On Saturday 31st October eighteen “elite” swimmers, from the Forbes Diggers Swimming Club, made their way to Gosford to represent Forbes in the annual Four Ways meet with Nelsons Bay, Cobar and, of course host club, Gosford.
Diggers Swimming Clubs began after World War I. The races were handicapped to allow all returned soldiers to compete and the handicap was determined by the injuries or permanent disabilities of each competitor. The Forbes club was started by returned soldier Thomas E Drane whose descendants have maintained the tradition and are still integral members of the club today. Originally the weekly event was for men only but now is a family affair. The 30m & 50m events are still handicapped and swimmers must swim as close as possible to their nominated time.
The Four Way Swim commenced as the Five Way Swim until the unfortunate closure of the Malibar Club recently. The meet was an opportunity for the men who had served together to keep in contact and maintain the special bonds they had formed during the war.
Although it has developed into a social occasion it is still a time to remember and pay respect to the men and women who made great sacrifices for the freedoms we enjoy today.
The Forbes swimmers competed well with Harry Hayes bringing home the bacon with a win in the 50m Open scratch event with a time of 30.16 along with Mick Prior swimming 0.06 outside of his time for the 30m event. The 10 man 50m relay saw the Forbes team claim 3rd swimming 3.03 faster than their nominated time. Forbes were announced as the hosts for the 2016 Meeting and look forward to welcoming visitors and their guests to Forbes in October next year.
Forbes Diggers meet every Sunday morning at the town pool with events commencing at 10.00am and people of all ages are welcome to attend. The committee are now preparing for the community Australia Day Swim followed by the Western District AIF Carnival and, their major community charity fundraiser, the Pup Cup Family Day on the 28th February.