About the Club

Adelaide Masters Swimming; Fun, Fitness and Friendship for over Thirty Five Years!

Adelaide Masters was founded in 1977, and is now not only the oldest but also the largest and most successful swimming club in Adelaide. Membership is open to adults 18 years and over and provides qualified coaching, stroke correction, regular open-water and pool events, competition, social activities and great support to have you swimming better than you thought you could.

Adelaide Masters Swimming Club Inc is affiliated with Masters Swimming Australia, which is an Australia-wide association of adult swimming clubs. The Masters Swimming purpose is: To encourage adults, regardless of age or ability, to swim regularly in order to promote fitness and improve their general health. The national organisation was constituted in 1975 and has over 8,000 members in 190 Clubs throughout Australia.

Masters Swimming membership through a Club provides stroke correction, regular competitions, qualified coaches, social activities, newsletters, officials and coaching courses, motivation and great support to have you swimming better than you thought you could -- and it's more fun in a group than being on your own. Membership of Masters Swimming is open to adults 18 years and over.

A brief history of the Adelaide Masters Swimming Club and AUSSI Masters Swimming, was written by Kit Simons back in 1998 for the club newsletter, it provides a fascinating glimpse at the early days of the club and the founding members to whom we owe a debt of gratitude.

AUSSI Masters Swimming - A Brief History

Masters swimming, as we know it today was introduced from America in the early 1970s. Prior to AUSSI there were a number of organizations that offered competition to adults but none that catered for everyone. Sydney Leagues clubs, RSL clubs and Surf clubs organized swimming events, but mainly limited to males swimming free-style. Amateur swimming clubs offered membership to adults, but not many grown-ups were fast enough or brave enough to compete with kids who would most likely dent their egos. Back in the 70s, Amateur Officialdom was extremely autocratic and was probably a factor against adult participation in Amateur swimming. (Swim Australia is currently a much friendlier organization than the old Amateur Swimming Association of the 70s!)

Masters swimming as we know it today was most likely presented to Australia by an ex-Sydney lifesaver "Brusho" Brown, who had resided in America for some time. He had been involved in Masters swimming whilst in America and was returning home to Australia where he met up with some friends to extol the virtues of the Masters way of swimming that he had enjoyed in USA. Two of the friends that he conversed with were Brian Mortensen and John Ludlow, both Amateur officials in Sydney. They were sufficiently impressed by this concept to arrange a swim meet along the lines described by their old mate "Brusho".

That first meet was held at the Harbord Diggers Club in 1971 and attracted 30or so swimmers, men only. A meet was planned for the following year, but unfortunately, Mortensen and Ludlow were not available to run the event. Jack Brownjohn was a swimmer who had participated in the first meet and was attracted to the Masters style of things and decided to run the event. The response was very poor indeed and the "Masters" plan was shelved with no follow up meet planned.

In July 1973, Brian Mortensen received a letter from a Dr. Richard Rahe of the U.S. Navy. The letter requested that a swim meet between his Navy swim team and a Sydney group be arranged as part of a tour of New Zealand that the Navy team was planning. The letter was passed onto Jack Brownjohn who went on to arrange the first international masters style swim conducted in Australia. Brownjohn recorded the event in an article in the 1976 publication "A Guide to Adult Swimming".

Jack wrote ... " On Saturday the 30th April 1974 , the first Masters style International swim meet was held in Australia. The venue was the Hefron Park pool at Maroubra, Sydney, where fifty odd competitors attended. It wasn't so much the competition as the atmosphere of friendship and goodwill that prevailed. The visitors demonstrated to us that the spirit of Masters Swimming was to participate and not necessarily to win. They (the visitors) swam in all events regardless of their ability and stressed that their participation was for their health and not as an ego-trip.."

After the success of the Maroubra meet, a committee was formed to plan an Australian Masters Association. A follow-up meet was also organized and run at the Harbord Diggers Leagues Club on the 8th March 1975. Over 100 swimmers competed in the event, from N.S.W., Queensland and S.A., and heralded the birth of Masters Swimming in Australia.

The Australian Union of Senior Swimmers International, A.U.S.S.I. was officially born on the 22nd September 1975. The constitution of the body was formulated by a group known as the "Founders" and was accepted on that day by the new members.

In 1998, the body that started as A.U.S.S.I. became known as AUSSI Masters Swimming.

 

The Continuing History of Adelaide Masters

As stated above, the first Masters style National meet in Australia was held at Harbord Diggers Leagues Club in 1975. This became the first AUSSI Masters National swim meet. The second was held at the same venue the following year. This event is important in that three swimmers from S.A. attended that meet. They were Josie Sansom, Len Schenck and Stand Walker.

The next year, 1977, the third National Meet was held also at the Harbord 25M indoor pool. Once more, Josie Sansom and Stan Walker attended the swim accompanied by Pam Squire. The South Australians who attended the second and third National meetings were significant in that they were the nucleus of a group who were to form the first AUSSI club in Adelaide. Josie Sansom was the person with the drive and enthusiasm who was the prime mover in gathering enough swimmers together to start the club.

Josie was a charismatic person who dedicated her life to swimming. She was born in Holland in 1927, and after enduring the terrors of the war in Europe, displayed sufficient skill and swimming technique to be selected in the Dutch Olympic team preparing for the 1948 games. Personal tragedy struck Josie when she was diagnosed with tuberculoses prior to the 1948 games. She spent a long period of recuperation after having one lung removed. When she had fully recovered she migrated to Australia and after a period, met and married Arthur Sansom. She resumed her swimming interests and became a member of the Payneham Chrysler Amateur Swimming Club where for many years she compted and coached. The next change in her career occurred when she joined a group of coaches and ex-champion state swimmers who had formed a club named "The Old Time Swimmers League." Although the life of the "League" was short lived, it introduced Josie to Masters style of adult swimming, which she embraced with great enthusiasm. The "League" joined AUSSI as the first club affiliated in South Australia, and as a member of the "League" , Josie swam at the Harbord Diggers National swim meets. 1976 saw the demise of the "League" when the Amateur Swimming Association declared the "League" a professional organisation. The "status" of Amateur swimmers and officials associated with the "League" was put at risk by this announcement and most withdrew their support. Josie was not so easily distracted from her ambitions to be a part of a Masters style organisation. During August and September of 1976 Josie joined a touring party of twenty Australian swimmers who competed at the U.S. Masters National Long Course meet at St Louis, Missouri as guests of the National Masters Association. After winning a gold , three silver and a bronze medal she returned home fired with enthusiasm to get a club going in Adelaide that could form a team to enter in the AUSSI meet in Melbourne in 1978. During 1977, "The Amateur Swimming Union of Australia", after approaches from AUSSI, officially recognised AUSSSI as a legitimate swimming body and found no reason to exclude Amateur swimmers or officials from associated with the activities.

On her return from the U.S.A. trip, Josie immediately set up a swim squad at the Parade Pool at Norwood, then managed by Ern Reddaway. She soon had a group of about twenty people who were training regularly under her supervision. Most were old associates from the nw defunct "League", but new members joined the group as well.

In October 1977 on the lawn at the back of the Parade pool, Adelaide Masters was officially formed. The inaugural President of Adelaide Masters was David Morris, while his wife Patti Morris became the first secretary of the club. Josie naturally was elected as the coach of the club and her husband Arthur was the treasurer. Adelaide Masters was then affiliated with the National body, but to comply with the constitution, South Australia had to form a Branch Committee. As an expedient, David and Patti Moris were duly elected as S.A. Branch President and Secretary respectively.

Adelaide Masters club flourished, having over forty members with the approach of the fourth AUSSI Nationals. The club nominated twenty-six swimmers for its first ever competition at the Footscray pool out of Melbourne. The competition was held on Saturday, 8th April and swimmers could choose nine individual swims. Some of course swam in all nine events, all in one day and with more luck than good judgement, all survived.

The results of the Nationals were a triumph for Adelaide Masters and Coach Josie Sansom. A.M. scored the second highest number of points after host club North Lodge. The team was awarded the Visitor's Trophy for the club that travelled a distance to the venue over 100km's and scored teh most points in that category.

The team who competed in Melbourne in 1977 was : (in order of youngest, female first)

 

Laurie Potter
Dorothy Brown
Brenda Bochman
Nabeel (Mable) Rasheed
Viki Murphy
David Morris
P. Gutzeit
Hugh Hamilton
Libby Taylor
Digby Habel
Patti Morris
Arthur Foster
Tammy Rix
M. Gutzeit
Joan Foster
Mark Gully
Pam Squire
Rod Ross
Lou Mundy
Kit Simons
Di Ross
Mike Higgins
Di Simons
Don Redpath
Josie Sansom
Stan Walker

In that formative year, club attitudes, objectives, philosophies and regimes were put on place that would set the course of the club for many years. Certainly the greatest single influence on club members was the coach. Josie was oriented to competitive swimming and influenced most members to follow that theme. Many of the foundation members were ex-competitive swimmers who did not need much persuading by the coach to train hard for competition. Training at the Parade pool three times a week was well structured and catered for all levels of fitness ability and technique. Stroke correction was provided particularly for beginners, while time trials were conducted weekly for everyone. Josie was most persuasive in coercing most of the squad to participate in time trials and as a result could recall the time taken by any member in any stroke.

At the time, A.M. being the only local club, there was no other competition available excepting AUSSI National Championships. With the sucesss enjoyed by Adelaide Masters at their first National meet, the members were not overawed by the competition at that level and continued to commit themselves to future national competition, with great success. The evolution of social activities started early in the club's history. The Parade Pool was the ideal venue to bond members both in training and socializing. The facilities at the pool included an outdoor barbeque area, a games room/gym, spa pool and of course the exclusive use of the twenty five meter pool for training sessions. The manager Ern Reddaway (the club's first Patron) was most co-operative in supporting club activity at the pool, so it became the home and clubhouse of A.M. Most social events were staged at the pool, all training was conducted there as well as meetings A.G.M.s and later interclub meets. So, as membership numbers increased, new members were welcomed into a very friendly environment where all were equal and the AUSSI motto, "fitness and fun" prevailed.

Kit Simons (1-7-1998)