Local Legends

We’re excited to again launch our volunteer recognition program - Local Legends. The program will run from December 2016 to August 2017 and recognises stalwarts of our sport who dedicate their time behind the scenes to ensure our sport remains one of the most popular past times in Australia.


It only takes 5 minutes to nominate your Local Legend. Your Local Legend could win the prestigious SAL Local Legend of the Year awarded at the 2017 Gala Dinner and $500 in prize money.

This year, all nominations will be uploaded to our website at the end of each month (December – August). In September 2017, all nominations will be sent to their respective states where a State Local Legend will be selected. The State Local Legends will then be put forward to be awarded the 2017 SAL Local Legend of the Year.
All State Local Legends will receive return flights for two, one night’s accommodation and two tickets to attend the SAL 2017 Gala Dinner (date & venue TBC).

To make it easier to reward the volunteers in your club, download our *editable certificate and present these individualised certificates to your Local Legends. 
Nominate your Local Legend and celebrate those who continue to inspire and promote volunteerism throughout swimming. 
The editable certificate can be found here
To edit the certificate, please save it to your computer and open the document with Adobe Reader)

Local Legend 2016 - 2017 Nominations

July 2017

Michelle Whittaker, Marion Swimming Club SA

Works tirelessly and professionally for the club and has held many committee positions i.e. MPO, uniform coordinator, nominations officer, MC coordinator, Club Meet Coordinator and now Treasurer. She is also a registered Swimming SA official and volunteers to officiate at almost every meet - country or metro. The Club will be lost without her.

Maria Aiezza, Aquajets Swimming Club Inc, VIC

Long standing life member of our club with 20+ years of volunteering. Her children may have retired many years ago but it hasn't stopped Maria from supporting the club and it's swimmers as treasurer.

Len Haney, Traralgon Swimming Club Inc, VIC

Dedicated to both the Traralgon Swimming Club and Gippsland Swimming. An example of his dedication to the Traralgon Swimming Club can be seen through his determination and efforts to get the club a storage shed built. He spent countless hours planning and liaising for this to happen, and then once approached spent countless hours digging and building it.

Obviously there was help from other club members, but Lenny has no children in the club anymore and he still put his heart and soul into getting the shed build. His dedication to Gippsland Swimming is seen through his weekly attendance to Swimming meets, but also when Gippsland Swimming hosted the Country Championships earlier this year. Lenny did not have any children competing in this meet, but he still took the role of site manager on board. Although it was sometimes stressful and more work than he expected, he always ensured that the outcome was at the swimmers best interest. Len is one very deserving local legend.

Debbie Doody, South Shore Swimming Club, WA

Debbie has been the Club President of South Shore Swimming Club for 4 years, prior to that Vice President for 2 years and Committee member for 4 years.  She welcomes new families into our Club and with her positive, infectious attitude people warm to her quickly and feel at home.

Debbie goes out of her way to talk to parents, swimmers and you will often see a group of young children following her like the Pied Piper, all she needs is the whistle.  She knows the importance of both the younger swimmers encouraging and supporting them at Club Nights and at Swim Meets.  Attending Club Nights for over 10 years, even when her children were not swimming.
Debbie has tried her hand at everything from organising and driving many sausage sizzles, cakes stalls, swimathons, car washes, bogan bingos, quiz nights, mango runs, to the more formal aspects of Constitutions and Strategic Plans.

SSSC is so fortunate to have such a hands on President who is willing to do everything and anything and stops at nothing to promote the wonderful journey of swimming.  Over the past 6 years Debbie organised and escorted a group of swimmers to Broome and there were anywhere from 8-24 swimmers on these trips.  She drove the bus, organised meals, coached, inspired and nurtured the swimmers.
We would be lost without her and we would like to thank her for all the work that she does and the tireless amount of hours that she spends looking after our Club.
You are a legend!

Lorraine Wuth, Burley Griffin SC Inc, ACT & Murray Smith, Canberra ASC, ACT
Lorraine is Swimming ACT Technical Officials and I inquired to see if Lorraine could help us run official time trials for two of our World Junior Team, who needed entry new entry times.
Both Lorraine Wuth and Murray Smith, gave up their Friday night, at no cost to Swimming Australia, to help our swimmers out.  They said to they ‘do it for the kids’.

I bought them both a gift as a token of appreciation, but the nomination process through the Local Legends program is a fantastic way to highlight their support.  It’s really pleasing that key members of our community will drop everything to help out at the last minute.

June 2017

Rebekah Taylor, Ivanhoe Neons Swimming Club Inc

I am pleased to nominate Club Secretary and the heart and soul of the Ivanhoe Neons Swimming Club – Rebekah (Bek) Taylor for the ‘Local Legend’ Award. I have known and worked alongside Bek for many years and have always found her dependable, efficient, and unfailingly punctual. In fact, I have never worked with a person who gives as much attention to detail as she does. Her willingness to take on difficult projects amazes me as she always goes above and beyond her position description.

Bek goes out of her way to ensure smooth transition of all students moving through our swimming squads, whilst also accomodating any parental concerns and queries. Her hard-work and passion for the swimming club, has repeatedly impressed me and many other members of Ivanhoe Neons over the years. An example of Bek’s commitment to Ivanhoe Neons: We have a strong association with a Learn to Swim business (Learn to Swim Victoria), who regularly feed potential club members to Ivanhoe Neons. Learn to Swim Victoria organised an ‘Encouragement Meet’ for their up and coming swimmers, Bek was there meeting and greeting the parents to build the bridge between Learn To Swim Victoria and Ivanhoe Neons, promoting the club to the parents of the younger swimmers. This commitment from Bek, helped engage parents and budding swimmers and encouraged them to join the swimming squads through Ivanhoe Neons. This process hadn’t been done before and Bek took the time to go out of her way and above her position description to promote the club and build relationships which weren’t there to begin with. Bek has created a fantastic liaison between the two entities as well as creating new friendships.

Her skills do not end with her office work. She also projects a warm, cheerful attitude to both clients and staff, always making everyone laugh with her positive bubbly attitude. I have seen her resolve conflicts and handle other difficult situations with remarkable patience and admirable tact. In the swimming community she goes out of her way to help by organising club events and meetings, whilst also managing the Neons website and liaising with Swimming Victoria. Bek is the type of person to always be the first to throw her hand up when asked to help out at swimming meets. She loves people, works hard, and always tries to lift the spirits of those around her. If it wasn’t for Bek and her ongoing work and support for the Club – I’m not quite sure where we would be. I believe these characteristics represent all that is good at Ivanhoe Neons and has certainly changed the face of the club for the better.

Jo Donnan, Ararat Swimming Club Inc
Dedicated coach of the Ararat swimming club who volunteers her time to train our children. She always goes above and beyond and gives up many personal hours to extend her knowledge of coaching to benefit the children. Her passion and commitment for swimming is evident to everyone around her and has help strengthen the swimming club immeasurably.

Alex Staines, Western Suburbs (Gladstone) SC Inc

Alex and his family have been members of our club, Western Suburbs (Gladstone) SC for 8 years. In that time they have been active members at Meets, club nights, fundraising activities and volunteering above and beyond. His motivation is to see his kids enjoying swimming and having a sense of belonging to a great club. At the end of last season we lost our coach and President with short notice. Alex has stepped up to fill the role of president, taken on the responsibility of a financially precarious situation and virtually single handedly saved our club, with a 70 year history, from imminent closure. He has organised meetings with council and local members, organised working bees, galvanised our membership, overhauled our future viability by diversifying into triathlon, done publicity interviews and most importantly appointed a new super coach for this new season!  The list is endless, there is nothing he won't do for our club. He is passionate and enthusiastic about the sport of swimming instilling fantastic life lessons in our kids and life long friendships. If not for Alex our club would surely have closed. Our club has a 70 year legacy which will now live on well into the future. Thanks to Alex.

May 2017

Stuart Johansson, Wagin Amateur Swimming Club Inc, WA

Stuart has volunteered his time tirelessly over the last 10+ years not only as a swimmer, club member and registrar but also as an unpaid Head Coach for the Wagin Amateur Swimming Club.  From early morning starts to late evenings - 5, 6 sometimes 7 days a week sacrificing his own personal time, travelling thousands of kilometres over the years fulling his passion and dedication to coaching the children within our town and neighbouring towns ensuring that swimming stays strong in our region.  He fought hard to ensure we kept our 50m pool during the current upgrades our Shire have made.  For those 2 seasons we were without a pool he organised 4 training days weekly in a nearby town Narrogin (100km round trip) to keep our children in the water. He is very passionate about what he does and very good at it too. I believe he deserves a higher recognition for his time, patience & effort that he shows our children and therefore I am nominating him as our local legend.

Rose McCormick, Adelong Swimming Club, NSW

Rose left the Adelong Swimming Club in 2016 after 25years service to the local swimming community. Teaching both learn to swim classes and training club members, mentoring, providing equipment, running carnivals.  Thank you Rose for all your hard work.

Sharon Gilbert, The Glennie Swim Club, QLD

Sharon Gilbert is a mother of three and head of the arts department at the Glennie School.  And if she was not busy enough last season she also took on the role of president for the Glennie Swim Club. In her short time as president of our club she has taken it from Toowoomba's smallest participated club at local carnivals (having only four representatives at one of the region’s major meets), to 7 months later having 36 representatives attend the area's major meet (making it the 2nd biggest participating club in the Darling Downs region). She has done this by helping to create an atmosphere at the pool where swimmers not only want to come and swim each day but want to see their friends. Sharon once said in passing to me "if you want something done, give it to a busy person.”  I feel like this reflects her outlook and mantra to life.

 Mel Lei, Casuarina Storm Swimming Club, NT

Mel Lei has been a hands on volunteer for over 10 years. She has served as Casuarina Storm Club Treasurer for most of this time. What makes Mel stand out as a Local Legend is the time she devotes to ensure our Club is financially stable, making the hard decisions on where to spend wisely, and also the time she devotes to fundraising. She is our leader when it comes to organising the fundraising food stalls and more often than not she is first there to set up and last to leave.

She leads by example – you can be guaranteed she will be there getting her hands dirty (literally) at BBQ fundraisers/food stalls and cooking up a storm with her butter chicken and honey soy chicken wings.  Even when Mel’s daughter took a break from swimming, Mel stayed on as treasurer and continued to lead our BBQ fundraising efforts. Her unwavering support and loyalty to the Club makes her a Local Legend. Her years of service is to be commended and her sound advice in the direction of the Club is always sought out and appreciated. You are a legend Mel!

Lorna Tonks, Rackley South, QLD

From Australian Rep Swimmer to an awesome coaching roll. Lorna is sharing such great technic and up to date experience all kids are progressing strongly.

Janelle Barnett, Kempsey Swimming Club, NSW

Janelle is not only our club secretary and life member, but the brains trust of the history of our club and the sport. Even without swimming children (they are all grown up now) Janelle remains and integral part of the club. She dedicates endless hours towards record keeping, educating new members, running club nights, ensuring compliance and managing funds.  

Janelle also commits many personal hours towards officiating at swimming meetings within NSW.  She is polite, professional and so amazingly committed to the sport. To all in Kempsey, Janelle is certainly considered to be a Local Legend and as club president I can say with absolute confidence that without her tireless support, our club would be at risk of having a future.

Lesley Pike, Lane Cove Swim Club, NSW

Lesley Pike is a true legend and stalwart of swimming in our area.  She has given nearly 40 years of ongoing voluntary work to support swimming, not just for Lane Cove Swim Club (LCSC) but also for our district.  As a life member of LCSC, Lesley has held many roles on the LCSC and district swimming Committees including President, Vice President and ongoing Committee member.  Although Lesley's children are well and truly grown up, Lesley has continued supporting LCSC through her voluntary work for over 30 years at summer and winter swim clubs, Club Championships and annual Spring Carnivals where she has played the role of chief timekeeper, announcer and mentor to literally hundreds of our Club members.  

Lesley turns up every Saturday at 7am from October through to April for our summer swim club and supports our organising team rolling her sleeves up to do any job that is required.  Lesley's encouragement and guidance of all members of the Club, from the youngest members at 4 right through to our older legends (in their 80's) has ensured that our Club has continued its welcoming and community spirit and that members of the Club feel special and acknowledged.  Lesley's beautiful voice is well known to thousands of swimmers in the SMNE district as she still plays a role of announcer at many of our SMNE summer and winter carnivals, as well as all the LCSC carnival events. In addition, Lesley's outstanding leadership is continued into our local community where she is principal at one of our local primary schools.

Lesley is a well-loved and treasured member of our community and deserves to be recognised as a 'local legend'.

April 2017

Pip Brown, Corryong, NSW

Pip Brown is the heart and soul of our rural and remote swimming club in Corryong. Her dedication and service for the past ten years has seen the club expand and thrive to the benefit of the whole community. Her clever knack for researching funding grants and detailed applications have provided our isolated club and town with access to equipment, coaching and facilities locally. This is an invaluable service as the nearest regional centre is located 120kms away. Just recently she was successful in a bid for the Holden Australia's home ground advantage grant which will provide $13000 worth of funding to update much needed lifesaving equipment, resources and training to benefit whole community. Pip Brown has secured the proud tradition and future of swimming in Corryong, and continues to inspire the club and the wider community in her dedication to the sport. The Corryong Crocs truly value her work; she is a complete local legend, role model and hero to her club and town.

March 2017

Brian Buckley, Byron Bay Swim Club, NSW


Brian has been dedicating his time to the community for over 10 years, 6 days a week coaching swimmers in our shire. Brian is dedicated to technique and strength training and has always had a large pool of his swimmers compete at State level every year. Not bad for a small town and small swim club. His guidance, support and enthusiasm never wavers, rain, hail or shine. What an asset to our community both Brian and his wife Helen Buckley are. I am grateful that my kids have had them in their lives.

Anne Gilmore, Marion Swimming Club, SA


Since having the role thrust upon her just over 12 months ago when the clubs President, Vice-President, Registrar, Nominations Officer and Social Media co-coordinator all abruptly left the club Anne has worked tirelessly to build a new committee, re-write the clubs constitution, improve our relationship with our Swim Center Management and turn our Club back into a family.  The enjoyment and sense of community has come back to our club.  Anne spends 20 plus hours a week on running our swim club and does an exceptional job.  For someone who was only taking over for an interim period until someone else stepped in, she is now our President and will continue to be hopefully for many more years.

February 2017

David Kuerschner, Broken Hill Aquatic, SA

Two years ago our club Broken Hill Aquatic was on the verge of folding. We didn't have a coach and not many swimmers. However, David Kuerschner was so proud of our club he was determined to rebuild it. Dave took on many committee positions just so we could have a club. He organised fundraisers to help the club.When we got a new coach, Dave recognized one coach would not be enough, so he also took on the role of a coach as well, and he now has his bronze coaching accreditation.

Through word of mouth of what a great club Dave was building, our  membership increased and we now have 3 coaches including Dave, who also is the coaching coordinator. When he is not on  pool deck, Dave spends his time at home analyzing data and doing spreadsheets for us all to see where we can improve. He also has the role of club secretary and maintains all our club information. When we go away for carnivals and he cant be there he is always texting us, keeping us positive and making us feel good about swimming.He makes us want to go to training and inspires is to reach our goals. He continually juggles his passion for swimming with his family and work. He is the heart and soul of our club. He is a total legend.

Tamie Sweeney, Boondall Barracudas Swimming Club, QLD


Our club President has gone above and beyond to make sure kids have every opportunity to enjoy their swimming thrive with their swimming. And when we couldn't use our pool because of major electrical problems she gave up her time family time, to find us a pool to continue our club night swimming.

Tracey Phillips, Boondall Barracudas Swimming Club, QLD

Boondall Barracudas Swimming Club would like to nominate Tracey, as she has gone  has gone above and beyond this season as Canteen coordinator she has not only organised a variety of meals to be served at the canteen each week made sure snacks are delivered through the week. But when we lost access to the pool due to major electrical fault and I ran out of time to go back into the canteen to clean it up she got together with another parent Sonia Abbott and went an emptied the freeze which had freezer had been switched off since the power issues with the pool.  Unfortunately there were a few remaining food items in the freezer that spent a few weeks in the very warm freezer and had turned to sludge.  We are very thankful that these two amazing volunteers that braved the biological hazard to clean up.

Sonia Abbott, Boondall Barracudas Swimming Club, QLD

Boondall Barracudas Swimming Club would like to nominate Sonia, as she has gone  has gone above and beyond this season as in assisting out Canteen coordinator to organised a variety of meals to be served at the canteen each week made sure snacks are delivered through the week. But when we lost access to the pool due to major electrical fault and I ran out of time to go back into the canteen to clean it up she got together with Tracey and went an emptied the freeze which had freezer had been switched off since the power issues with the pool.  Unfortunately there were a few remaining food items in the freezer that spent a few weeks in the very warm freezer and had turned to sludge.  We are very thankful that these two amazing volunteers that braved the biological hazard to clean up.

Glen Hobson, Swimming Gunnedah, NSW


Glen is the current volunteer coach of Swimming Gunnedah, a rural community 500kms north west of Sydney. He is passionate about swimming and helping young people achieve to the best of their ability. He began venturing into the coaching field in 1987 when he had four children in the club at Gunnedah and coaches came and went on a regular basis. He was first accredited as a Level 1 coach in October 1991 and updated in October 1999.
He achieved the Level 2 Coaching Principles accreditation on July 1, 1996, and became a member of the Australian Strength and Conditioning Association that year.
Glen was district coach of this region for five years and was invited to assist at a number of state camps, including the 1996 Sunrice Australia Swimming Development Camp at Gunnedah with Stan Tilley and Roger Whitmore. He coached country, state an national qualifiers as well as paralympians Sarah Jane Schulze and Nicole Davey.

His final swimming coach’s accreditation expired on September 30, 2003, after he retired from coaching.
Since 2014, Glen now retired from his position as a Commonwealth Meat Inspector, has “filled in” as interim coach at Gunnedah when needed. In August 2015, he was asked by the committee to fill an urgent need for a coach with Swimming Gunnedah (NSW) and he has been there ever since. He is now 71 years of age.

Glen is a life member of the club and district  with extensive experience as district coach.
Starting with a fragmented squad in 2014, he has produced a NSW Country medallist and a number of finalists since 2014. His swimmers have also performed with distinction at NSW Regional Country, state school events and area championships.

He has 8 Country qualifiers this season and his dedication to his squad is admirable. He is pedantic about correct technique and racing skills and the squad is showing the benefit of his expertise, which comes at no cost to the club. He has also refreshed his bronze level qualifications and travels to carnivals with his squad at  a time when he could be kicking back and following his own interests.
Glen was a popular coach before his retirement and he is admired around the district for his dedication. He is a local legend.

John Moore, Muswellbrook Amateur RSL Youth Swimming Club, NSW

Mr John Moore is always at our club nights cheering everyone on and giving advice to all our upcoming children. John always comes to carnivals to help, be our official starter but mostly to help our children. Mr Moore gives children 5 -19 inspiring and helpful advice but most importantly he makes the children feel good about how they swim. Everyone in our club admires and reveres him.

January 2017

Debbie Parmenter, Murwillumbah Swimming Club, NSW

Debbie is an exceptional person who is totally committed to grass roots swimming.  In November 2015, Debbie was diagnosed with a brain tumour and underwent surgery and ongoing intensive treatment for her cancer BUT this has not stopped Debbie from regularly attending Friday Club nights to referee and be there for the kids. She can't always be on pool deck but she will always be there each Friday night to support and encourage our young swimmers.  Debbie is an inspiration to every one of our members and parents.

Ben Choo, Galston Swim Club, NSW


Ben Choo has been a member of the Galston Swim Club since 2004. Ben has held various Committee positions including that of Vice President. He has been the Club's Representative to Swimming NSW for many years now. Ben served as the President of SMNW for two terms from 2012 to 2014. He became a referee in 2009 and remains active in all Club and State level competitions.

Whilst he is active at our Club, Ben kindly often offers his assistance to many other local Clubs.

Ben's children no longer swim competitively, however every Friday race night he is always available for our Club. In addition to our Club, Ben if often officiating at most major meets. This is an enormous commitment and dedication to the Official role.

Ben is always there to offer advice and guidance to all of our swimmers and he does so in a way that encourages our swimmers to learn in the most positive way.

It is a pleasure to nominate Ben Choo as a local legend as the Club would love to see him recognised for his dedication and love of the sport.

December 2016

Mark Laidlaw, Nunawading Swimming Club, VIC


Like many parents, Mark Laidlaw became involved with swimming when his oldest daughter joined the club. He couldn't sit still and wanted to help out. It all started with cooking pancakes for the young athletes on a Saturday morning and timekeeping at the local swim meets. Mark's love for the sport grew and he enjoyed helping others too. Mark became interested in becoming an official and this has resulted in spending up to 30 weekends a year over the past 7 years walking up and down the pool at district, state and more recently National level meets. Mark's three daughters have all swum for the Club and each one has moved onto other sports or activities. Most parents would move on too, but not Mark.  Mark has become even more committed to supporting club activities and officiating. Recently Mark cooked a BBQ for the Club Christmas party and catered for 380 persons and then the next morning rolled up at 5:00am to cook pancakes for 120 squad swimmers. He is relentless in his pursuit to help others and loves supporting athletes of all ages. Mark is now the Head Referee for Metro East district in Victoria and can be found on pool deck at all the State and Club meets at MSAC. He has encouraged many other parents to join him as an official and has grown the number of Nunawading Club officials to have the most officials from any club at the recent Victorian Age Championships... and then signed up two more parents to get started with officiating! Mark exemplifies everything to do with giving back to the community and his attitude and commitment to the sport and its people is second to none. He is a Local Legend.

2016 Local Legend of the Year

Congratulations to Wayne Gadd from Norwood Swimming Club, South Australia. Wayne was presented with his award at the 2016 Swimming Australia Gala Dinner.  Wayne's nomination read:

Wayne Gadd from the Norwood Swimming Club is not a glamorous, attention seeking type of person. Wayne Gadd is the guy who sorts through the club’s entire policies, he updates your constitution, he provides membership stats, he does all the research for the redevelopment of your website and sometime in between his full time, pressure filled job, he watches his daughter swim. He is perhaps a somewhat unlikely local legend but he is the club’s ‘go to’ guy when a good idea is born and can be relied upon to see it through. He is the epitomy of the Norwood Swimming club’s culture and is a worthy winner for this award.


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