02 April 2020
Message from the SWA President
2020 will be remembered by the entire world for all of the wrong reasons. The COVID-19 pandemic has seen people of all ages and all background infected by this debilitating disease and even lose their lives. It has impacted our wolf socially and economically and created a sense of unease and fear amongst all of us. Here in Western Australia, the impact on our working and social lives has been enormous, with the sporting and events industry essentially decimated. Swimming WA, its Clubs and all its Members have received a cruel blow at time when our sport has been flying. The loss major events such as the 2020 Tokyo Olympics (postponed until 2021), the Hancock Prospecting Age and Club Championships (to be hosted here in Perth), the 2020 Hancock Prospecting Junior Championships to name a few, has meant that our sport has been left ‘reeling’ and unsure of its future.
Swimming WA has determined to use this as an opportunity to secure our long term future. The Association has been reviewing the past season and attempting to operate as ‘business as usual’ by preparing for the upcoming Short and Long Course seasons as best we are able. Given the timing of the pandemic, we will bring forward the usual July office closure to April with staff taking their annual leave. This will give them the chance to have a well deserved break after a hectic summer and return on May 4th rejuvenated and ready for the year ahead. Our CEO Darren Beazley will continue to work through April continuing to collaborate with the State Government, Swimming Australia, ASCTA and local aquatic bodies to ensure that our sport has the resources it will need to not only address the short term operational issues, but place Swimming WA to be ready to operate at our best possible capacity then the pandemic passes. Locally, he will work on developing the structures (internal and external) to enable through planning for 2020/21to begin in earnest.
I’d like to use this editor of the Western Swimmer to pay tribute to the wonderful efforts of our Clubs. I have been heartened to hear of the efforts of Clubs to keep their coaches, swimmers and Members engaged during this bleak period. I am so impressed to hear of many examples of keeping people engaged such as the work that Leigh Nugent and Luke Gavin are doing with our coaches, Club initiatives such as Peel Aquatic and Rockingham Swimming Clubs and the programmes that they are offering demonstrate a level ingenuity and commitment gives hope to the entire Membership. If you have examples of ‘local heroes’, please send them through to the staff and we’ll share these inspirational stories. Staying with the theme of inspirational stories, our congratulations to the Westpac Volunteer of the Month - Sonia Knox from the Breakers Swimming Club. The wonderful voluntary work of people such as Sonia cannot ever be underestimated, but in these times in which we find ourselves, a special note of congratulations from all us at Swimming WA to Sonia!
Moving to more positive things, a reminder that the Honours and Awards Committee will meet this month to consider the nominations for the various categories for the 2020 Westpac Swimmer of the Year Awards. These will be announced on Friday May 15th. Our Regional Coordinators are reminded to submit your nominations for the 2020 WA Country Team by the closing date of April 17th so that the SWA Country Swimming Committee can consider the nominations for swimmers and coaches. This team will also be announced as part of the 2020 Westpac Swimmer of the Year Awards. The key message is that whilst we are allowing the staff to take a well earned break, the sport of swimming in WA goes on and we’ll continue to keep doing our best for you - our Members.
The SWA Board, Management and I want to assure all of our Members that our view is long term. We are resolute in our determination and commitment that Swimming WA and our sport will be there when this pandemic passes. In order to make that objective a reality, I urge our SWA Club Leaders - Presidents, Committee Members, Coaches, Officials and Senior Swimmers to rally behind our efforts.
Now more than ever, I urge you to remember that we are stronger together.
Louis van Aardt