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The women of Wett Ones go from strength to strength - Australia Gay News Network

25 May 2015 | glrfcentral
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With more coaching and training, Sydney LGBTI swim club Wett Ones has seen an increase in female swimmers – and they’re making a big splash in the competitive pool. Reg Domingo reports. “Wett Ones is a friendly and inclusive swimming club. Regardless of how serious you are about your swimming, swimming with the club gives you a great motivation to swim further, faster and set goals for yourself – supported by fantastic coaches and with a great bunch of club mates.”

So says Tracey Clay, a proud member of Sydney’s premiere LGBTI swimming club, Wett Ones. Established in 1991, the Wett Ones – or ‘Wetties’ – aims to support and encourage swimming in a friendly, inclusive and safe environment. With more than 100 swimmers, it is one of the largest clubs in Master Swimming NSW and one of the most active in Team Sydney.

Clay has been a member of the Wett Ones since 1999. In that time, she has seen the club evolve from a small group of people to now a large collective of avid swimmers. And in recent times, the club has began to attract more female members.

“In the past Wett Ones has had trouble recruiting and retaining female swimmers. This has all changed in the last 18 months and we now have a group of committed and competitive female swimmers and our first women's medley relay team at our upcoming carnival. Not to mention our record-smashing women's freestyle relay from Darwin. Some nights we almost have a girls only lane which is great to see and it can get quite competitive at times!”

Wett Ones President Pascal Blanquer attributes the surge in female participation to the club’s focus on coaching and training.

 

Above: President Pascal Blanquer (right) says increased coaching and training have led to more female participation and retention at the Wett Ones. Top image: Michelle Daley, Megan McLachlan and Tracey Clay. Photos: Cec Busby

“We believe the improved retention we are seeing is due to an investment of the club in more coaching time – now with two coaches on deck at the pool regularly rather than one,” Blanquer says. “All of our members have really benefited from this additional coaching time.”

The increase in women is right across the spectrum too, both gay and straight. Indeed, the club is open to everyone, regardless of sexuality.

“We are very lucky to have always had strong support of non-lesbian female members,” blanquer says.

Megan McLachlan first became a Wettie back in 1994. Since that time, she has swum with the club at the Gay Games in Sydney in 2000, and the World and Asia-Pacific Outgames in Montreal, (2006), Melbourne (2008), Copenhagen (2009), Wellington (2011) and Darwin (2014). Asked what it is about the club that appeals to her, McLachlan says: “Definitely its friendliness and acceptance - Wett Ones has become my second family and I have made some great friends over the years”.

And while medals and trophies are great, it’s the camaraderie that’s the real prize.

“Sure we’ve all won loads of bling but by far the best part is travelling with great friends and making new ones with the other clubs, especially our sister clubs Aqualicious in Brisbane and Glamourheads in Melbourne.

With more women in the club, the Wett Ones are poised to make its competitive mark.

“With the increased number of female members and the increased retention level, our women are now reaching a critical mass, enabling the club to form a great competitive team,” Blanquer says.

“You can really see the difference at training! Some nights, we have a lane now made up of a majority of women – which the whole club is so proud of.”

Visit the Wett Ones website here: www.wettones.org

WETT ONES SWIM MEET

Saturday 30 May 1pm Sydney University Sports & Aquatic Centre

The Wett Ones’ annual carnival is a highlight in Australia’s masters swimming calendar.

“We have around 150 swimmers from all over the state swimming at our home pool, and in addition we have attendees from other LGBT swim clubs in the region who love making the annual trip to compete and catch up with us in Sydney,” Wett Ones President Pascal Blanquer says.

“This event is also a great social moment for the club. Most of our members and their partners come to give a hand during the carnival – not just swimming, but with officiating, timekeeping, raising funds for the club and cheering our teammates and friends on. The day ends with a celebratory dinner and drinks for the team, our partners and friends – as swimmers we love a bit of carb-loading after a competition!”

Long-standing Wett Ones member Tracey Clay adds: “There is nothing like swimming in your home pool in front of a large group of enthusiastic and vocal Wett Ones. Go Wetties!”

 

Author Reg Domingo

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