Swimming is such an outdoors thing for Australians that it is easy to forget a great deal of training happens at indoor pools. So it is with Wett Ones, the gay and lesbian Masters swimming club.
At Wett Ones, some swimming experience is expected. Overseen by accredited coaches, sessions concentrate on personal improvement as well as fun and fitness.
Three reserved lanes at the Sydney University pool allow for differing levels of proficiency for the 60 or so members. Training sessions start at 6:30pm Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays and 6pm on Saturdays. In summer there is an extra 10am session available at the Boy Charlton pool for those who prefer to swim outdoors. Visitors swim the first session for free.
Swimmers’ representative, Megan McLachlan, says, Masters is all about participation and keeping fit. In carnivals, swimmers race against their nominated times to encourage people to improve for themselves rather than focusing on the competition.
Wett Ones’ members have been consistent medal winners at the Gay Games. Fifteen medals were won at both New York in 1994 and Amsterdam in 1998. Club members took out an astounding 91 medals at the Sydney Gay Games in 2002.
Keeping up the tradition, 13 Wett Ones took their competitive spirits to the Outgames in Montr? this year. Among the 31 medals scored there were 14 gold for individuals and six for relays.
Cath Rogers won 11 of her 12 races. Haydn Wood brought home five medals from the competitive men’s 40-44 age group and Mark Burrows, having learnt to swim only a few months before, notched up some very credible times in the 50-metre events.
Making international contacts adds to the fun and experience. Many overseas visitors come to swim with us while they are here, Megan says. On the way to Montr? I swam with the English Bay Swim Club in Vancouver where I was made to feel very welcome.
Wett Ones, established in 1991, is in Division One of the NSW branch of AUSSI Masters Swimming with members ranking in the top 10 at both national and state levels. The association with AUSSI Masters is cemented with Wett Ones member, Ian Davis, as the NSW branch president and a national board member.
The head coach, Vanessa Smith, has also served for three years on the Masters coaching sub-committee. Members compete in various Masters swimming carnivals throughout the Sydney region including the state championships and their own carnival, with a wide range of ages represented.
Members take their training seriously but Wett Ones also has many social and competitive activities such as the popular weekly Wednesday evenings when members gather after training at the Royal Hotel in Abercrombie Street.
There are various fundraising events during the year and members often help out at special events in the Mardi Gras season -“ all this while chasing the body beautiful.
At Wett Ones the bodies are all ages, shapes and sizes, the club has a very friendly and supportive atmosphere and there is always room for more members. Getting in shape for those hot days at the beach could hardly be more pleasant.
For more information phone Megan McLachlan 0411 151 668, email email@example.com or visit the Wett Ones website.