Noosa Masters Meet – Spring was in the Air
The evidence was unmistakable. A tawdry specimen of a KFC roast chicken – aroma intact, but with entrails scattered about – half hidden under a bush at the NAC carpark. It was two days before the Noosa Meet, and wild storms had wreaked havoc to the south. Our Meet Director Ian was spooked by visions of our meet being ‘blown away’ (in the worst sense of that term). So … like any anxious Meet Director would, he’d resorted to the ancient practice of haruspices – reading the entrails of a sacrificial bird. The giblets were gracious … ‘Saturday will be fine’!
And so it was. Saturday was a perfect spring day. The pools at the Noosa Aquatic Centre sparkled as swimmers, officials and supporters arrived for the 21st Anniversary Noosa Masters swim meet. The spring weather worked its magic. Swimmers from 29 clubs came from near and far, including one competitor each from Townsville, Sydney and Auckland. This was the largest number of clubs to gather in Queensland this year, apart from at the state championships. And Noosa’s 40-strong team was the largest at any masters’ event in Queensland in 2022.
Among the forty were hardened veterans and tremulous ‘virgins’ (first time competitors). Yes, there were the stars who scored the maximum 50 points – Jo, Helen, Terry … and the lone male, John H. But the collective strength of the club was revealed in the number of Noosa podium finishes during the day – 78 firsts, 45 seconds and 16 thirds, and that didn’t include relays. Even more heartening … every Noosa swimmer secured a podium finish in at least one event.
The meet ran like clockwork. ‘Tent teams’ had set up a perfect precinct. Numerous club volunteers (too many to name) worked behind the scenes – marshalling, timing, recording, announcing, selling raffle tickets and providing refreshments to officials and workers. MSQ officials set the pace and David Findlay had results churning out of his laptop. After the final relay, everyone moved to ‘Bob’s BBQ’ at which individual and club awards were presented.
Noosa scored the most points by far. But, true sports that they are, the club awarded trophies based on the average points won per entrant. Among the larger clubs, the always-competitive Miami Masters won the trophy.
The trophy for smaller clubs was won by the relatively new Gympie Gold Fins Masters. This team of five, with an average age of only 33, put on an impressive display of powerful swimming. More than one Noosa ‘gal’ was seen blushing breathlessly at the sight of the muscular Gympie ‘hunks’.
Two swimmers among the medallists at the meet broke records. Cotton Tree’s Caleb Langelaan (45) swam 2:31.39 to shatter the identical state and national age records in the 200M Breaststroke (2:36.17). He’d set those records only a month earlier! Beerwah’s Lene Knudsen (45) swam a superb 1:10.65 to break the state age record in the 100M Butterfly (1:12.58). Lene just missed Shane Gould’s current national record (1:10.15).
There were comic moments at the meet. A streak of chaos ran through the Noosa relay teams. One team was DQ’d outright (for ‘unseemly attire’). Another team was caught out when Jackie swam two of the four legs (don’t ask)! A third team lost a member who left early to attend a G&T party honouring her late Majesty; his place was taken by an innocent bystander Mr J.B. Smythe of 12 Acorn Street, Surry Hills. It turned out he couldn’t swim, but he was successfully rescued.
At one point a horde of Noosa swimmers was cheering crazily for Wendy Ivanusec … chanting ‘Wendy I … you’re an apple pie’ … until they suddenly realised it was Anne Besser they were watching. Without missing a beat, the chant changed to ‘Annie Besser … you’re a brick’! Video of the mix-up has been purchased by SpecSavers for their next ad.
And, as described elsewhere in ‘Chatter’, there was scandal at the medal presentation. Fresh from masterminding the massive ‘hack’ on Optus, an unnamed Noosa swimmer (whom I’ll call ‘Kevin’) corrupted the Swim Central computer and awarded himself 55 points, securing a gold medal. A distraught Rob J broke down inconsolably, lamenting that ‘Je retourned de La France juste a winnez cette medalle! Sacre bleu vein!’
At day’s end, everyone agreed it had been an excellent meet – the cheerful, sunlit gathering for which Noosa is renowned. Congratulations all.
By Brian Hoepper, Noosa Masters.