Posted on Thursday 16th April, 2020

MSQ 2019 Official of the Year

Cheryl Brodribb of QCN Cairns Mudcrabs, takes out the award for 2019. 

Masters Swimming Queensland is proud to announce that Cheryl Brodribb of QCN Cairns Mudcrabs, has been voted as the MSQ 2019 Official of the Year. Thank you for your tireless work and devotion to the masters swimming community. Congratulations from all of us!

Cheryl has enabled the continuation of local swim meets in North Queensland by officiating at swim meets on the Atherton tableland, in Cairns and in Townsville. As MSQ Vice President for North Queensland, she has been very active in promoting Masters Swimming in the region and across the state.

Cheryl and her husband Brian have travelled considerable distances to attend these meets where Brian has also acted as Marshall and Check Starter. They also travelled to Brisbane to officiate at the MSQ State Championships.

In particular, Cheryl’s enthusiasm as Swim Meet Convenor for the Great Barrier Reef Masters Games has ensured the success of the event at the Tobruk Pool in Cairns. In the lead up to the Games she ran technical courses for timekeepers and starters, thus ensuring additional officials were available at the Games. She continues to mentor these trainees.

For the second year Cheryl was Convenor and a referee for the Big Barrine Bash Open Water Swim. Her co-ordination of the local clubs and liaison with the National Parks & Teahouse management ensured a successful event.

Cheryl has the happy knack of being able to both make swimmers feel welcome and encouraged, as well as officiating in a fair and correct manner. Cheryl always ensures new swimmers understand rules and procedures. She always operates with consistency and fairness, and is able to be firm when necessary.

Of special note in the last two years, Cheryl’s support of open water distance swimming has been huge. She has played a major part in the initiative to run a 10km qualifier swim in North Queensland. This has had a huge impact of several swimmers, giving them the opportunity and confidence to consider participating in major events requiring qualification that they would not have considered if they had to travel south to do so. The Big Barrine Bash of 2019 even had swimmers flying up from Brisbane to participate for this purpose.

Cheryl Officiating for MSQ

An Interview with Cheryl

How did you first become involved with swimming?

I swam at school and mostly only in relays as I preferred diving to swimming.  As we regularly holidayed at Lake Tyers Beach, which is part of the 90-mile beach in Victoria, I was always in the surf and the lake. 

What do you love about swimming?

I love the friendship and catching up with friends at swim meets plus travelling to different locations.

When did you first join Masters Swimming?

I first joined Masters Swimming in 2001.  Brian and I joined Cairns Mudcrabs for fitness and to enjoy a sport together.  We didn’t plan on swimming at swim meets but once we did our first swim meet, we loved the fun and friendship. 

Most memorable swimming moment?

I swam my first butterfly race at the 2003 State Championships in Brisbane winning a third place.  I rarely swam butterfly, so this was a surprise.

Favourite events?

Freestyle and Backstroke

How often do you swim, and where?

I mostly only swim in our home pool.

What motivates and inspires you?

Helping people to learn to swim and seeing the joy once they perfect their stroke/s.  Our older members who continually amaze us with their tenacity to keep going and the smiles.

Have you had setbacks to overcome?

Unfortunately, yes due to a sporting accident participating in athletics at the 2010 Alice Springs Masters Games I now no longer participate in swim meets – one arm swimming is a bit slow.  

Favourite things? Likes and dislikes?

Travelling – be it in Australia or overseas.  We love holidaying in our caravan and meeting new people with their interesting travel stories.  Family is very important to us and we love watching our seven grandchildren achieve their dreams plus the camping trips together.

I enjoy looking for new ways to give back to our MSQ members be it in competition or programs for non-competitive members.  Our members are the life blood of MSQ.

What upcoming events are you swimming in?

None.  Looking forward to getting back to the pool as a Technical Official and hopefully Pan Pacs will go ahead.  Being a Technical Official is a great way to give back to a sport that has given us a lot of fun and many memories.


I was a preschool/kindergarten teacher until married.  I went back to university as a mature age student and gained a Bachelor of Business (Prop. Studies) and worked as a Contract Valuer for ten years until my sporting accident.


Brian and I have three married daughters, two living in Cairns and one at the Gold Coast, plus seven Grandchildren age 13 – 20.  Our eldest grandson is currently completing his Commercial Pilots Licence and our eldest Granddaughter has just started working on a cattle property and dairy farm west of Cairns as a jillaroo. 

Other interesting/little-known facts about you?

Brian and I travelled throughout Australia from 1973 – 1976, on a working holiday, visiting all States and Territories.  Those three years have given us so many wonderful memories.  No air conditioning in our Toyota Landcruiser and lots of dusty gravel/dirt roads.  Having our own caravan was a bonus as we were able to stop whenever we liked and enjoy so much of this wonderful country.  A bit like Gypsies back then.

In Victoria I played women’s cricket in the summer and softball in the winter, so always keeping busy with sport. 

Philosophy on life? Favourite saying?

Through life we are thrown many obstacles and we just need to take each day as it comes and work through them. 

A couple of favourite sayings in our family are:

  • Common sense doesn’t grow in everyone’s garden.
  • Go to Bunnings, buy some timber, build a bridge and get over it.

What would you say to someone who is thinking of becoming a Masters swimmer?

Join, as you will reap the benefits of the friendship from other swimmers, coaches and clubs.  You don’t have to compete at swim meets if you don’t wish to as there are other MSQ programs available for you to be part of.

Brian and Cheryl in Alaska in 2019
Cheryl – Meet Convenor of GBRMG19

Thanks to John Barrett of QRT Rats of Tobruk and members of QTA Townsville Aquaholics for nominating Cheryl for this award.