Otago body hails increase in club numbers

An increase in club swimmers should be a starting point for future growth in numbers, it is hoped.

Swimming Otago had a 10% drop — about 100 people — in total swimmers over the 2020-21 season.

However, various changes to make the sport more accessible brought a 17% increase in club swimmers.

It was one of the key figures from Saturday’s annual meeting, which was held virtually this year.

Among the key changes were abolishing regional affiliation fees, allowing club members to compete at a larger range of competitions and lowering the financial obstacles to competing.

The annual report noted and that the increase in club swimmers had correlated with these changes.

As they filtered through, it was hoped there would be a flow-on to increasing overall numbers in the coming years.

Swimming Otago chairwoman Ali Hill said in report that was pleasing to see, as was learn-to-swim numbers being higher than they were before Covid-19.

However, she added more volunteers were needed to help with competitions in the long-term.

The lack of volunteers meant the organisation was relying on the same people, which was not sustainable, she said.

Financially, the organisation ended the year with a small $3000 surplus, and it remains well in the black and in good health.

Hill also acknowledged the quality at the top-end of the sport in the region as a positive.

That was headlined by Neptune’s Olympian Erika Fairweather, who was awarded regional swimmer of the year at the awards that were held alongside the meeting.

Fairweather’s coach Lars Humer was also among the winners, sharing the coach of the year award with Wanaka’s Cameron Stanley.

Taieri’s Emma Bain won emerging swimmer of the year, while Neptune’s Tanisha Keach won volunteer of the year.

Alexandra was awarded club of the year.

Taieri’s Alan Hale was made a life member.


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