 1967 and 1971, but having only six lanes was not suitable for higher level competition meets after that date. However, the diving pool was been used a number of times - including in 1992 for the Country Diving Championships. The Gippsland Championships were held at the pool on five occasions - the first time in 1965, the last in 1997, not withstanding great resistance in the District to compete in a six lane pool.

The Club rooms were opened during the Gippsland Championships in 1982 by Merv Norris who had been actively involved since 1968 in efforts to have clubrooms funded and built.

In the early 80s, a pool was built at Neerim South and close links were established with the Neerim South Swimming Club (not affiliated with Swimming Victoria). Many of their members were encouraged to take their swimming further and more seriously, so they joined Warragul Swimming Club. With the influx of new members, Warragul became a major force. This gain in strength produced confidence and subsequently propelled Warragul to become the most successful Club in the district since the Gippsland Championships were introduced in 1971. Warragul was awarded this prestigious trophy nine times, with a record seven year hold on the title from 1991.

The swimming club uniform was introduced for its first showing at the 1986 Country Championships at Geelong. During 1991, Vin Rowe Pty Ltd became the Club's first major sponsor and this company's generosity enabled the introduction of the distinctive blue and yellow jacket proudly worn by the Club's representatives at all levels of competition across the nation.

In 1984, Drouin High School enclosed and heated its pool, enabling the Club to train regularly in winter. Before this, winter training was at Newborough, on a very occasional basis only.

During 1982, a small group of energetic enthusiasts began fundraising for the sole purpose of having an indoor pool built in Warragul and, due to their commitment, ten years later, in 1992, a new indoor pool was opened, on a site away from the outdoor pool, as part of the Warragul Leisure Centre. This is where the Warragul swimmers do most of their training today. Sadly, despite many efforts from the community the Warragul outdoor pool was closed in 2007 with the Baw Baw Shire announcing that it will not be replaced in the foreseeable future. The Club now uses three pools for training -Warragul Indoor, Drouin Secondary College and Drouin outdoor to cater for the spectrum of opportunities from Club to National level.

Colin Ramsay was responsible for drafting the majority of the history to this point and we thank him for keeping the history of our club alive. See full version of this history: Club History