Swimming Australia has paid tribute to outgoing President John Bertrand AO as he departs the role at this week’s Annual General Meeting after seven years at the helm.
The America’s Cup winning skipper and Olympic bronze medallist joined the organisation following the London Olympics and has worked tirelessly since that time to grow the sport at home and abroad and support its athletes.
Swimming Australia Chief Executive Leigh Russell praised Bertrand for the commitment he gave to the role.
“It takes great commitment, passion and care to take on the job of President in a sporting organisation and can often be a thankless task,” she said.
“John fervently stepped into the role in the midst of many changes and uncertainty and embraced everything that came his way with such enthusiasm.
“His quest for constant improvement and eagerness to always look outside the box is one of his greatest traits. You could say that his eternal search for the next ‘winged keel’ has been weaved into all that he has done and achieved at Swimming Australia.”
Russell also thanked Bertrand for his leadership and passion throughout his tenure as President.
“I think many would agree that John is possibly Australia’s most patriotic sporting President and we thank him for the leadership he brought to the organisation,” she said.
“We also thank his wonderful wife Rasa – as with any role in sport, volunteer or otherwise, it’s also about the people behind the people and we have relished having Rasa as part of our swimming family.
“I speak for everyone at Swimming Australia when I say, we wish John all the best in whatever comes next for him and we look forward to seeing him cheering loudly in the stands at our next quest for gold.”
Bertrand said the role had been a huge honour for him.
“It has been a real honour for me to have led Swimming Australia over the last 7 years,” he said.
“Hopefully my legacy has been for our people to reach beyond what is considered best practice. But instead to fly higher, further, faster.
“I am proud to have made a contribution to such an iconic sport”.
Bertrand will officially finish his role this Thursday following the AGM. A new President will be confirmed following the November Board meeting.