The UpBound Business House and Sporting Club Relay returns to Taree and is looking for your support. FOCUS speaks with Ian Smith …
What motivated you to start “UpBound Business House and sporting Club’s Relay”?
Melissa Morgan – YMCA Manager – approached us. Melissa wanted to do something to both encourage participation at the Manning Aquatic Leisure Centre (MALC) and raise funds for the SwimAbility Program. She asked us if we could help out, and it rolled on from there. We also had UpBound come on board as our sponsor for the business house relay.
The event has quite a history in Taree; tell us a bit about it.
I believe Taree Apex Club first held the event back in the 1960s. Since then it has been sponsored by Stacks, Taree Rotary Club and now Upbound. I swam in it in the early 1980s; however, it was last held in 2011 due to a lack of support. We are now reinvigorating the event and are getting it up and running for 2019.
This is all for a good cause. Tell us a bit about how the funds raised support the YMCA and the Taree Torpedoes.
Funds raised by the event will support the YMCA SwimAbility Program and Taree Torpedoes Swimming Club. As we all know, swimming is a life skill which is extremely important in an area like ours, where we are surrounded by water.
The YMCA SwimAbility program helps to develop aquatic fitness and water safety skills for people of all ages with physical and intellectual disabilities.
Taree Torpedoes are raising funds for new starting blocks at the MALC, a project with MidCoast Council. The current blocks are unstable and are now not really suitable for competitive swimming use. The blocks are used by the swimming club, for squad training and school swimming carnivals.
Do you have to be an Ian Thorpe to enter?
No, anyone who can swim 50 metres can enter. It is a handicap event, so swimmers of all ages and abilities can enter; the slower swimmers will start before the faster ones. A team of four quick swimmers could be giving a slower team two laps headstart. It all depends on the entry time.
Are swimmers confined to a particular stroke?
No, it is a “free style” event, meaning participants are free to choose their style. It could be side stroke, dog paddle, using floatation devices or flippers, any of the four competitive swimming strokes or any combination. Really, the only things swimmers can’t do is walk on the bottom of the pool or pull themselves along the lane ropes.
The winner isn’t necessarily the first to cross the line; how does this work?
The winner will be the first team to complete the race without varying from their entry time by more than four seconds. A team that finishes the race first, but swims six seconds faster than their entry time will be excluded; whereas, a team could finish fifth in a time that is two seconds slower than their entered time and be the winner. Teams need to swim within four seconds of their entry time.
Cash is up for grabs; what’s in it for the winners?
There is a $500 cash prize for the winning 4 x 50 m relay team, as well as a trophy and a $100 cash prize for the winner of the 50 m handicap Dash For Cash, all sponsored by Upbound Taree.
How many teams do you have participating this year, and where are they from?
At this stage we have a couple of teams entered, and are waiting for more entries to come in. We’d love for more businesses to get involved, as in the end it only benefits the community.
I understand the original trophy went missing; have you been able to locate it?
After a bit of searching, it surfaced this week. It was with the last winner, Ian Hoppy.
Where can we find out more info?
YMCA Taree – 6550 0500
Ian Smith – 0427 532 730
Mick Cross – 0497 128 495
Interview: Bronwyn Davis.