TROPHY NIGHT - 20th Anniversary Welcome Address

On behalf of the Grace Swimming Community, I would like to thank each of you for not only joining us here this evening, but also for your continued support of our swimmers and Club over the past 20 years, and particularly over the past season.

A special thank you also to the work of the Swimming Club Committee for their help in pulling tonight together. With this year being our 20th year,  Marie, Carolyn and Cathy have all stepped up to give this night some extra love and attention, for which we are very grateful.  Could I get you to put your hands together for those ladies.

Also I’d like to take this opportunity to thank all of our time keepers, BBQr’s, check starters, Flipper’s ladies, Bakers that have helped out through the season.  Our club nights would not be the success they are without each of your continual help. 

Tonight, we would also like to acknowledge the very talented Josh and Mykaela of Prestige Images for kindly donating some of their photos that they have taken throughout the season.  We think they really showcase what makes us Grace, and will be popping up on the big screen throughout the evening.

And then of course, I would also like to welcome you, our swimmers.  It is you guys and your achievements in the water over the past 12 months, after all, is what brings us here together tonight.  And it is you guys, that makes us Grace.

Achievements such as Competing at the Australian Age or Open Water Championships, success at Brisbane Swimming Association meets, the number of Personal Bests swum at club nights, qualifying for the first time to compete in the 50m events on Wednesday Nights, or even getting to that 12.5m rope for the first time without the help of a big person. 

I like those ones – they are pretty cool. 

We are proud of you all for each of these achievements, and that is what we have all come here tonight to celebrate.

Just as important as celebrating each of these measurable achievements in the water though, is to acknowledge your excitement, your passion, your pleasure and dedication that you guys put into your training and competition each week.   Along with the successes I mentioned before, we recognize that your journey to achieve your goals and dreams in the water is never without hiccups.

If you look at the pointy end of Team Grace - our team at the recent National Championships - 3 of our 4 swimmers were suffering injuries or illness, meaning that they may not have swum the times that they wanted.  But it is their commitment to hard work and always doing their best despite these hurdles that we are so very proud of.

But these 4 swimmers are of course only a small representation of our entire club.   We know that each of you have a real love of swimming by the fact that you guys will train up to 20 hours a week to chase after improvements of less than a 10th of a second.  Or for the days that you are so tired, sore and hungry, that you want to quit but you don’t.  We admire you guys for choosing to sacrifice pleasures and opportunities that your friends away from swimming enjoy, just so you can pursue your dreams in the pool. We respect you all for the times your disappointed that your swims on Wednesday nights, or on the weekend aren’t the PB you hoped for, yet you turn up to training the next day, ready to give it your all once again. 

Just as you guys love swimming though, I think its important for you all to realize how much we , the committee members and all the parents here tonight, love to see you guys, still celebrate the results and achievements of your team mates as if they were from your own family.  This is particularly significant given that you are competing in a sport that is so focused on the results of the individual.   The way we see a queue of senior swimmers (and often junior swimmers) wanting to help our youngest members swim the 12.5m butterfly on a club night.  How our seniors come alongside our juniors at outside meets or during training to offer encouragement is certainly part of what makes us Grace.

Now I’m sure almost all here tonight have heard me talk about “what makes us Grace” in this 20th season of our club.

It’s a phrase coined, as far I know, by our past President and most recent Life Member, Paul Chambers.  And obviously I have started to use it more and more.

This is because, I have found myself reflecting on what this catch cry actually means. Obviously, Grace Swimming Club takes the name from the college where we reside and whom are our biggest supporters.  But still, I find myself looking for more understanding.

One of my favorite bible readings which provides me with regularencouragement to serve one another, I feel also provides me with some further insight into this question of what makes us Grace;

Romans 12 : 3-­‐6

3 For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you. 4 Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, 5 so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. 6 We have different gifts, according to the grace given us.

Not only does this reading help us understand that despite our differences and diversity we all have an important role to play in the one body, but also eludes to the grace provided to us all through God’s Riches at Christ’s Expense. That is, grace being given as a result of sacrifice : an act for the benefit of others as a result of the Grace given to us.  

In the context of our little swimming club, this is parents, and volunteers, all using our gifts and skills, using our knowledge, experience, and time to serve, for the benefits in the improvement of character as well for the success of our swimmers.   All of which is done without self promotion or benefit.  It is the example provided by our volunteers that then permeates done into the behavior and attitudes of our swimmers. 

But where has this come from?  I believe that this culture of service by our volunteer army is deeply engrained within the DNA of Grace Swimming Club.  It’s a result of the work and commitment of all those volunteers that have worked for the betterment of our Club over our 20 year history.  And it’s typified by our Five Life Members, whom we have with us tonight.  Could I call these life members up to the stage please.

Mr Fred Stolz

Mr Peter Diamond

Mr David Gregory

Mr Steve Todd

Mr Paul Chambers.

Each of these life members have all have brought different skills, temperaments, and abilities to our Club body.  These contributions all happened at different stags in the club’s past, ranging in time from before the pool was even constructed, till of course the current day.  But what they all have had in common is to commit to the development of our swimmers both in and out of the water, with a servant heartedness, grace and humility that defines the tone of our club today.

As we prepared to celebrate our 20th Anniversary (for a few years now), we have been delving back into the history of the Club.   Going through all the old photos, chatting to past swimmers, committee members, presidents and teachers about the evolution of our club. The struggles associated with how the facilities came to be delivered, how the club championships evolved and how trophy nights used to be held beside the pool.  How our club developed from being a suburban swim school, to be the only 25 meter pool club in the BSA premiership for 6 consecutive years. During those conversations though, it has become quite evident that our ensemble of Life Members that we have with us here, is not quite complete.

Tonight, we are wanting to acknowledge those that have been instrumental in the development of the physical and cultural foundations of our swimming Club.  But like these people beside me, their own diverse skills and gifts have been used for the benefit of our club, all tempered with humility and a servant hearted attitude.

Mr Graham Rutherford was the college’s P+F president at the time the college began to investigate the possibility of constructing a pool.  So not only was Graham involved with the planning, design and construction of our outdoor pool, but he also oversaw the fundraising efforts to help fund the constructions of our facilities before they even got out of the ground. 

And of course, with a new pool, came a swimming club to train and support the swimmers.  Graham then, pardon the pun, dove right into the role of being our inaugural club president.  For those that of you that were at our Club championships this year, would remember that he undertook this role without one of his children ever being a swimming member of our club. 

His tireless dedication in these early years extended into liaison with the school college council on the management and development of their asset, overseeing the business operations of coaching and squad training that was the clubs responsibility in those days.  This also meant that he was ultimately responsible for the appointment and employment of our coaches, including that of supercoach and life member, Peter Diamond . 

If organizing the construction of the outdoor pool wasn’t enough, Graham a few years later, then moved onto managing the planning, design, funding and construction of the learn to swim pool and baby pool that has lead so many of you here tonight into our club.  It was only after some health concerns that Graham after 7 years in the role, needed to then stand down from the position. 

That was not enough to keep him away from being around the club that he was part of from the very beginning though.  A few years after he resigned, and during a time that was potentially disastrous for our club, Graham returned to serve in an advisory role to help facilitate an outcome that was in the best interest of the club, its members, and the college. 

Measuring not only by the successes of the club in the years after that, but also by the strength of our club today, The Grace Swimming Club Committee have resolved that Mr Graham Rutherford is a worthy life member of the club that he was instrumental in establishing.  Could you all join me with in congratulating Mr Graham Rutherford on the presentation of his Life Membership. 

While Graham was instrumental in the development of the facilities that our club enjoys today, the bricks, the mortar, the pools, our discussion with other past members suggests, that Mr Michael Zande, was just as instrumental by  being the glue in holding the pieces together, and also in contributing to shaping the culture of our club.  A culture, which sought to support the vision of being a competitive club, whilst simultaneously, looked to grow the character of the swimmer. 

Whilst never an official motto of the club, Michael always felt that the mantra of “Tenacity tempered with Humility” was an appropriate destination for the club ethos. Remembering those swimmers that have left the club since I have been here, and also looking at our senior swimmers here tonight, I feel that we can fully appreciate the legacy that our club has been blessed with today as a result. 

As mentioned, our committee and club structure these days is very different to the one that started 20 years ago.  They took on so much more fiscal responsibility, but they always had the vision of being a competitive club that also looked to grow the character of the swimmer.  After the first few years of wallowing in the bottom division of the BSA premiership, Michael (with  perhaps the assistance of his wife) developed the idea to target a coach of high standing- the one and only Mr Peter Diamond.  With that decision came the need to develop the learn to Swim facility that would provide the numbers to support such a high level coach, both through the available talent pool and of course through the associated financial benefits. 

Michael with his expertise, and in his role on the committee and as club secretary, then helped prepare the Cost analysis, budget analysis, feasibilities studies, Code of Conducts, memorandums of understanding and constitutions required to garnish the college support to further invest in swimming at Grace.  After 1 yr of Mr D being Grace Swimming Head Coach, Grace had taken out the inter-Lutheran Swimming Carnival.  Within 2 years, we were up within the BSA first division.

Michael served our Swimming Committee and membership over a period of 10 years with Grace and Humility. His focus was always on the swimmers and the environment that best supported them in and out of the water.  At the time of his departure from the club, the committee wanted to acknowledge his contribution with a special award, but he refused saying that it shouldn’t be about him, but about the swimmers, and not him.  Well this time, the committee has not asked him. 

As a result, The Grace Swimming Club Committee have resolved that it is appropriate that we award Mr Michael Zande a  life membership of the club that he so actively served and shaped over a 10 year period.  Could you all join me with in congratulating Mr Michael Zande on the presentation of his Life Membership. 

Thankyou very much gents, you can now take your seats.

The last 12 months thankfully, have not just been about preparing for our anniversary.  Whilst the presentation from our Club captains later tonight will provide a more extensive description of their highlights from the last year, there are a few specific moments that I wanted to mention.

Excitingly, this season has seen us welcome 76 new swimming members to our club, with almost half of these being made up of swimmers 8 years old and under.  The committee is excited to welcome all of those swimmers and their families here tonight.  We hope that you all have enjoyed the season and that it may be the first of many years associated with swimming here at Grace.

Club Nights over the past season as always are a highlight – It’s where we get to see the excitement on their faces for first time swims, or how adamant they were about not needing any help from the big kids to swim their race.  Being around marshaling, you are also aware of how proud they are to get a PB, or qualify for the longer distances.

This club night season has certainly been a success because we got to see a total of 140 individual swimmers (that’s up 18 from last year) compete in 5180 actual swims. That’s an increase of over 20% of swims from last year – which perhaps explains why our club nights may have run a little over time this year…. . Of those swims just under 1550 of those swims were personal bests (that’s about 1/3 of them). And each one of those has been entered into our PB Prize draw to be drawn later tonight, so all you kids, make sure your ready just in case your name is pulled out.  The prizes are awesome once again this year, all thanks to The Rothwell Amart Sports Community Kickback program which continues to provide us great support for these and other prizes through the year.

Now we know our swimmers love PB’s.  And as I just mentioned, there have been plenty this season.  But there are two Club Night PB’s in particular I’d like to single out.  The biggest PB for the season, is a whopping 47.16 seconds, by Tristan Dempster in the 800m Freestyle. The other PB which is a real stand out, was the largest in 50m freestyle - a very impressive 8.24 seconds by young Liam Dwyer. What makes it most impressive I think, is that it was on the first club night of the season – obviously the result of some hard work through winter! Well done mate!

Could I ask the following swimmers to please stand in their places.


Ashleigh Duyzer,

Liam Dwyer,

Chantelle Jackson,

Holly James,

Isabella McGaven,

Aimee Norris

Katelyn Woodward


These 8 swimmers competed at every one of 18 Club Nights through the season.  Not quite our oldest to youngest members, but isn’t it great to see them turn up each week.  Could I ask you all to put hands together for these guys commitment to our club Nights.

For those swimmers looking at progressing on from competing at Club Nights, the next step is competing at Outside meets. This often starts with  Development Meets , and then progresses to Qualifying Meets, Brisbane Swimming Championships, Qld State Titles, all culminating in the recently completed Australian Titles. In total we saw 63 swimmers compete in 54 different meets over the past 12 months.

All of this competition concluded in the recent Australian Open and Age Championships in Brisbane.  This year though, our stars were not only in the pool during these championships.  Grace Swimming were invited to provide some swimmers to be basket handlers and medal bearers for the first night of the championships, and got be part of the amazing atmosphere.

Those guys that represented us that night, need to make sure you see Cathy before the end of the night because she has a gift from Swimming Australia for the great job you all did.  The reports coming back from pool deck was that these guys did an amazing job representing our club, and I think we should put our hands together for them now.

And speaking of gifts, to celebrate our 20th Season of Grace Swimming Club, along with the trophies presented for the sprint awards tonight, each swimmer will also receive a commemorative 20th Anniversary towel.  They are not named, so make sure you look after them…..

With that, I would like to conclude by thanking you all once again coming along not only tonight, but also throughout the season as we all share in the privilege of watching these kids chase their dreams in the pool.  I feel truly blessed to once again, be part of Grace.

Please enjoy the festivities of the night.