Local Legends


Swimming Australia is pleased to again launch the volunteer recognition program - Local Legends for 2019/2020. Swimming Australia are passionate about acknowledging the Local Legends who love being involved in Swimming and who generously contribute their time for the greater good of our sport. 

Your Local Legend could be the timekeeper, the marshal, the parent running the sausage sizzle or any other volunteer. Without help of our volunteers, our clubs and events could not operate smoothly. The program will continue running across 2019 into the 2020 season 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. 

Ron Barnes

It only takes 5 minutes to nominate a Local Legend. Your Local Legend could win our prestigious Local Legend of the Year Award, to be presented annually at the Swimming Australia Awards night.

All winners will be uploaded on our website and receive a Local Legend certificate. The 2019 Swimming Australia Local Legend of the Year will be chosen from one of the State Local Legends and the Local Legends currently recognised on the Swimming Australia website.

Swimming Australia will fly the winner to the Swimming Australia Awards night held late 2019. Swimming Australia will provide one night’s accommodation and two tickets to attend the Swimming Australia Awards Night. 

Make sure you keep up to date by following Swimming Australia on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter

Click below to nominate your Local Legends, and celebrate those who continue to inspire and promote volunteerism throughout swimming. 


2019 Local Legends

  • Monthly Winners
  • Swimming Australia is currently collating monthly nominees. Winners will be awarded at the conclusion of each month.  

  • March Local Legend
  • Congratulations to Sharon McKeown from USC Spartans SC Inc.

    Sharon has gone above and beyond putting the interests of the club first. She has being involved in the sport of swimming for many years being involved in a committee capacity at club and regional level for a large part of it.
    Sharon remains firmly attentive to the needs of the club and takes an active interest in all levels from the learn to swim members to high performance crew.
    Over the past couple of years the McKeown family has endured many hardships which they have remained positive, steadfast and actively involved.

    Sharon McKeown

    Congratulations to all of our March Local Legend nominees:

    • Graham Canning - Lismore Workers Swim Team
    • Merrilee Doel - Wingham Swim Club
    • Joy Hosking - Trinity Lismore Swimming Club
    • Danni Johnson - Bathurst Amateur Swim Club
    • Michelle Koulakis - Nightcliff Dolphins
    • Paul McGuiness - Laurieton Swimming Club Inc
    • Helen Melas - Reversby Workers
    • Catherine Myers - Kent Town
    • Annette Press - Bathurst Amateur Swim Club
    • Jeff Roffe - Bathurst Amateur Swim Club
    • Stuart Sharman - Penola Amateur Swim Club Inc
    • Bathurst Team - Bathurst Amateur Swim Club
    • Amanda Vance - Lance Cove Swimming Club
    • Deanne Wade - Bathurst Amateur Swim Club
    • Karen Walsh - Blacktown Swimming
    • Richard Washington - Immanuel Piranhas


    Click here to nominate your April Local Legends.

  • April Local Legend
  • Congratulations to Michelle Parker from the Alice Springs Swimming Club

    Michelle is the backbone of the Alice Springs Swimming Club. She has been involved in the club as secretary for many years and now, without any children involved in the club she still gives her time willingly and without complaint in many areas.

    Michelle sets up all the club meets and sends out results within hours of the meets finishing. She is up to date with all of the swimmers PB's and updates them continuously. Michelle is working towards becoming a referee - which the club needs to be able to run proper meets. She is always available for advice and historical perspective on club matters and she does it all with a smile and a great positive attitude. The Alice Springs Swimming Club are so lucky to have her - she is invaluable.

    Michelle Parker
    Michelle Parker


  • May Local Legend
  • Described as the “backbone” of the Mildura Swimming Club and the greater Sunraysia swimming district, Josh Barila has been named Swimming Australia’s ‘Local Legend’ for May. 

    At just 18-years-old, Barila has already held multiple executive positions in the swimming community at both club and district level and has been instrumental in the growth and sustainability of the Mildura Swim Club over the past three years.

    Josh Barila
  • June Local Legend
  • A lifetime of community volunteering, South Australian Darren McLachlan has contributed to our sport from grassroots level all the way up to national events.

    His journey started in 2007 when his daughter began swimming at Marion. The club was in desperate need for a club secretary, so McLachlan selflessly put his hand up and so his path in swimming began.

    Local Legends -Darren McLachlan
  • July Local Legend
  • This month we’re celebrating our Local Legend, Matt Roberts from Nambucca Aquatic Swim Club, who has been nominated by an overwhelming popular vote from members of his club.

    Like all of our wonderful volunteers in our swimming community, Matt is constantly giving his time, commitment and passion for his club.

    Over the year’s Matt's roles have included club president, BBQ chef at Swim Club day, fundraising star, merchandise manager and presentation night event organiser.

    Matt's ability to foster great relationships has put the club in great stead financially and helped the club become an integral part of Nambucca’s wider community.

    Matt's talents include bringing the best out of others, according to club committee member, Leigh Eastwood.

    "He recently approached the Lions Club who donated some money to assist with the travelling costs for our swimmers to go to Sydney to participate in State Championships. This not only helped the family’s budgets , but also encouraged the kids,” she said.

    "Following on from this, Matt organised for the young swimmers that the Lions Club supported to attend the Lions Club meeting and do a presentation on their experience and swims in Sydney," she added.

    "I see this as a great follow on for the kids general development, building their confidence and giving them an opportunity to develop public speaking skills.

    “We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give. This is a quote from Winston Churchill and it’s very true in Matt’s case.”

    Congratulations, Matt! A deserved winner of Swimming Australia’s Local Legend.


  • October Local Legend
  • From providing commentary on pool deck to turning sausages on the barbeque, Ron Barnes is a treasure of the Western Australian Swimming Community.

    This year Ron Barnes won Swimming WA's 'Volunteer of the Year' after years of tireless volunteering. He is commonly known as the 'voice of WA swimming' as he is the announcer at every WA pool meet - a task that Barnes approaches with the utmost professionalism. 

    Heavily involved with the Breakers Swimming Club, he’s an active member who ensures correct governance practices are followed during key decision making, as well as aiding the club’s strategic direction.

    Speaking to Swimming WA, Barnes detailed how he first got involved with the club in his volunteer role.

    “Helen Hull (former President of Breakers Swimming Club) asked me to help out at a Breakers Splash Swim Meet five years ago,” Barnes said.

    “During that time, I was on the Breakers Committee as Records Officer. I started volunteering to help out but also because being involved was enjoyable for me.”

    “I have cooked a few sausages in my day, having been involved in many clubs including those in rugby, squash, surf, tennis, and golf, as well as swimming.”

    Ron Barnes
    Barnes is never far from the microphone.

2018 Local Legends

  • Winner
  • Congratulations to 2018 Optus Local Legend of the Year, Julia Roberts, Kambalda Amateur Swimming Club, WA (main picture on the left)

    Julia has been described as a ‘rare gem’ that has volunteered for the past 10 years for the Kambalda Amateur Swimming Club.  She has taken on many volunteer roles at the club including committee member, recorder, fundraiser and she has also been awarded life membership.  It is my pleasure to announce Julia Roberts as the 2018 Optus Local Legend of the Year.

  • Finalists
    • Chris Hayes, Deniliquin Amateur Swimming & Life Saving Club Inc, NSW
    • Kerri Donaldson-Mellor, Vitor Renmark, SA
    • Julie Walsh, Melton Swimming Club, VIC

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