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Gladstone Gropers “we are one, we swim fast and we have fun …” these are the opening lines to the energetic rhyme created by The Gladstone Gropers Master’s Swimming Club.  The following history gives an indication of that energy that is prevalent to this day.

In 1986 the Gladstone Club commenced with 19 registered swimmers, mostly parents of whose children were actively involved in swimming.  With the help of an enthusiastic group of swimmers who travelled from Rockhampton for a training session to give the Gladstone Club a hand with the organizational side of starting a Masters Club.  This Club became known as the famous and infamous Gladstone Gropers.  (Guppies was the alternative name which would never have suited the then Members!).

The Club started at Gladstone South State School 25m Pool with training run, on an informal basis, each Sunday. A social cuppa & chat after the training became the norm and is still an integral part of the Gropers social tradition.

In 1987 a second session was introduced on Tuesday evenings  and at the beginning of 1988 a third session was added to the training programme on Thursday evenings.  The training programme was now in control of Simon Hooton who had completed his Level 1 Master Coaching Training.  Simon is still our Patron and continues to enthuse swimmers of all ages to participate in Club activities.  Through Simon’s enthusiasm several Members also became qualified coaches and the Club was fortunate to have had 6 (six) qualified coaches, viz. Don Jones, Russell Ogden, Rod Porteous, Sandra Pugh, John Feddersen and Doug Hogan. Now there are 5 (five) as Doug has left the area. To avoid overworking a Head Coach is elected every two years and training duties are rostered to spread the work load.

Over the years several important State positions were held  by Members of the Gladstone Gropers. For instance Sandra Pugh was elected State Registrar in 1990 and held the position for two consecutive years.  Rod Porteous became the North Queensland Director of Coaching in 1993 and held this position for numerous years and Russell Ogden became the Vice President (VP) Central Queensland in 1995.  Gladstone Gropers were then in a unique position to have two of its Members on the State Executive. In 2007, Ken White, while President of Gropers, was elected Central Qld. VP and in 2010 Trudy Zussino held the VP position for 2 consecutive years.  Furthermore John Feddersen is the current State Treasurer as well as acting VP. 

The Club has had an excellent foundation and has remained a strong  and vibrant Club with well over 90 Members in 2013.  The Club has successfully hosted State and National Titles and runs its own Annual Swim Carnival Meet. 

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