The Beginning of Masters Swimming in Tasmania

MST (formerly known as AUSSI Tas) started with one club in Launceston in 1979. It was through the arrival of Helen Chester (from Canberra) who gave the group of eight Launceston swimmers a copy of the 1978 AUSSI magazine. The first record listed by a Launceston swimmer was David Gerrard, in the 100m Butterfly in Sydney in March 1979. The group met at the Windmill Hill pool on Tuesday nights and when the pool closed for the winter, the group moved to Monday nights at the Mowbray pool. The club went through a lull, however was reorganised by Peter Goss, Barry Larter and Keith Moore in December 1980 in conjunction with the South Esk Swimming club. Efforts were made to promote AUSSI through the local newspaper. By July 1981, a private pool (at 16 2/3 m) , Theogenes, opened and the group would meet and swim on Friday nights.

In February 1982, a group of Victorian Adult swimmers (Bentleigh RSS&A Swimming Club) were visiting Launceston for a weekend and wanted some local competition.

Trish Beveridge (now Benson), attended the National Championships in Sydney in 1982. Trish was from Devonport and talked to the group in Launceston on her return.

In 1983, a group of Launceston swimmers attended the National Championships in Brisbane.

On Sunday, 12th June 1983, a Special General Meeting was held at the Deloraine Hotel. This meeting under the direction of the chairman, Chris Showell, discussed the reason for the meeting (1) to elect office bearers and (2) to establish a committee to oversee the writing of the Branch Constitution using a draft copy of the NSW Branch Constitution as a guide. At the first meeting a financial statement indicated the Branch had a total of $418.33 after all expenses had been paid. At this time two clubs were affiliated (Devonport and Launceston) and this enabled the formation of the branch and therefore to be affiliated with AUSSI National.

In 1984, there was discussion with the then State Executive that people be approached to form a club in Hobart and also a possibility of a club in Smithton.

Although there were interclub swims between Devonport and Launceston, it wasn’t until 1985 that the 1st Summer (swum over two weekends, at both Launceston’s Windmill Hill Swimming Centre and Devonport’s Olympic Pool) and 1st Winter Championships were held in Tasmania. The results from these meets were collated and handwritten.  It would be 1987 before the recorder, Chris Holloway, would have access to a system of recording with the help of Unisys.

Trish Beveridge as the State Fitness Director was also conducting seminars. It was in 1984/1985 that the official pool records of AUSSI Tasmania were established. Both Launceston and Devonport participated in the National Aerobic Trophy Competition.

Members were encouraged to travel to Canberra for the 1985 National Championships and then to the National Championships in Adelaide the following year (noting that 10 swimmers from Tasmania swam).

By 1985, the Branch membership stood at 81.

AUSSI Tasmania was also represented at the Mid-Year Council Meetings from 1984/5.

In 1986, Chris Holloway attended the 1st World Championships in Tokyo.

There was interest in a southern club in Hobart/and or Glenorchy. It was suggested that the club be based at a pool and not just being known as Southern Tasmania. Although affiliations were received by two proposed clubs, only the Hobart club was established in 1987. One of the drivers behind the Hobart club was Nan Lewis who later helped establish the Talays club.

On the 26th January 1987, the 1st Open Water swimming event was held at Trevallyn Lake organised by the Launceston AUSSI Masters Swimming Club (through Philip Keam) and the Launceston Swimming Centre under the guidance of the Swimming Centre Superintendent, Paul Gambles. We hope the event will be seen as being in the spirit of a fun-run, where entrants compete at all levels of ability’, Mr Gambles said.

In 1987, the 1st Australian Masters Games was conducted on the Northwest Coast of Tasmania with the swimming being held at the Devonport Pool.

In 1988, a new club, Talays, emerged in the south, being based at the Glenorchy Pool during the summer months.  All four founding members of Talays swam at the World Championships in Brisbane along with other AUSSI members from both Devonport, Hobart and Launceston.

In July 1989, the 1st Tasmanian Masters Games was conducted in conjunction with the Winter Short Course Championships at the Mowbray Pool, Launceston.

In 1989/90 the Platypus Press newsletter was initiated by Chris Holloway and the branch implemented the Three Year Plan.

By 1990, the New Norfolk Whales had been established in in 1992, Burnie Masters joined the Branch.

In 1991, AUSSI Tasmania hosted the National Championships in Devonport, the 1st time a National Championships had been hosted outside of a state capital.

List of all office bearers in AUSSI Tasmania and MST from 1982.