Maryborough swim centre is simply the best!
Have you been to the Maryborough Aquatic Centre?
If not, you’re missing out – it has taken out the AustSwim State and National awards for the best large swim centre in Australia!
That recognition comes on the back of forced closures due to COVID-19 and two floods.
And, in 2010, Maryborough was on the brink of losing its 50-metre pool before the Fraser Coast Chronicle helped the community to save the much-loved facility.
Keep reading to find out more about what makes the Maryborough Aquatic Centre so special.
COVID-19 and two floods – but they bounced back!
These awards are recognition of the hard work and dedication of the staff who have had to contend with COVID-19 shutting the pools and then having to rebuild after the floods this year devasted the facility
Fraser Coast Regional Council CEO Ken Diehm said staff had rebuilt the facility and regained the support of the community.
“There has been a 15 per cent increase in attendance numbers across the swim classes since the pool reopened in June,” Mr Diehm said.
“I think that really shows the community has confidence in the instructors, and the staff at the centre are liked and well respected.”
The program supervisor at the facility, Joel Seeney, was previously the recipient of an Austswim award for Aqua Instructor of the year award.
“The award shows that regional facilities and their staff are just as talented and dedicated as those in the bigger centres.”
The AustSwim award is the premier award presented to facilities and individuals in Australia that achieve the highest standards of aquatic education excellence.
“The awards mean a lot to staff and is fantastic recognition of the hard work that they have put in to pick themselves up and rebuild.”
Flashback: How the community saved the 50-metre pool
In 2010, the Maryborough Aquatic Centre’s 50-metre pool was sorely in need of a revamp, but the then council’s proposed redevelopment plan didn’t include replacing the 50-metre pool; the plan was to downgrade it to 25 metres!
That was until the Fraser Coast Chronicle helped the community to save the 50-metre pool!
The loss of its Olympic-size pool meant Maryborough would lose the capacity to host school carnivals and competitions.
A good proportion of the public also preferred to swim in a 50-metre pool — Maryborough Masters, triathletes, schools and rugby league players who swam for fitness, as well as people from surrounding towns.
Thankfully, though, the council listened and overturned its initial proposal to downgrade the 50-metre pool as part of a $5.5 million redevelopment.
So, whether you’re a fitness fanatic or just looking for somewhere to cool off in summer, be sure to take a dip!
These AustSwim State and National awards have come after long, hard-fought battles to keep the centre afloat.
Congratulations to the Maryborough Aquatic Centre staff and Fraser Coast Regional Council.
Maryborough Aquatic Centre: A history of excellence
The 50-metre town pool being considered for downsizing in 2010 was the third in Maryborough’s history.
The original floating baths were built on the Mary River but were swept away in a flood in the 1890s.
In 1906, after a local boy drowned swimming in the Mary River, a 33-yard (30m) pool was built on the side of the now Excelsior Band Hall car park with money donated by local widower George Ambrose White.
In the early 1960s, a fundraising campaign was held to build the “new” War Memorial Swimming Pool on former defence force land. The 55-yard pool was 300 millimetres longer than 50 metres and was shortened in the 1970s.
The first pool caretaker was Hayden Kenny, Australia’s first ironman champion.
His son, Grant Kenny, OAM, Australian former Ironman, surf lifesaver and canoeist, went on to compete in two Olympics, winning a bronze medal in the K-2 1000m event with Barry Kelly in Los Angeles in 1984.
During the 1970s, the swimming club committee urged the Maryborough City Council to provide spectator stands, the money for which was donated by then-mayor Charles Adams.
The club raised funds through treble tickets and cent auctions to provide the recording and club rooms, gym, timekeepers’ shelter, store room and waveless ropes. In 1977 it bought one of the first electronic timing systems in Queensland.
In 1995, a 25-metre heated pool was built where the wading pool used to be, after lobbying behind the scenes by president Dr Tom Dunn.
Another prominent name of Maryborough swimming was Larry Sengstock who set many records at regional level and competed at state level in the 1970s.
He later starred with the Brisbane Bullets basketball team and represented Australia at the Moscow, Los Angeles, Seoul and Barcelona Olympics and at four world championships in 1978, 1982, 1986 and 1990.