Forbes Diggers Swimming Club president David Sly said Tuesday’s Australia Day races were the best attended in the club’s history. Hot and sunny conditions on the day attracted 76 competitors of all ages across the junior, senior, Tom Drane Memorial, and scratch divisions.
Even Forbes Australia Day Ambassador Tracy Mann took a dip, despite still recovering from her frozen shoulder condition. Mann’s husband Scott Hartford-Davis, a seasoned long distance swimmer, also participated, while Forbes Shire Council mayor Phyllis Miller was on deck to support the event.
Sly said the event has grown every year, and he expects this to keep happening in the future. “We had great weather for the event, and this year has been the biggest we’ve had so far,” he said.
“We had great assistance from everyone who helped put the event together, including the Forbes Shire Council, and I’d like to thank them for what they did as well.” Mann said although she has never been a strong swimmer, she thoroughly enjoyed time in the water on Tuesday. “The water was just gorgeous,” she said. “I’m still recovering from frozen shoulder, so I could only do breaststroke, but I was really happy to do it just to be involved.” “I raced with the kids, but they gave me a head start. I needed it, but they still beat me.”
The main event was the Tom Drane Memorial Trophy, commemorating the founder of the Diggers Swimming Club.
This was won by Brendan Hayes, who swam a total of 80 metres in 23 seconds. Siobhan O’Malley took out the junior 50 metre, while Georgia Haggarty won the junior 30 metre. In the seniors, Scott Mattiske won the 50 metre race, while the 30 metre was a three way dead heat.
Scratch division winners Ellie Mattiske, Tom Mattiske, Darci Morrison and Joe Maitland. The Diggers Swimming Club run events for all ages with handicaps, in line with the ANZAC soldiers who returned home after WWI and recovered from their injuries in the swimming pool, with a wide range of capabilities. The club’s next event is the Western Region AIF Carnival on February 15.