The Williamstown Swimming & Life Saving Club has just published a handsome hardback commemorating the club’s 100 years: nearly 400 pages of photographs, anecdotes, extracts from AGMs, and newspaper clippings from yesteryear. Compiled with great patience and care by life members Jacqui Hewitt and Kaye Tomkins, the book is a very much collection of reminiscences from its many members.
One that especially caught my eye is from year-round swimmer Karen van Wyngaarden: “I recall in May 1997 I arrived at the club for my early morning swim at 6.30am, as I was booked into hospital to give birth that day. It was a wild, freezing, rainy day and I got there just as the other morning swimmers were leaving – they had decided it was too wild to swim. Roundy (Barry Round) told me I shamed them into swimming that day, as I had told them my next stop was Williamstown hospital to have a baby. Jack was born, and the swimmers sent a beautiful bouquet of flowers.”
That, folks, is serious dedication to the morning swim. And Karen is still there early every morning.
I have a loose affiliation with the the Williamstown Swimming & Life Saving Club, partly because I’m a dipper, not a swimmer. (And I’m certainly not a lifesaver.)
The family had a social membership for a few years (to support a good cause and so the children could use the pool) and my self-published book Jacaranda Avenue was launched in the clubrooms back in September 2003 (followed by a short dip).
So I was happily surprised, and a little sheepish, when asked to contribute to the 100th anniversary book. (But how many writers say ‘No’ to an offer of publishing or re-publishing a story?)
Thank you Jacqui and Kaye for finding room for two previously published pieces, 363 Swims (The Big Issue, 2014) and Chill out! (The Age 2008)