CLUB SPIRIT: A group of swimmers and officials from Western Aquatics enjoy sightseeing around Sydney during this year’s national age championships in the harbour city.
CLUB SPIRIT: A group of swimmers and officials from Western Aquatics enjoy sightseeing around Sydney during this year’s national age championships in the harbour city. CONTRIBUTED

Western Aquatics on way up

FORMER Olympic swimmer Heath Ramsay believes the most challenging part of running a developing club is staying one step ahead.

"Having an event organised but when that one's done, having the next thing ready to go so you don't hit a stale point where nothing's happening,'' Ramsay said.

"Keeping things flowing all the time is probably the most difficult thing.''

However, the Sydney 2000 Games butterflier is thrilled with the direction swimming is heading at the Western Aquatics Sports Club.

With wife Bek, an active committee and dedicated volunteers supporting the club, Ramsay said everything was looking positive for the second season.

"It's all up and running, full steam ahead,'' he said.

Western Aquatics was formed last year as a community, non-profit organisation, based at the West Moreton Anglican College pool.

Ramsay has been thrilled with the response in the new season.

"We had just over 100 members by the end of last season and getting 70 or 80 kids on a club night,'' Ramsay said.

"And the first few nights this year, we've got over 100 kids every night and we're probably up around the 120, 130 mark membership base.''

As full-time head coach and race secretary, Ramsay's main focus is helping his competitive swimmers achieve their goals like contesting state and national championships.

Six swimmers have already qualified for the state titles at Chandler in December.

Ramsay is hopeful some of his young brigade will also contest the national age championships over Easter, like 200m butterflier Laura Brosnan did last season.

While that side of the club is progressing well, the Ipswich-bred sportsman is pleased how social fundraising aspects are being developed by the active Western Aquatics committee.

"All the families and parents and all that have got on board and rolled up their sleeves and are happy to help out,'' he said.

"Everyone is working in the same direction trying to get new little kids to experience club for the first time and also promoting those kids who have done club now and try to get them to do competitive racing.''

The club's main session is on Friday night.

Competitive swimmers race in weekend carnivals.

One of the most enjoyable trips was to Sydney for the age nationals earlier this year.

The club has received some community funding and support from local councillors like Cheryl Bromage.

"We probably, quietly, exceeded our expectations,'' Ramsay said, when asked about whether he was surprised at the early growth of Western Aquatics.

"We knew we'd get good numbers but maybe not this quickly.''

It proves hard work and initiative pays off.

Satisfying work

AS for what satisfies Ipswich coach Heath Ramsay working with young swimmers, the former Australian representative has no doubt.

"I still think the most rewarding part is getting those kids that have never been to a carnival and getting them interested in that competitive side,'' he said. "They think it's a daunting thing to start but it's no different really to a club night.

"I really enjoy bolstering that eight, nine, 10 year old age group into competitive swimming for the first time.''

Hatton Vale-based Ramsay rates 10-14 year olds an "excellent age group'' to help. "It's like any sport, it's getting them through those later teenage years, through all the distractions that can come along,'' he said.