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.

Johnston proves he's the master

MERRYLANDS Amateur Swimming Club has itself a master coach after the National Masters Championships last month.

Peter Johnston was named the Australian Masters Coach of the Year and it was well deserved, with the small team from Merrylands winning two gold, seven sliver and six bronze individual medals.

"They did really well," Johnston said. "We got 16 medals altogether and 23 personal bests."

The coach's commitment to both the competitive and social sides of Masters Swimming really stood out to the judges.

"Some of the things they look for is the promotion of Masters Swimming and encouraging people to get involved," Johnston said.

"In Masters our motto is Fitness, Friendship and Fun. They train hard, but you have to make sure they have a good time as not everyone is in contention for medals."

Merrylands Adult and Junior swimming squads will continue training throughout the winter.

"Friendly" club in its 45th year of activity

THE Merrylands Amateur Swimming club celebrated its 45th anniversary on Saturday.

Gladys Pye was one of the foundation members of the swimming club and now, even after all those years, she is still an active part of the club.

What makes this slightly unusual is that she confesses she “cannot swim a stroke.”

“Because I can’t, my children had to,” she said.

Despite this Ms Pye knows nearly all there is to know about swimming technique.

“I have been refereeing for 40 years,” she said,

“I judge all the strokes and check all the lanes.”

Ms Pye has seen the club evolve over the years.

“The club has changed from a club that was very competitive (when we first started),” she said.

“It’s still competitive, but now it’s a lot more family friendly orientated club.”

This family friendly atmosphere was on display last Saturday with interclub competitions taking place but in addition there was an early-morning barbecue, and an anniversary cake on offer afterwards.

This friendliness has paid off, attracting many young swimmers, giving depth to the club.

Interclub clash makes a splash

SWIMMERS who wouldn’t normally represent at external carnivals had an opportunity to experience the atmosphere recently.

The inaugural three-way interclub carnival between Parramatta City Swim Club, Parramatta Memorial Swim Club and Merrylands Amateur Swimming Club was held at Granville Pool, hosted by Parramatta City.

More than 40 swimmers from each club represented from under-7 to over-35. Points were awarded according to placings.

The event had great spirit, with every swimmer cheered on from the pool deck.

After the lead changed a number of times, Merrylands emerged as the eventual winner.

The event finished with a barbecue and all clubs are looking forward to next year’s competition.

Merrylands Amateur Swimming Club's masters make a splash

MERRYLANDS Amateur Swimming Club's masters team has shown age is no barrier to competition.

The team of five competed in the NSW State Masters Short Course Championships at Canberra recently, winning 17 medals from 25 individual events.

President Ian Wilson, who was part of the team, said most of the medals were won by the younger swimmers - those 35 and under.

"Whereas we get very competitive as we get older," he said. "The oldest swimmer at the event was 90.

"There were about 250 competitors from all over NSW plus a few from Victoria."

Wilson said the squad, which also included Alison Sakurovs, Peter Johnston, Steven Nguyen and Graham Edwards, also swam seven new personal best times, doing four himself.

He said a lot of the squad's success could go to the hard work and support from their coaches Johnston and Rachel Palise.

"People are motivated by different things," he said. "I'm pretty competitive, but the bigger part of it is the friendship I have there and just being with the people.

"You get to an age where the medals are nice, but I ­really swim for personal best times.

"It's swimming with the young people that keeps you feeling young."

Wilson said the masters are now looking ahead to the national titles in April next year in Rockhampton, Queensland.

At this year's nationals, the group won 13 medals from 27 events between six swimmers, so they know they have a tough challenge to do as well next year.

Masters train every Tuesday and Thursday from 5pm to 7pm and every Saturday from 9am to 10am at Merrylands Swimming Centre.

They also compete on Saturday mornings with the rest of the club.

Last Push For 2013 Go Swim Month Down Under

Swimming Australia’s GO Swim Month for 2013 is drawing to a close. Visiting clubs across Australia in the final week of inspiration from fast waters are Olympians Belinda Hocking, David McKeon, Jarrod Poort, Chris Wright and Sally Foster as well as World Short-Course teamsters Kenneth To and Robert Hurley, back from cluster two of meets on the World Cup Tour before returning to the fray for the concluding three events in Asia next month.

On Saturday, 26 October To will lend a hand at Merrylands Amateur Swim Club, in NSW, fresh off the back of his FINA World Cup success in Moscow, Dubai and Doha.

On Sunday 27 October, To’s training partner and fellow FINA World Cup competitor Robert Hurley will spend the day with swimmers at Albion Park Amateur Swim Club.

Merrylands Swimming Centre springs to life with commencement of training sessions

THE hot weather has led to training returning to Merrylands Swimming Centre.

Merrylands Amateur Swimming Club restarted training for the 2013/14 season on October 1. President Ian Wilson said Saturday mornings included races for all ages and levels.

"Parents and carers are encouraged and trained as technical officials," he said.

"Once the races are completed the club provides learn-to-swim and water safety for the community by qualified instructors.

"The club provides squad training for all ages and levels from junior to senior and those just wishing to stay fit and have fun."

Merrylands Swimming Centre was opened in 1968 and Merrylands Amateur Swimming Club was formed in the same year.

It is the largest swimming club in the Holroyd Local Government Area and had more than 140 members registered last summer.

Wilson said the club would be hosting the Swimming Australia Go Swim Fun Day on Saturday, October 26. "This is a great opportunity for people to come down … and see what swimming is all about," he said.


WHEN: Saturdays, 7-9am during summer, October 1-March 31

WHERE: Merrylands Swimming Centre, cnr Burnett St and Merrylands Rd

Australian Masters National Titles success for Merrylands swimmers

A SMALL team of swimmers brought a swag of medals back to Merrylands from the Australian Masters National Titles last month.

The six Merrylands Amateur Swimming Club swimmers won 13 medals and swam 27 new personal best times over the four days.

Club president Ian Wilson, who competed at the titles held at the Sydney Olympic Park Aquatic Centre, said it was a great result.

"There were over 630 athletes at the meet from all across Australia," he said.

"For a very small club, when you look at some of the clubs that had anywhere up to 30 members, it’s definitely a great result for us.

"A lot of it had to come down to the masters coaching staff, Peter Johnston and Rachel Palise."

Wilson said Palise trained the group in the mornings throughout summer, while Johnston inspired and drove the team to their excellent results.

Alison Sakurovs won silver in the 200m butterfly and bronze in the 800m freestyle and 100m butterfly.

Wilson won bronze in the 400m individual medley, while Mathew Edsall won bronze in the 800m freestyle and the 50m and 100m backstroke.

Steven Nguyen won the most medals, picking up bronze in the 50m butterfly and 200m individual medley, silver in the 50m and 200m freestyle and 50m breaststroke and gold in the 100m freestyle.

The team is looking forward to next year’s competition in Rockhampton, Queensland.

Council spreads $30,000 to groups

HOLROYD Council has given out almost $30,000 in grants to several local groups and clubs to assist them with important community services in 2013.

Last year, council invited applications for grants of up to $5000 from non-profit organisations working in the area as part of the annual Community Assistance Program.

Eight projects were approved for funding.

The Australian Afghan Hassanian Youth Association was given $4995 to assist with their Kung Fu classes for Afghan youth, while the Granville Multicultural Community Centre was given $5000 for its Guildford Mums Support Group.

Merrylands Amateur Swimming Club were also given $5000 for their Learn to swim instructors training course, while Western Housing for Youth were given $1800 for their computer technology access project.

Finally, Holroyd District Scouts were granted $600 for its involvement in the 60th Anniversary of Pan Pac Jamboree.

Other recipients of the grants include the Sydney Tamil Manram group, Anglicare Sydney, and Royal Rehabilitation Centre.

Holroyd Mayor Ross Grove said: ‘‘ The community groups’ submissions were outstanding this year.

‘‘Investing in these services is such a positive venture.

‘‘ In the future, these groups will provide these innovative services to the Holroyd community.’’

Timing is always Perfect

MERRYLANDS Amateur Swimming CLub used it's new timekeeping system on Saturday at it's GoSwim Day.

About 100 people enjoyed the start of the season despite the overcast weather, with the club getting many membership enquiries.

Club President Ian Wilson said there was a good vibe about the day.

"Everyone was excited to be back," he said.

"We had our club races and some novelty events, which included some inflatable boat races.

"We also had a barbeque with free sausage sandwiches, which the kids loved. It was good to warm-up around the barbeque."

Wilson said the club was eager to put the new computerised timekeeping system through its paces.

He said the club got the system through a grant by Club Merrylands.

"The stopwatches automatically start when the starter hits the start button, so the timing is a lot more accurate," he said.

"It means we can do split times, like lap times, but the most exciting thing is we get live results online.

"As soon as the race is complete it goes online. It makes it more accurate, better for the swimmers and easier for the timekeepers."

Wilson said the club was now preparing to send seven representatives to the State Masters Short-Course Championships in Woy Woy at the end of the month.