Swimming Australia is indebted to its volunteers.
Without the commitment, dedication and passion of thousands of volunteers around the country, swimming clubs and pools would no doubt struggle to operate.
Today marks the start of National Volunteer Week (20-26 May), which celebrates and recognises the six million Australians who volunteer their time to different causes around the country.
One of those volunteers who is heavily involved in the swimming community is the Chair of the Technical Swim Committee, Erin Collis, who highlighted how valuable volunteers are to the sport.
“Volunteers are extremely important. If we don’t have the volunteers sadly the kids don’t get a swim – and that’s from club night, all the way up to national level,” Collis said.
“To run a full pool, you’re looking at 45 volunteers and officials on pool deck at a national meet, so they’re very valuable and we can always do with more.
“Swimming is predominantly based on volunteers and there’s so many avenues you can explore, form club nights to international events.”
Located in Townsville, Collis has been volunteering as a technical official for the past 20 years after getting involved through her children.
“Like a lot of technical officials, I started volunteering at club nights when my children were swimming,” Collis said.
“I had an interest in helping out and I didn’t really want to go into the kitchen and do food because that’s not really what I do – and I didn’t want to just sit in the stand.
“One night the ‘starter’ couldn’t make it so I asked if I could have a go and that’s how I began to become an official.”
Fast forward a number of years and Collis has experience an amazing array of opportunities through her voluntary role.
“It’s taken me around the country and around the world, I’ve had a wonderful, wonderful time,” she said.
“I went and did the World Championships in Budapest in 2017 as a starter, it’s given me terrific opportunities – I love it.”
To anyone thinking of becoming a volunteer, Collis had some words of advice:
“I think it’s something that’s worthwhile doing, it’s very satisfying because you’re contributing something back into the community. Especially in swimming you’re helping kids to achieve – not only to have fun, but also to participate and achieve life-long goals, so I’ve just loved it. I’ve made life-long friends…it’s just a great sport to be a part of.”
For more information on how you can get involved and volunteer you time, visit our volunteers page.