File photo.

WITH the way we have been operating under the Covid-19 alert levels, swimming has had to make some major changes.

The Invercargill clubs all shut down their club nights last term so were not operating their Learn to Swim lessons. With the latest changes, these clubs are all set to go this term, hopefully they will be able to have a full term.

Competitive swimmers have also had reduced opportunities to train, so are struggling to maintain their swim fitness. This has not been too much of an issue as there have been no competition meets.

This situation makes it hard for these swimmers to keep their motivation and there has been talk from further north that swimmers are giving away the sport due to this frustration.

Last Sunday, Swim Southland held its annual meeting. Along with the usual business of electing representatives to fill the two vacant positions, congratulations Kelly Lafoga and Waric Cross, and receiving the annual accounts and reports, there were some special presentations.

A new patron for Swim Southland was announced and presented to the meeting. The position of patron had become vacant in October last year following the sad passing of a true gentleman of swimming, John Sutton.

The new patron for Swim Southland is Tim Ward. The Ward family has had a long involvement with swimming in Southland.

Ward’s mother Pat was a former patron of the Orca Swimming Club, having formerly been involved with the St Mary’s Club, one of the merging clubs which formed Orca. Ward’s late sister Catherine has a trophy named in her honour which is presented by Swim Southland annually.

As a competitive swimmer, Ward swam for the St Mary’s Club from the age of 10, and developed as a freestyle swimmer to become the leading freestyler in Southland from 1976 to 1978.

The family continued its links with swimming as both of Ward’s daughters became competitive swimmers for Orca. This led to him coaching for Orca for many years.

Recently, Ward has again become a regular face at Orca Club Night as he watches his granddaughter at her swim lessons.

As a supportive parent, he became involved as an official and became a nationally qualified referee, a qualification he still holds. He has also been the officials examiner for Swim Southland for the past three years.

Still a regular face at local meets, Ward will be recognised by swimmers and their parents; this was one of the reasons Swim Southland invited him to become its patron.

Waric Cross was also given a Swim Southland Service Award to recognise his outstanding service to swimming in Southland. Waric has coached for the Murihiku Swimming Club for more than 10 years, has been a regular official at Southland and Otago meets as well as being a member of the Swim Southland Board, of which he is a past chairman.

Swim Southland Honours Award
FENTON Herrick was bestowed (in absentia) the Swim Southland Honours Award for his
service to swimming in Southland.

The award was to recognise Herrick’s more than 20 years of involvement with swimming in

During these two decades, he has served on the Orca Swimming Club Committee, holding the role of president for two terms and also been a member of the Swimming Southland
management board.

He has officiated at many meets in Southland and further afield, managed multiple Southland teams and been author of the regular Poolside media report (of which today will
be his last).

As Herrick was unable to attend this week’s meeting he will be presented with his award at
Swim Southland’s next swimming meet.