Silver swimming splash
SITTING at their children's swimming lessons 25 years ago a group of parents, keen swimmers themselves and tired of swimming against the children, decided to break into masters swimming.
After a discussion with the Rockhampton masters swimming club, the Crocs had a training session to indicate the number of interested swimmers and the Gladstone Gropers was formed.
It was an event founding member Sandra Pugh still remembers well.
"Getting the club off the ground was an easy and successful process. Masters swimming was only new to Queensland so there were not many hurdles to overcome," Pugh said.
"The interest was great and there was plenty of support.
"We were off and running within the first year with 20-25 members.
"One of the biggest decisions in the beginning was our name, Gropers or Guppies.
"Gropers it was, they are the big fish and that's what we wanted to be, the big fish of the masters swimming scene."
With a name decided and the club officially operating there was no stopping the water lovers.
"Each year we have gone from strength to strength. In 2000 we had over 100 members and now have a comfortable 70 with new members always arriving," Pugh said.
"Gladstone is such a transient town we are regularly having new people come and old people go but we often get comments from those who leave and join other clubs that they just not the same, which is some great feedback.
"And then we have members who have been with us for a number of years."
The Gropers cater for swimmers of all levels from the age of 20 and over.
The eldest member is 77 and he swims rings around some of the younger members.
"The beauty of our club is that you meet people you may not meet otherwise, of all ages and backgrounds. I have plenty of friends both older and younger than me, we become a small family that supports each other" Pugh said.
On Saturday night the Gropers will be celebrating their 25th anniversary and encourage people interested to come along to one of their training sessions at John Dahl Pool on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 6.30pm or Sundays from 7.30am and join the club and share the next 25 years with them.
In 1991 the Gladstone Gropers hosted the Queensland State titles which proved to be a major success for a new club.
In 2000 Gladstone Gropers also made history when they hosted the AUSSI Masters National Titles.
The Gropers were the first non-metropolitan mainland Masters Club to host a National Titles.