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Copy of the Media Release issued for the Centenary celebration of Drummoyne Swimming Club on 13th March 2004.

It is no accident that Australia has always been a force in world swimming. In most suburbs and towns there is a swimming pool, a club run by volunteers and a bunch of young kids getting up early in the morning to do their laps with their dedicated coaches.

Drummoyne is one of the most important swimming centres in our history of producing champions, starting with Moss Christie who swam for Australia at the 1924 Paris Olympics in the freestyle 880 yard and mile events.

Shown in this photo [not included] is Forbes Carlile and his  quad in 1959 at Drummoyne at a time when Australia had been dominated world swimming. Prior to Forbes, Harry Gallagher had coached champions such as Dawn Fraser and Jon Henricks at Drummoyne, then taken them to the 1956 Melbourne Olympics where they each won gold in the 100m freestyle.

World records were set at Drummoyne Pool in 1967 (John Bennett, 800m freestyle), 1970 (Karen Moras, 800m freestyle) and 1971 (Shane Gould 200m freestyle). The Olympic tradition continued with club member Jan Murphy representing Australia in 1964 at the Tokyo games.

However, Drummoyne pool is important for than being the place where some of the greatest champions training and competed plus the scene of huge technical advances in coaching.

For one hundred years, through the Swimming Club and with guidance from the local Council, it has provided a facility and organisation to teach young swimmers and give them the means to race and enjoy a family based healthy lifestyle. The club today has over two hundred members and holds Saturday morning races for all ages from two years olds up to 55 year veterans.

The Club’s longevity has always depended on the dedication of volunteers and this was no better illustrated during World War II when a sixteen year old boy, John Hannaford, combined the duties of Secretary and Treasurer when all the men were called up or in reserve forces.

Such dedication was also exemplified by Bill Gallie OAM, who in 1925 was Australian breaststroke champion. In 1964, at the age of 54 he moved from Balmain to Drummoyne and was volunteer coach and Club Secretary for almost twenty years.

This tradition continues to the present day with Club Coach Norma Geribo who brought her family to the club in 1966 and is still to be found on deck at six every morning with her devoted squad.

Drummoyne Pool 1934

Built in 1904 at a cost of 3,000 pounds, major renovations were undertaken in 1953 when the western wall collapsed. Further restoration work occurred in 1958 with a filtration plant added. In 1994 a citizen’s committee lobbied the then Drummoyne Council to implement a long term plan to retain the pool as an important community asset.

The City of Canada Bay Council (formed by combining Drummoyne and Concord), under the guidance of Mayor Angelo Tsirekas, has further plans to upgrade pool amenities.

Celebrations for the centenary will centre around a major carnival on Saturday 13th March 2004. Many famous swimmers and coaches will be attending and the “celebrity versus club” relays will be well worth watching. Poolside commentaries and interviews featuring icons of swimming such as Dawn Fraser, Jon Henricks and John Konrads will also remind the past and present members of how important this piece of water has been to generations of swimming.

All members of the local and swimming community are invited to share in these celebrations and we look forward to welcoming past members to come along and share the afternoon with us.

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