History

Club History

Work on the Morwell Outdoor Pool began on 14th January 1957. As the pool was nearing completion, a public meeting was held on the 15th October 1957,  in the Supper Room at the Morwell Town Hall. The meeting was convened by the Morwell Shire President A. L. Hare, and the Morwell Amateur Swimming Club was formed.

The Morwell Outdoor Pool opened on 14th December 1957, with over 2600 people attending on opening weekend. The first superintendent for the pool was 29 year old Ray Martin, who was also appointed as the first coach of the Morwell Swimming Club.

The Morwell Swimming Club held its first swim meet on Saturday 18th January 1958. Visitors were Dutch swimmers Miss Cockie Gastelaars and Miss Corrie Schimmel.

Each summer, the swimmers and parents of the Morwell Swimming Club would run classes at the outdoor pool, to teach children how to swim. Various certificates, including The Advertiser and Coca Cola swimming certificates, were introduced and awarded to swimmers for their proficiency.

In 1963, Dawn Fraser attended the Gippsland Championships at Morwell and presented medals to swimmers, including our own Joy Hunt and Robin Baker.

The club became known as the Morwell Amateur Swimming and Lifesaving Club in 1965, and lifesaving training was conducted regularly on a Sunday morning.

Otto Ford was appointed as coach in 1966 and the success of the swimmers increased significantly.

A group of Gippsland swimmers travelled to the 1966 Mildura Country Championships by a private plane charter.

Poolside opened in July 1967, the first indoor pool facility for Morwell.  Ray Johnson, an independent coach, trained a strong team of Gippsland swimmers here. In 1968, Morwell Swimming Club's John Hewat became the first Country Championships gold medallist trained at Poolside.

The Morwell Swimming Club held a Swim-a-thon in 1974 and raised $800 for Cooinda Hill and Swan House charities. The club broke an Australian Record, swimming over 34 miles in a 12 hour period.

Our swimmer, Bill Dykes, became the first Gippsland swimmer to break the minute in 100m freestyle, at the 1976 Country Championships in Sale, in a time of 59.2 seconds.

Poolside indoor pool closed suddenly in May 1983, due to financial difficulties, and never re-opened.

In March 1992, the last ever Gippsland Championships was held at the Morwell Outdoor Pool. The pool closed for good on 29th April that year.

I joined the Morwell Swimming Club in late 1992. Geoff Peterson was appointed Head Coach just prior to my arrival. He continued as Head Coach for 23 years.

The Morwell Outdoor Pool was demolished in January 1993, and work on a new indoor facility commenced. The Morwell Swimming Club petitioned for a new 50m geothermal heated pool, but the new pool was 25m and gas heated. (I can recall training in a very, very, cold indoor pool during the two week Victorian gas crisis in 1998).

The Morwell Leisure Centre was finished and we held our first training session mid-1994. The first carnival at the new centre, hosted by the Morwell Swimming Club, was held on 13th November 1994.

The indoor pool was officially named the Otto Ford Pool in October 1996.

The Morwell Swimming Club achieved great success in the mid 2000’s, winning many district trophies and shields, due to the consistency and regular attendance of our members at the local carnivals, as well as having some very good swimmers.

Geoff Peterson coached nine swimmers who qualified for National Championships.

We had a visit from Paralympians Monique Murphy and Ashleigh O’Connell in 2016, hosted our very first Geoff Peterson Swim Meet in August 2017, and hosted our first school carnival in September 2017, with a special visit from Olympian Josh Beaver.

Acknowledgements

I have had the privilege of organising the Morwell Swimming Club 60th Anniversary Reunion and there are many people I need to thank for their contribution to the celebration: Russell Stewart – logo editor; Morwell Bowling Club – host venue, and Major Sponsor; Pazzaz Printing in Morwell – for generously supplying our event flyers (invitations); Triangle Trophy Centre in Newborough – for their fantastic work putting our logo on all the merchandise; Rob de Souza-Daw of The Morwell Historical Society; Alan McAuliffe – for the beautiful and delicious anniversary cake; Ethan St Ellen (Lens Flair Productions) – videographer; Paula Ryan – photographer; Our Life Members and their families – for your stories and photos for the Life Member display, a keepsake for our club; Otto Ford and Con Amalos – two great and successful men who kept some great records, that assisted with my club history project; Raffle sponsors – Frame By Frame Moe, Betta Home Living Moe, Bunnings Morwell, Intersport/Inland Surf Traralgon; Our current committee members.

Thankyou to all the past members I have spoken to – for sharing their memories and amazing recollections about their time with the Morwell Swimming Club, and for all the photos and newspaper articles they sent me from their collections (especially Joy Hunt and Suzi Duncan), to enable us to have a generous display of history on the day.

Thank you to all the people that attended our Reunion. Many of you travelled long distances and I can’t thank you enough for coming back to visit the club to catch up with old friends. I’m so glad I could find you and finally meet you all! You have created so much history. The newspapers are proof. Thank you Michael Palmer and Joy & Ray Johnson for travelling so far.

Thank you to everyone that has ever been part of the Morwell Swimming Club – parents, swimmers and coaches – for creating all the history and wonderful memories we share now. The hard work of each and every committee, and the enthusiasm of every swimmer is what allows us to still be here as a club today.

 - Melissa Scholes -

 

Morwell Swimming Club Incorporated

Training at Latrobe Leisure Morwell:
Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday Evenings.
Juniors: 5:00pm till 6:00pm
Intermediate: 6:00pm till 7:30pm

Monday "Junior Dolphins" 5:00pm till 6:00pm

Morewell Swimming Club Logo

PO Box 44, Morwell Vic 3840

info@morwellswimmingclub.org.au