Gropers pair make grand splash

A GLADSTONE pair is lapping up the chance to stay fit in their latter years and going swimmingly in a joint pursuit.

Bev and Greg Baldock are members of the Gladstone Gropers Masters Swimming Club and the duo were recently rewarded for their efforts in and out of the pool.

Lauded for her work in the past year, Bev won the Gropers award for services to the club after many years of assisting in valuable roles, including acting treasurer, merchandise officer and the aerobics recorder.

Winning the accolade means a lot, especially considering the tight-knit nature of the organisation and dedication shown from fellow members.

"It makes me feel quite modest and it's real honour to be picked. There's a lot of good people in our club and a lot of hard workers," she said.

She joined the swimming club in 2000 with a friend and dove head first into becoming a part of the group.

"Friendship is one big thing (about joining), and it gets you out there in the community," she said.

Bev believes leading an active life is critical for maintaining health and it could be said she's never known anything different.

"I love the feeling of being fit; it gives me a lot of energy and well-being," she said.

As a six-year-old living in Southbrook, Bev gravitated to the netball courts and to vigoro, eventually playing for Queensland in the under-18s team.

When the Gladstone softball competition came into being in the mid-'70s Bev was a founding member of the Comets club, and she went on to officiate at state carnivals in the umpire's uniform.

It was the complexity of the game that drew her in, and played for 30 years.

But it was the sport she started off in as a child that was at the forefront of her sporting life, as she played with a number of local clubs.

"Netball was always my passion right into my late 40s," Bev said.

Not content nowadays to just swim, she also practices Pilates and every Sunday morning she can be found with her oars in the Gladstone with the Phoenix paddling club.

Her favourite aspect of the Gropers regimen is the aerobics program. It constitutes 400m, 800, 1500 m and half ¾ and hour long swims in all strokes.

Her times are getting quicker and the challenge always presents to get faster.

"I'm still managing a few PBs, but I am starting to mellow a little bit," she laughed.

The risk of injury with swimming is very low due to being impact free and with the proper technique can be of great benefit in strengthening muscles and building fitness.

It was for this reason Greg decided to throw his towel in with his wife and take the plunge.

"I took my first swimming lessons six months before I joined (in 2002). I couldn't swim a stroke and have been swimming ever since," he said.

Greg was on the receiving end of back-to-back most improved male swimmer due to his progressing from the novice lanes to those a little more arduous.

"You've got to try and keep up with the people you move into the lane with, so I listen to the coaches and practice," Greg said.

Three times a week Greg hits the pool and backstroke is his pick of disciplines if he had one.

Greg was never as active as his wife, but did dally around the squash court years ago.

A back injury curtailed this but through regular pool work he's seen a marked improvement and doesn't suffer the aches and pains he once endured.

"It's good for you. I have very little problems with my back now.

"Within a couple of months you're starting to strengthen your core. I do Pilates as well now."

"That was one of the reasons I got into swimming and needed to do something about my fitness and it was also something we (Bev and I) could do together and talk about it," he said.

The couple aren't about to hang the towel up yet, either, and they agreed they'll be a part of the Gropers for many years to come.

"We'll be doing it for the rest of our lives.

"As long as we're upright, we'll be swimming."

Anyone wanting to join the Gladstone Gropers can contact Trudy Zussino on 4979 4302.

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