Mark making splash for 50 years

OVER the past 50 years, generations of swimmers have cooled off from the summer heat, learnt to swim and competed in carnivals at the Merrylands Swim Centre. On Saturday, November 10, the Centre will join the Merrylands Amateur Swim Club (MASC) to celebrate their respective 50th anniversaries with a breakfast and pool party from 7am.

A member of the club for more than 35 years, Merrylands ASC president Graham Edwards invited everyone to help them mark the very special occasion. "Any swimmer, young or old who can swim at least 15 metres, can join in the races and registrations can be made online," he said.

Mr Edwards believes that local swim centres, such as Merrylands, play a key role within the local community, bringing together children, families and adults. "As a swim club we all enjoy and celebrate the successes of our members at all levels," he said. "New members are always welcome and we have swim programs for toddlers, children and adults."

Cumberland Mayor Greg Cummings said 50 years was "a huge milestone for the swim centre, the swim club and the entire community". "Since its opening in 1968, thousands of Cumberland residents have come through the doors of Merrylands Swim Centre to enjoy the facilities," he said.

"All Cumberland residents are invited to join with current and former swim club members for the special anniversary event which will include club races, novelty events and pool inflatables, as well as breakfast. The event is free but regular pool entry costs apply." RSVP for the breakfast via

Getting ready to celebrate both the 50th anniversary for both the Merrylands pool and the Merrylands Amateur Swim Club, coach Reece Tomkinson, head club coach Peter Johnston and Cumberland Mayor Greg Cummings with coach Alison Johnston and swimmers Helen Macpherson, Summer Shrestha, and Charlie-Rose El Riachi.

Merrylands Swim Centre is turning 50!

Merrylands Swim Centre and Merrylands Amateur Swim Club (ASC) are turning 50 and to celebrate Cumberland Council and Merrylands ASC are hosting a breakfast and pool party on Saturday 10 November.

Mayor Greg Cummings said that for 50 years the Merrylands Swim Centre has been a cornerstone of the Cumberland community, where generations of locals have grown up learning to swim, competing in carnivals and cooling off from the summer heat.

“Fifty years is a huge milestone for the swim centre, the swim club and the entire community. Since its opening in 1968, thousands of Cumberland residents have come through the doors of Merrylands Swim Centre to enjoy the facilities,” Mayor Cummings said.

“As one of five pools in Cumberland, Merrylands Swim Centre forms part of the Merrylands Park Regional Sporting Centre and boasts an eight lane 50 metre competition pool, a training pool and a baby pool. Now that summer is here it’s the perfect time to get your togs out and go for a swim; Cumberland pools are open all summer long.

“All Cumberland residents are invited to join with current and former swim club members for the special anniversary event which will include club races, novelty events, pool inflatables, as well as a community breakfast. The event is free but regular pool entry costs apply.”

President of the Merrylands ASC and ASC member for more than 35 years, Graham Edwards believes that local swim centres such as Merrylands Swim Centre play a key role within the local community bringing together children, families and adults.

“As the local population continues to grow and age, the local swim centres are an essential community facility as they provide a range of activities, be that socially, educationally, recreationally and competitively,” Mr Edwards said.

“Swimming is a sport you can do all year round for your entire life, no matter what walk of life you come from. As a swim club we all enjoy and celebrate the successes of our members of all levels. New members are always welcome and we have swim programs for toddlers, children and adults.

“Any swimmer, young or old who can swim at least 15 metres can join in the races and registrations can be made online. We’re inviting everyone join us to help celebrate this milestone, find out what our club is about and have a fun time in the pool.”

  • What: Merrylands Swim Centre and Amateur Swim Club 50 year celebration
  • When: Saturday 10 November from 7am
  • Where: Merrylands Swim Centre, 17 Burnett Street, Merrylands
  • RSVP: Direct to the Swim Club via

Back row - Reece Tomkinson (Coach), Peter Johnston (Head Club Coach), Mayor Greg Cummings.
Front row - Alison Johnston (Coach), Helen Macpherson, Summer Shrestha, Charlie-Rose El Riachi


Swim club, pool celebrating 50th landmark season in water

BACK in the water at the Merrylands Swimming Centre, squad training for the Merrylands Amateur Swimming Club (MASC) began last Tuesday ahead of the 2018/2019 competition season.

MASC president Graham Edwards said this would be their 50th season as a club. "The club started just about the same time the pool opened in November 1968," he said. "On Saturday, November 10, we are having a back to Merrylands Day and we are calling on past members to come and join us to have a swim. "New members are also invited. We welcome swimmers of all ages, from toddlers through to masters; we welcome everyone."

Merrylands will also host the annual 'Interclub Cup' against the Parramatta City Swim Club next month. Mr Edwards said their 50th celebrations would culminate with a special anniversary dinner at the end of the season in April. For more information, visit

Conditions were just as wet on the pool deck as in the water as swimmers from the Merrylands Swim Club returned to squad training at the Merrylands Pool last week.

Mum turns golden

COMPETING in 10 events, Alison Johnston returned from last month's Masters Swimming Australia National Championships in Perth with 10 medals.

Swimming under her maiden name of Sakurovs, the Merrylands Amateur Swimming Club member picked up four gold and six silver, giving her in the highest point score for her age group.

It was her seventh time competing at the masters nationals but her first gold medal and she credits her strong performance to the birth of her son four years ago.

"I've been swimming almost all my life, since I was five years old," she said.

"I've always swum but more plodding along.

"That's picked up in the past few years, strangely I am faster now since I had my son William.

"He's definitely keeping me fit."

However she admits with a laugh that it doesn't hurt that her husband Peter is an award winning coach for the club, named the Masters NSW Coach of the Year for 2017, a title he also won in 2013.

"We are very professional in the water but at home we probably talk about swimming way too much over the dinner table," she said.

A member of the Merrylands Club for the past eight years, she says swimming is good for any age from babies to adults, with masters events for age categories from 18 and upward.

"They don't stop," she said.

"Swimming is easy on your joints and good for your lungs; it's good for any age."

Making a formidable team both in and out of the water, Peter and Alison Johnston from the Merrylands Amateur Swimming Club picked 11 medals between them at the Australian Masters Championships in Perth last month. Alison collected 10 medals, Peter won a bronze, and two other swimmers from the club, Ian and Tricia Johnston, also swam new personal bests at the event.


Magical Masters

ENDING their 2017-18 season on a high note, a dozen swimmers from the Merrylands Amateur Swimming Club (MASC) finished the NSW State Masters Long Course Championships with a haul of 15 medals.

Bringing home 11 gold, three silver and a bronze between them, MASC president Graham Edwards said their swimmers also set 10 new personal best times at the two-day event which was held at the Sydney Olympic Park Aquatic Centre (SOPAC).

"Our club also finished second in Division 2 at the meet and won the Executive Trophy for the highest proportion of members swimming at the championships," he said.

"Our coach, Peter Johnston was also named NSW Master's Coach of the Year for the second time.

"He's a very special coach across all the levels from juniors through to the masters. He has been recognised at the highest level for the quality of his coaching."

Mr Edwards said he was extremely proud of all the Club's swimmers.

"For a small masters club competing against some of the bigger squads we do very well for ourselves," he said.

"It's a great family atmosphere and we provide a pathway right through from the juniors which is unique in that respect. That is one of the strengths of our club.

"We also run learn to swim classes during summer and the diversity of those classes is great to see.
"This year for the first time we offered adults classes as well and it was really successful and enjoyable."

He said a couple of people began the classes with a real fear of the water and it was wonderful to see them begin to feel comfortable and relaxed, and to be able to enjoy swimming and to participate in such an important aspect of Australian culture.

See world’s best splash out to win

SWIMMERS representing clubs at Merrylands, Auburn and Sydney Olympic Park, will take on the state's best along with visiting interstate and overseas athletes at the NSW State Open Championships from January 19 to 21.

Hosted by the Sydney Olympic Park Aquatic Centre (SOPAC), heats begin at 9am with finals sessions on Friday and Saturday starting from 6pm and on Sunday from 5.30pm.

Two swimmers from the Merrylands Amateur Swimming Club have entered four events; eight from the Auburn Swim Club will compete in 22 events; and 19 members of the SOPAC Swim Club will compete in 51 events, including three relays.

The meet offers a high quality competition in the lead up to National Selection Trials for Australian national and international teams, and entries have also been received from competitors representing Victorian and Queensland clubs, as well as Japan, Korea, New Caledonia, Canada, Czech Republic, Ireland, Italy and New Zealand.

The NSW State Open Championships are on from January 19 to 21.

Squad’s 34 medal win

BRINGING home an impressive haul of 34 medals from the NSW State Masters Championships held at the Sydney Olympic Park Aquatic Centre, members of the Merrylands Amateur Swimming Club (MASC) masters squad also won the Executive Trophy for the highest proportion of members swimming at the Championships.

Publicity officer Ian Wilson said their team of 13 swimmers also finished second in Division 2 at the meet, with 17 gold medals, 11 silver and 14 bronze.
"Our team also swam 17 personal best and a number of season best times over the weekend," he said.

"I really credit our coach Peter Johnston with the large part of our success. Peter really knows how to get the best out of each of us."

However Mr Wilson said that while they celebrated their successes in the pool, there was also a strong social element to the club, adopting the Master's Australia motto of "fun, fitness, and friendship".

He added with a laugh that sometimes their coach does get "a little frustrated" with some of the older swimmers who "spend a little too much time chatting instead of training".

"We do take competition seriously but the camaraderie is much more important to us," he said.

The MASC caters for all ages, with registered swimmers aged from five to 65, however with the Merrylands Pool now closed for winter, they are on hiatus until May when training moves to the Granville Swimming Pool.

For more information, visit

Dyana swims to State

Dyana Crabb claimed under-12 age champion at Sydney West Regional Swimming Championships

There is a new Madame Butterfly on the rise in the shape of Northmead Creative and Performing Arts High School's Dyana Crabb.

The Toongabbie resident was a dominant force at the Sydney West Regional Swimming Championships, with five gold medals and a silver in the under-12 girls.

Although she has made it to state carnivals in previous years, the Combined High Schools Swimming Championship will be Dyana's first.

"It feels good but it's a little bit scary," the year 7 student said.

"I haven't experienced it yet and normally I would know what to do and know the people I'm racing but it's different this year."

A successful junior swimmer, Dyana admits she doesn't remember how many primary school state carnivals she's been to.

She has been successful, having finished in the top 20 in several disciplines in the past, as well as finishing in the top eight for her pet event, the butterfly.

"Everyone says it's my best stroke, which it is, but I don't know if I like it or not." she laughed.

Dyana was a dominant force on her way to an age championship title at the Sydney West regionals.

She won the 100m breaststroke, 100m butterfly and finished second in the 100m backstroke. She also claimed the 50m, 100m and 200m freestyle treble.

She won the 200m freestyle by more than 20 seconds.

Heading into her first CHS event, Dyana wants to focus on doing her best.

"I just want to try and get good times as PBs," she said.

"I don't really mind if I don't get a medal, I just want to do my best."

Northmead CAPA High School did well at the Sydney West titles to finish 13th out of 54 schools.

On top of Dyana's results, Justin Pavlovski claimed silver in the 50m and 100m freestyle, and the boys senior 4x50m relay team also won gold.

For Dyana, her swimming has benefited from her mothers job as a swimming teacher at Coulter Swimming in Northmead and Annangrove.

While she swims for Merrylands, she said swimming at several locations has helped her develop a strong support network to push her to the next level.

"I've got really good friends and they help me push to get close to their times and we help each other," she said.

The NSW CHS Swimming Championships will be held April 2-4 at Sydney Aquatic Centre.

Meet the dedicated swimming coach who can’t swim a stroke

GLADYS PYE cannot swim and almost drowned on her honeymoon, but that has not stopped her volunteering as a swim coach and administrator for the past 48 years.

Mrs Pye, 82, was recently awarded a Swimming NSW life membership, one of just 37 people to receive the prestigious honour since 1942.

She helped form the Merrylands Swimming Club in 1968, and got involved to ensure local children learnt to swim.

Mrs Pye was a club coach from 1980-1986, and became a life member of Merrylands Swimming Club in 1984.

“I can’t swim a stroke. Because I couldn’t swim, I made sure my children had to,” Mrs Pye said.

“I nearly drowned a couple of times trying to swim, even on my honeymoon.

“I was one of seven children in my family and swimming wasn’t as important as it is these days.”

To get involved with swimming, she helped the club with time keeping and once she got her credentials, she learnt other aspects of hosting a swimming meet and is now a club referee.

When her three children had grown up, Mrs Pye and her late husband, Jim, continued to volunteer at the club, as it was something they enjoyed doing together.

“We loved seeing the kids succeed,” Mrs Pye said.

“We made sure the kids knew the stroke rules, because if they didn’t, they would get disqualified at other meets.

“Jim used to tell them, and give them a Mintie.

“He was known as the ‘Mintie Man’ and after his funeral, everyone walked out and had a Mintie.”

Their contribution to the club has been recognised, with the club room named in their honour.

Mrs Pye has continued her involvement with the club, and refereeing at the club’s weekly meets.

She remembers seeing Australian Olympic water polo player Mitchell Emery and Melbourne Storm’s Blake Green swimming at the club.

Merrylands Swimming Club had 150-200 members when it first started, and has 125 members in 2016.

Mrs Pye said it was still a great club to be a part of.

Club president Graham Edwards said everyone at the club loved Mrs Pye.

“She is very approachable and always has the club’s best interests at heart,” Mr Edwards said.

“Gladys is a real club person through and through, and will do anything to see the club be successful.

“Clubs don’t survive without people like Gladys.”

Mrs Pye has been nominated for the Service to Sport award, which is part of the Junior Sports Star Awards.

See Also

Masters Coach of the Year Award goes to Merrylands' Peter Johnston

Peter Johnston has been a swimmer since he was a toddler and he is still competing at the ripe ‘old’ age of 34.

He balances his own swimming aspirations with his career and as a new dad and this meant that he couldn’t be present to receive his award for winning the Masters Coach of the Year at the recent Masters Nationals and the ASCTA Presentation Night. He and his wife Alison were preparing for the arrival of their first son, William.

His lifelong passion for swimming led him into coaching and he is the Head coach at Merrylands Swim Centre in NSW, which is a "One Club" catering for juniors and masters swimmers and providing a seamless pathway for swimming for life.

Masters Swimming NSW secretly gathered background information for Peter’s nomination about the impact that he has had on the Club since he became the Head Coach and more particularly on the adult swimmers in his group.

At Merrylands, all his swimmers follow his training programs and are achieving great results under the coaching staff of five. The younger swimmers, under his charge, have competed at Area, Metropolitan, State and National levels; and his older swimmers still compete in Masters’ competition with the enthusiasm and zeal of their younger years.

Club President, Ian Wilson said the Masters squad is motivated by different things; some are competitive, but the bigger part of being involved is about friendship and swimming to reach your personal best, no matter your age.

The Masters National Coaching Committee assess the nominees for MSA and they were particularly impressed with Peter’s demonstrated success in encouraging swimmers to compete at a national and branch level and the annual program developed around these events.

To affiliate your Club as a masters club when you are an existing swimming club affiliated with Swimming Australia Limited (SAL), the swimming club will need to affiliate with the Masters State/Territory organisation. There are “New Club Kits” available in all States and Territories to assist you and provide the required forms to be completed. Each Branch will have different affiliation requirements but on average a minimum of 5 swimmers will need to affiliate for the club to be accepted.