The First 20 years

By Bernie McCorrie

Formed in 1961, with a background of officers active in the Surf Life Saving Movement, its aims were basic; teach boys to swim, make them competitive in the sport, and you have formed the nursery of the Maroubra Surf Club. Coogee Aquarium was headquarters that year, Claude Baker, the president, Ted Lee, the secretary and John Economos.  Jantzen the major sponsors.

In 1962 the first Club Championships were held and the first full Executive was elected, Harry Bennett as President and Ian Verrender as Captain, both commencing terms which were to span eleven consecutive years of leadership. In the following year the move was made to the new pool at Heffron Park and club membership accelerated to the extent that by 1965 we were fast approaching the 300 mark, making us one of the largest men's clubs in N.S.W. and, indeed, the Australian Swimming Union.

The 1966 season saw our first taste of near success, going down by a touch to the strong Ryde club in the N.S.W. Fred Lane 10 by 50 metres under 12 boys relay team and by 1967 we had finally made it. In the space of two events Gary Grant had won the club's first Gold medal in a State event in the under 12 boys 100 metres freestyle and Myra Forbes, from our then sister club, the Maroubra Ladies, the corresponding girls event. We went on that year to topple Bondi for the Eastern Suburbs men's premiership and end their reign of some 23 consecutive wins. From those early formative years Jim Findlay, Brad Cooper, Robert Nay and later, Max Metzker, Graeme Brewer and Ron McKeon went on to become International and Olympic competitors.

The Seventies were the years of major change, with the merging of the Men's and Women's Associations complete down to club level. Maroubra was one of the last male bastions to fall in 1974...we were now a "mixed club". With the merger came enormous responsibility, our championship program jumped from 60 to 96 events, for every men's trophy there was now an equivalent women's trophy, the Harry Bennett " penny scramble" was a vague feature from the dim hazy past and inflation had hit the amateurs.

Costumes and towels had been discarded as trophies since the Aquarium days, we could not give any more travel clocks, rugs, pen & pencil sets, cuff links and wallets to the same old faces and by incorporating the Maroubra Ladies club we found ourselves far removed, from those heady days in 1961 when we laid the foundation stone, which by 1981 standards, would be considered the male chauvinistic Maroubra "Men's" club.

We found in the Union, that we had inherited a National champion lady diving star in the shape of Anne Roby and had become the custodian of the trophies and records of two really great N.S.W. women's clubs with long traditions, namely Sydney Ladies and Clovelly Ladies, plus the worry that we did not even own a diving board at Heffron Park!

In 1977, along with our now established male stars, Lorraine Huber gained selection in the Australian team invited to participate in the New Zealand Games and in the following year, the club achieved a distinction that will be difficult to repeat. We gained the remarkable selection of six members in the Australian team of 27 to compete in the Commonwealth Games in Edmonton, Canada in August 1978. Max Metzker was appointed the men's team captain and was joined by Lyne Prosser, Lisa Burnes, Trevor Cracknell, Ron McKeon and Graeme Brewer. Collectively our members of the team won 12 Games medals. Ron set new Commonwealth records in the 200 and 400 metres freestyle and Max, the 1500 metres. Ron, Max and Graeme then teamed with Mark Morgan to set a new Commonwealth record in the 4 by 200 metres freestyle relay and take the Gold medal.

If we look at the first 20 years in retrospect, then 1978 has to be the peak year, as far as our success as a competitive club is concerned. It is difficult to see us repeating the 1st and 2nd place in a Commonwealth Games 200 metres freestyle, backing up for a 1st and 3rd in the 400 metres and then providing three of the four Australian team swimmers to take the Gold medal in the 4 by 200 metres freestyle in new Commonwealth and Games record time.

The year 1980 was clouded by the tense international situation which marred one of the greatest sporting spectacles of our time, the Moscow XXII Olympiad. The Maroubra big 3 - Max Metzker, Ron McKeon and Graeme Brewer were selected in the Australian team, Max again the men's team captain. They all made it through to the finals in their respective events with Graeme taking the Bronze medal in the 200 and Max, the Bronze medal in the 1500 metres freestyle, All are now on University Scholarships and were off the scene for the 1981 Open Australian Championships in Adelaide during February‑March this year.

As far as the Australian swim scene is concerned, this year heralds a complete change. The A.S.U. now promotes the club image rather than the Inter‑State competitor along the American lines of big club and University teams in National competition and, as a consequence, the top swimmers are joining the stronger clubs. Who knows what the Eighties will bring under this system. Even though the qualifying times for the National Age in Perth and the National Open in Adelaide were extremely difficult to achieve, we still had 27 members make it to the titles.

Of the 120 competing clubs, Maroubra finished fourth in the S. B. Grange point score. In the New South Wales championships, we finished second in all three point scores going down to Terry Gathercole's strong Win Club by the barest of margins.

This history is the resume in general terms of the club covering a 20 year period and no attempt has been made to cover the endeavours of all its members who have shared in the triumphs and the disappointments along the way. There have been hundreds of championships won and as many records broken at District, State and National level by members who have not even received a mention. It would take a folio alone to collate the efforts of our competitors wearing the Maroubra colours in the N.S.W. Individual Age point score to amass the huge total of 550 points against the Win Club's 559½.

It remains to state the obvious, all would not have been possible without the support of dedicated parents who studied for and passed the exams to become N.S.W. officials, managed the club on an executive level and found the time to take Maroubra to the top. All along the way we found the right sponsors, the right friends, the hard workers, and the top coaches in Jim Mooney, Terry Buck, John and Barry Rodgers who have shared the 20 years with us and we hope that the next twenty will be just as enjoyable and productive.




 By Wal Williamson.


1981 saw moves to split the club into two. That is, to take the 11 senior kids and form a new club. However this did not eventuate.  The Club's learn to swim program continued and there were 150 children and 18 adults under the watchful eye of Mrs Pat Parker and her assistants.


1982 saw Scott Hoy set National and State Age records in the 100 mtrs and 200 Mtrs Breaststroke. Ben Hanson set an Australian record in breaking the minute barrier with a time of 59.99 for 100 free in the 12 and under event. At the Nationals Ben set a new Australian record in the 400 mtrs freestyle. His time was 4.24.09. Max Metzker won the 400 mtrs 800 mtrs and 1500 mtrs at the N.S.W. championships and receiving the chairman's award for his efforts 


After years of membership numbers being between 300‑400 this season saw a drop to 215 including Life Members and learn to swim instructors.


It was also the year when long standing members Kevin and Chris Cooper, President and Secretary respectively, retired. Their interest in the club held for many years and they saw the club through a difficult past twelve months when then a move was to split the club.


On the competitive side names to stand out at the NSW Metropolitan Championships were; Catherine Rutherford who dominated the 9 & under age group winning three gold medals and one bronze. Ian Finlay, brother of Maroubra's first Olympian, won gold in the 200 Open Butterfly.  At the State age and open, !an won gold in the 400 open I.M. and the 200 open Butterfly as well as silver in the 100 open Butterfly.


The year being the 21st for the club a dinner dance was held at the Maroubra Seals Club when a gathering of old and new members and directors of the Seals Club were in attendance.


The main event for 1984 was a tour of 22 swimmers plus adults to the Lawrence club in Hobart. It was a three way swim between the Lawrence and Hobart Clubs and Maroubra. To fund this, the swimmers raised their own fares by running a Swimma‑thon that was held over two days in the old 25mtr pool. Each swimmer had to swim 30 minutes and rest for 3 hours,  them swimmers slept in the club room and were fed with soup.  Money was also raised for club use by delivering phone books from Maroubra to La Perouse. Although the going was tough it was rewarding financially to the club.


The pool at Lawrence was covered by an inflated air bubble as it was in May. The weekend also included a tour to Port Arthur with some of the local club.


On the competitive side at Australian Short Course Championships in Melbourne in August Maroubra was represented by Cindi‑Lu Fitzpatrick, Kim Rutherford, Dianna Bova and Joanne Earle with Cindi‑Lu being 1st in the 100mtr Breaststroke and 1st in the 200 mtr Breaststroke which was a record. Dianna Bova was 2nd in the 1500 mtr freestyle and 3rd in the 800 freestyle.


At the Australian Open Swim Championships; Dianna Bova 2nd 1500 Free 5th in the 800 Free; Victoria Moore 2nd 400 I.M; 4th in the 200 Fly and Kim Rutherford 5th in the 100 free and the 200 Free. These were in the Consolation Finals Kim also picked two Silver Medals as a member of the NSW State 4 by 100 and 4 by 200 freestyle relay teams.


The highlight of the 1985‑86 season was the running of the Johnson & Johnson Carnival at the University of Sydney swimming pool, with over 900 entries. Credit must be given to Bernie McOrrie for his organisation and to Robin Weber for the writing of the computer program and the running of same.


This was also a year when there were moves to split the club into two tiers (the top swimmers being in tier one and the club swimmers making up tier two). Although moved at the 1986 A.G.M it never eventuated. The club also billeted 17 members from the Punahoe Swim Club from Hawaii.


Terry Buck went to the Pacific Games in Japan as Head Coach and Joan Valler as Assistant Manager. Terry was also selected as Head Coach of the Australian Swim team in Edinburgh U.K.


Our outstanding swimmers were Bridget Allen at the Metropolitan Short Course winning 3 Golds 1 Silver and 1 Bronze and two records. Vincent Emerick swam in Australian/New Zealand Police Games collecting seven medals. Vincent was also selected to participate in the Police Olympics in U.S.A. in 1987.


Samantha Nelson, Fiona Thompson and Ben Hanson selected for the Australian Age Championships in Tasmania. Ben gained a 2nd placing and 2 third placings; Samantha a 6th placing. Ben and Samantha also selected for the Australian Championships in Adelaide.


1986 ‑ 87 the membership was 266 and Maroubra again held the Johnson & Johnson carnival at the University of Sydney pool where the entries were better than previous year attracting 17 clubs from the country and as far away as Forbes.


The club also had four swimmers in the Top Ten age group in Australia list, Bridget Allen, Samantha Nelson, James O'Toole and Ben Hanson. Seven members qualified for Adelaide but only six were able to go with 12 year old Dean Patrick being our best swimmer coming 3rd 100 Freestyle, 4th 200 freestyle and 4th 400 freestyle. In the 4 x 50 freestyle relay Dean took the team from 2nd to 1st  swimming the Freestyle leg breaking the South Australian, N.S.W. and Australian record. Samantha Nelson was chosen for the Uncle Toby's Training Squad giving her an extra week in Adelaide.


Samantha also led all the way to win the Women's Malibu Board Final at Scarborough Beach W.A. Heats and finals reduced the competitors from 70 down to the final 12. Fiona Thompson was also a competitor finishing very close to place getters in the womens surf race final. 


In 1988, Samantha Nelson and Jaqui Robinson received the Bradley Matthews Award from Randwick Municipal Council. Jaqui also became the World Womens Surf Champion in Brisbane. She gained the third placing in the 1500 Freestyle at the Australian Winter Open.


It was around this time the Maroubra A.S.C had the largest number of technical officials in the Eastern Suburbs and the most officials working in MetropolitanState and National championships of any club.


1989 The big event of this year was the opening of the 25mtr 500 seat grand stand indoor pool at Heffron. Also this year it was decide to combine the winter and summer season.


Eleven club records were broken in this year. Dean Patrick, 2nd 50 freestyle, 6th 100 freestyle, and Jaqui Robinson 4th 200 freestyle competed at the Pacific School Ganmes.


Of the swimmers who went to Perth, Matthew Frenandez came 3rd 200 fly and 3rd 400 Freestyle; Dean Patrick 3rd 100 freestyle, 3rd in 4 by 50 u/13 freestyle relay; 4th in 4 by 50 u/13 medley relay. At the Australian Open Celina Hardy and Jaqui Robinson competed with Jaqui coming 3rd in 1500 freestyle.


In 1990, Jim and Ruth Roberts, members of Maroubra, were the inaugural recipients of an Eastern Suburbs Swimming Association award to recognise the contribution they had made to swimming in the district.  The Club Championships were held in the 25 metre pool. Records for all events over 50 mtrs were established. Records were again broken by Robert Cartlidge.


Qualifiers for the Australian Age were;‑ 13 yrs Cassandra Crothers, Stephen Dolman, Phillip Goodsell; 14 yrs Angela Brown, Brett Hawke, Matthew Fernandez; 15 yrs Debbie Moses, Jane Saville, Dean Patrick; 17 yrs David Dubois and Stephen Luman.


1991 was an eventful year for the club. Due to an unforeseen tragedy in administration of the Academy club swimming at the Uni of NSW pool it had to close. Many of their members joined the Maroubra club including the coach Brian Sutton. Our membership rose to 355 members. Brian, who swam with Maroubra as ten year old, had some top swimmers. This made Maroubra the top club in NSW in the State Age and 2nd in Australia in the National age. Maroubra won the Metropolitan and State overall point score. With these results Australian Swimming Inc. honoured the pool by making it a high performance centre. Terry Buck was named General Manager of the Australian Swim Team at the World Titles in Perth. Again 3 Mini carnivals were held at Heffron and were a great success.


The club officiated at the Winter Swimming Championships held at Heffron this year. These championships are conducted around Australia each year by clubs such as the Seals Winter Swimmers. Maroubra has also officiated for many years at the Seals Championships. In the summer Metropolitan Championships Maroubra entered 43 swimmers winning 15 gold, 21 silver, and 22 bronze. In the State Open 16 gold 14 silver and 11 bronze were won.


1992 The Australian Short Championships were to be held in Darwin. Maroubra sent 10 swimmers supported to the amount of $5000 to $6000 thanks to our Sponsor at the time - ICI. At that meet, Maroubra swept the pool winning 16 medals and becoming the top club in Australia. The swimmers were, Leigh Habler, Malcolm Allen, Matthew Brown, Brent Harding, Martin Davies, Stephen Luman, Paul Davis, Zoe Fisher, Angela Mathew and Kylie Duff. Their coach was Brian Sutton. It was Maroubra's best result ever. ICI released a special report of the meet throughout their complex. Financially the club was down $2242 for the year.


1993 Another good year for the Maroubra club and its Swimmers. Leigh Habler was selected as our Olympic representative at Barcelona with Malcolm Allen just missing out. Leigh made it through to the finals. Our swimmers carried the Maroubra flag high at all carnivals.


At the swim meets Maroubra came first at the Winter State with 1557 points and Burley Griffin (Canberra) with 836. At the Summer State 9 to l2 years BHP‑ Hunter 1094 points Maroubra 625 points. For the 13 to 17 ICI‑Maroubra 1690 Points BHP ‑ Hunter 1768 and at the State open BHP‑Hunter 659 ICI‑ Maroubra 625.


1993‑94 Commonwealth Games. A number of our swimmers trialed for the Games but none succeeded. Malcolm Allen, Shannon Habler, Belinda Gladstone and William Rowley competed in Spain, Germany and Hong Kong.


In the Nationals in Perth in April 16 swimmers participated in 74 events. Shannon Habler setting a NSW record for 50 Mtrs Freestyle. Halani Lloyd setting 2 NSW records for her 50 Mtrs freestyle and 4 x 50 freestyle relay with Shannon Habler, Belinda Gladstone and Yvette Balla Gow setting a new National Record in that event.


Maroubra was placed 5th out of 180 Australian and Overseas clubs. Medals were won by Shannon Habler 9 gold, Belinda Gladstone 7 medals William Rowley 3 medals Halani Lloyd 4 medals and Lief Bergerson, Nerida Smitand Yvette Balla Gow 2 medals each.


In this year it was voted to drop the 100 mtrs Freestyle from club nights. The reason being it would encourage the top swimmers to attend club more regularly and only compete in the 50mtrs. They still did not attend after their training session.


1995 Club membership remained stable. Jan Swinbourne and Joan Valler were the first members of Maroubra to attain their referee tickets. Shannon Habler was selected for the New Zealand team and William Rowley in the Damstadt, Germany team. Leigh Habler, Ian Van der Wal, Paul Davis and Malcolm Allen for 1994 Academy of Sport squad and Shannon Habler, Belinda Gladstone, Halani Lloyd and William Rowley for the 1994 State Squad.


1996 The highlight of this year was focused on the Olympic Games in Atlanta USA in July. Maroubra had three swimmers who were successful, Malcolm Allen, Stacey Gartrel and Anna Windsor representing Australia. Brian Sutton as National Backstroke coach and Terry Buck as Team Manager were selected also. Furthermore these three swimmers along with others helped Maroubra to be placed third Nationally and first in NSW.


The following are world rankings set by Fina the international swimming body.


Malcolm Allen 4th 100 freestyle, 6th 800 freestyle, 7th 1500 freestyle, Kurt Eldridge 8th 100 freestyle, Leigh Habler 4th 200 backstroke, Stacey Gartrell 22nd 400 freestyle, 12th 800 freestyle, Anna Windsor 22nd 100 freestyle, 11th 200 freestyle, 37th 100 individual medley, 12th  200 I.M.


Shannon Habler was selected to compete at Damstadt, Germany. Leigh Habler and Malcolm Allen represented Australia at the World Short Course in Reo De Janeiro.


1997.  This year the President of ten years did not seek re­election and Maroubra Swimming Club Inc elected its first Madam President. The name ICI‑ Maroubra was altered to just Maroubra hoping more sponsors would be interested. It was not so. The newsletter appeared once again. Also fun nights were introduced. Both of these have been introduced previously in the past 20 years.


The qualifying rule was also changed from 6 freestyle swims and 2 formstroke to 10 swims only regardless of strokes.  Medals were awarded at the championships in addition to the trophies etc. presented on presentation day.


Maroubra club had more representatives in the Australian swim team than any other Metropolitan club.


1998 This was a very ordinary year. Membership was 215 including 24 Life Members.


Five swimmers went to the Australian Age in Adelaide. Our top swimmers included Chris Koppl, Yasmin Dunn, Michael Ormsby and Nicholas Crothers.


1999 It was known for some time that Randwick City Council was concerned regarding the Heffron Pool. Not much maintenance had been carried out by the Council or the pool lessee resulting in the pool being up for releasing. The club did not know who would be the new lessee and their attitude towards swimming clubs. The coaches did not know their position and the club AGM for two meetings did not have a quorum.


All this left the club up in the air. So the coaches left, the committee resigned with the exception of four Life Members and there was no AGM. However the pool was leased to a firm called R.A.N.S which was sympathetic to the club and supported the continued running of the Friday night swims. New coaches were engaged by the pool Management and the squads began their training once again.


2000 the club year started with 62 swimmers and finished with 260.


The Annual Presentation ceremony was once again was held at the Maroubra Seals Sports and Community Club after holding it for the previous two years at the South Maroubra Surf Club.


Our Patron of Years, Des Renford who had swum the English Channel 19 times passed away on 30th December 1999 while swimming in the 50 metre pool. The Heffron Park Swimming Pool was renamed The Des Renford Aquatic Centre.



Randwick City Council
Lycee Condorcet Sydney