Yarrawonga has hosted the biggest Ovens and Murray District Swimming Championships in recent history.By Racheal Willett
Yarrawonga has hosted the biggest Ovens and Murray District Swimming Championships in recent history, sending a clear message to neighbouring clubs they can and will do it again.
The event, traditionally hosted in either Albury or Wodonga, was scheduled in Yarrawonga on February 9 and 10 due to the other facilities being unavailable.
According to figures from the Ovens and Murray District Swimming Association, 302 athletes competed in the event, totalling 1909 entries. This compares to 298 athletes competing across 1729 entries in 2012.
Association figures showed the Yarrawonga event was the biggest championships held in the past six years.
According to the YMCA around 1250 people walked through the Yarrawonga Swimming Pool gates over the two days of competition.
The organisation of the championships took an enormous effort from members of the Yarrawonga/Mulwala Swimming Club and according to President Dario Prighel all the hard work paid off.
“It was a fantastic event and there’s no doubt it demonstrated how well we can host an event of this type in Yarrawonga,” Mr Prighel said. “From anecdotal feedback it seems all the competitors and clubs considered the event a success. In terms of flow-on benefit for the town itself it’s hard to tell but I have had positive reports from on-side vendors.”
Mr Prighel said hosting a two-day event such as the Ovens and Murray District Swimming Championships was not only a coup for the swimming club but also acknowledgement of the Yarrawonga Swimming Pool management and staff.
“The club has a very good relationship with the YMCA who manage the pool on behalf of Moira Shire Council,” he said. “Greg Bye and his staff worked well with the club to get this event up and going and they also work closely with us for regular use of the pool.
“The important thing from my perspective is that people in Yarrawonga realise what a good facility we have here and that they use it. I know there has been ongoing discussion about having an enclosed and heated pool, but for the time being people need to use the pool we have to show Moira Shire Council that we do need it and we are prepared to support it.”
YMCA Pool Manager Greg Bye said he was thrilled the event had been such a success for the Yarrawonga/Mulwala Swimming Club.
“It was also great to have other swimming clubs come here and see what facilities we’ve got which might ultimately translate to not only more events but more general use of the pool from people visiting Yarrawonga,” he said. “Who knows what the success of this event could mean for the future of hosting similar events in Yarrawonga.”
Mr Bye said the YMCA, a not-for-profit organisation, managed the pool on behalf of Moira Shire Council with gate and canteen takings ultimately going toward the operation of the pool and improvements.
“There are always works that need to be done at the pool site and we work with council to schedule work that is required,” he said. “We’ve had a successful season this year with an overall 13% increase in visitors to January and a 70% increase in swimming lessons.”
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