Historical Hot Spots

Drummoyne Amateur Swimming Club – DASC

When digging through old minute books and files, some astounding events and bits of social history are found. It’s a bit like panning for gold with little nuggets turning up now and again which are worth keeping.

(Club History Editor – John Towns, Hon Treasurer 1997-2002)

Jon Henricks – World Champion

One of Drummoyne Swimming Club’s most famous “sons” is Jon Henricks. His parents were life members and mother Bessie served as patron. The Henrick’s lived near the Dunlop factory (now Birkenhead Point shops) and at 100 St George’s Crescent with young Jon first representing DASC in 1949 State Championships.

He was coached by Harry Gallagher at Drummoyne Pool and won 4 gold medals at the 1954 Commonwealth Games, 2 golds at the 1956 Melbourne Olympics plus held world records for 100 yard freestyle and 4 x 200 relay.

In 2004, Jon travelled from his home in USA to join the DSC Centenary celebrations, where he was joined by Harry Gallagher, Forbes Carlile, John Konrads and Elka Graham.

Wayne Fitzgerald’s World Tour – Bill Gallie to the Rescue

In March 1978, the Club Captain, Wayne Fitzgerald, was selected in the Australian U18 Water Polo Team. This was the first club member since Jan Murphy’s 1964 Olympic selection to be picked in an Australian team. The cost would be over $2,000 and Wayne only had $1,000 so the trip was in doubt. The club executive rallied the troops and a fund raising drive got underway including a 250 club at $10 per ticket plus the Club President collecting aluminium cans! However it was slow going and in a remarkable demonstration of generosity, Club Secretary Bill Gallie lent the club $1,000, to be repaid when it could!

Wayne made the tour in July 1978 and played 20 matches in Canada, USA and Mexico, winning 17.

Somebody – Bill Gallie

William Henry Gallie was first and foremost a good swimmer, having been the NSW and Australian junior breast stroke champion in 1925. He lived in Balmain and was Hon Secretary of Balmain Swimming Club.

Bill Rogers was a member at Balmain and remembers him well, always with his suitcase full of stop watches and papers. Rogers is a current member of the DOGS (Drummoyne Ocean Going Swimmers) and when interviewed in 2012, recalled a mysterious falling out with the Balmain club which led Gallie to pick up his suitcase and head across Iron Cove Bridge to Drummoyne. Gallie was Hon Sec of DASC from 1966 to 1984 and was a Patron of the club up until 1994. He was awarded Life Membership of DASC as well as of City Of Sydney. When Bill was asked by The Sun newspaper in 1982 why he did all the tough jobs at carnivals and swim meets, he just said “somebody’s got to do it!”.

Bill died in August 1996 and left $1,000 in his will for DASC, which was used for two new trophies in his memory.

(In an amusing aside to this bequest, in a letter of thanks to Bill’s solicitor, the Club Secretary asked “that you would pass this on to your client”! There is no record of whether this difficult task was achieved).

Norma Geribo

Norma became a time keeper in the 1980’s and around 1985 started her 5 day per week 6am squad training, particularly for kids with asthma. The Geribo Era continued when Norma became Club Referee and Handicapper in 1989. For the next 21 years, she was the heart and soul of Drummoyne Swimming Club and a whole generation of kids and parents came to love her. Her morning squads became twice a week at 6am transforming babies into champions and non-swimmers into adults with a life-long love of swimming. For many years, the Club’s monthly meetings were held at her home in First Avenue.

As Referee, Norma was particularly tough with office bearers – plenty of DQ’s at Saturday morning races, especially if you had missed squad. Her main focus however, continued to be the kids, helping them master the form strokes and ensuring their freestyle times improved every week. Her three children all swam with Meryl particularly good, with a perfect freestyle. Before computerised timing took over, Norma spent hours every week working out the handicaps and the Club just would not have functioned without her. Norma was awarded Life Membership in 1993 and when she left the Club in 2010 for a happy retirement, she left a legacy to be proud of.

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