Woogaroo Swimming Club president Jeremy Bruce with some of his talented swimmers.
Woogaroo Swimming Club president Jeremy Bruce with some of his talented swimmers.

Jeremy’s law: Look after families in pool and at soccer

FIRST-year Woogaroo Swimming Club president Jeremy Bruce pondered working as a pharmacist before launching into a successful career as a lawyer.

After 20 years in the legal field, he's pleased to be managing an office at Springfield Central.

Sport also remains important for the Partner of McNamara Law, which is why he accepted the swim club presidency role.

With four children involved in swimming and having a strong family focus, Bruce accepted his latest sporting challenge. He took over from former president and 1984 Olympic swimmer Justin Lemberg.

"Justin was running the show and wanted to step down,'' Bruce said.

The community-minded Brookwater resident added swimming to his current role as chairman of the Blackstone United Soccer Club, where he has served for six years.

"It's pretty much the same,'' he said when asked about his Woogaroo club responsibilities compared to his Blackstone duties.

"It's just trying to manage people, committees, members expectations.''

Among those expectations are looking after the Woogaroo club's identity, being under the umbrella of Brisbane Swimming.

"We need to keep giving opportunities to swim at all levels . . . and have stepping stones for them to progress to weekend meets then qualifying meets at Chandler and around the place,'' he said.

Woogaroo Swimming Club president Jeremy Bruce
Woogaroo Swimming Club president Jeremy Bruce

Bruce is part of a 12-strong Woogaroo committee, looking after swimmers aged from eight to seniors.

He concedes numbers drop off in the late teens, as is the case in many sports where changing life demands often drag them away from competition.

However, Bruce was encouraged to have 13 Woogaroo swimmers aged 12-16 qualify for this month's Queensland championships at Chandler.

As for why swimming remains important in Ipswich regional sport, Bruce knows the multiple benefits time in the pool provides.

That includes swimmers developing good habits like time management juggling their school and sporting commitments.

"I find a lot of kids are quite intellectually advanced,'' he said.

Star Woogaroo swimmers like para competitor Poppy Wilson have used the sport to improve their strength in a safe environment.

"It's low impact. It's just a good all-round fitness boost,'' the club president said.

Woogaroo has Wednesday night club meets at the Goodna Aquatic Centre, Ipswich Grammar School and East Ipswich pools to give the members regular competition.

The club coaches include Stephen Ballhause (based at Goodna), Tom Harris (Ipswich Grammar School) and Caroline Somers (Bundamba and East Ipswich).

Senior coach Noel Donnelly has retired after sharing in some tremendous success with his swimmers in recent seasons.

Bruce favoured butterfly during his time swimming in the 1990s at the Woogaroo club.

His children Mikayla, 16, Ella, 14, Isaac, 11, and nine-year-old Elijah have continued the family legacy.

Jeremy's wife Nyelta has taken on a secretary role.

Woogaroo Swimming Club president Jeremy Bruce
Woogaroo Swimming Club president Jeremy Bruce

Bruce grew up at Collingwood Park and attended Bethany Lutheran College and St Peters Lutheran College at Indooroopilly before pursuing his law career.

"I wanted to be a pharmacist or a lawyer until I worked out I didn't like science so pharmacy wasn't for me,'' he said.

"I love lawyering.''

Apart from swimming, he was a striker/central midfielder for the Blackstone church soccer club during his 30 year association with the Ipswich club. He also played indoor cricket.

For how being a lawyer helps Bruce as a club president, he is confident of helping out.

"Given I'm a (law firm) director, it's people management and putting people into different roles and good communication,'' he said.

"You need to get the information to people quickly, about what's going on.

"I think that's the biggest thing with sporting clubs. As long as the communication is flowing out and people know what's happening, generally people are happy.''

Overnight relay

Among the Woogaroo Swimming Club priorities are running a 24 hour relay swim fundraiser on January 23/24.

Teams of up to eight swimmers have been invited to participate at the Goodna Aquatic Centre pool in the overnight event.

The hope is for all the teams to swim about 1000km, working in two or six hour slots, around rest periods.