It was a total surprise for Chris to be awarded a Life Membership of the Dumbleyung Swimming Club. She had such a wonderful day reminiscing with former swim club members, parents, friends and her family.
Karen Ward, as usual, was most entertaining as she recalled Chris’ time at the Dumbleyung Pool. Rachael Bairstow whom Chris had mentored, spoke next with both Rachael and Karen presenting Chris with her well-earned badge.
From Karen Ward’s speech:
Our first pool manager was Rob ver Boon, an ex-Olympian who did two seasons. When he left we asked Chris to apply for the job but of course it was given to a male applicant who pulled out (much to our delight) and Chris arrived with her two girls Chenoa and Natika for the 1986 season.
We knew what an excellent swimming teacher Chris was and together we set about forming one of the best swimming clubs in WA. In 1987/1988 our club registered with the WASA of WA. Chris was pedantic about stroke technique, which once conquered, produced the best competitive swimmers. Eventually we built up to 120 swim club members from the Tadpole group to advanced swimmers and started to compete all over the state. Chris instigated swimming teacher or Austswim courses at our pool. One year two courses were run.
Chris took on the role of Teacher in Charge of Vacation Swimming and In Term Swimming Classes. Many of us trained as swimming teachers under her. Myself, Beth Bartram, Jan Jefferis, Helen Gooding, Julie Bahr, Sandy Frost, Bev Dawson, Kerry Armstrong, Sheila Frost and Lyn White to mention a few.
With Chris as our Swimming Club Coach we had success all over WA in Country Pennants, Shell Championships and Interschool Competitions. Many of her pupils went on to become swimming teachers and Cassie Bracknell and Rachael Bairstow as pool managers.
We had swimmers placed in the top 8 country swimmers in the state while Chris was coaching. Namely Chenoa Quartermaine, Natasha Mott, Renae Williams, Kirsten Frost, Carrie Frost, Drew Bartram, Casey Molenda, Jon Ward, Scott Patterson, Natika Quartermaine and Rachael Bairstow.
Many towns with pools often tried to poach Chris and she did a stint at the Wagin Pool and Boddington but she always came back to Dumbleyung, a place that she loved and I know holds many happy memories for her. Off season Chris would work at Koolan Island as she hated being on the Shire roller and her children would stay behind to be looked after by swim club parents including Janice Molenda and Tamara Bartram.
She wore out more bathers in a season than anyone I know as she kept fit doing laps of the pool. One season she swam to Rottnest Island 6 times. Her pools were the most pristine in the state. She competed in long distance swims taking part in the Rottnest Swim; 2000m in the Esperance Harbour with daughter Natika and Jon Ward; Albany Harbour swim with Drew Bartram and Chris and Rachael Bairstow swam across Lake Dumbleyung. We think they may have been the first to complete the crossing.
All her swimmers could do tumble turns and 50m of Butterfly at probably 8 years of age. We had 8 and 9 year olds compete against 13 and 14 year olds and adults. Some came in a lap behind the winner but this didn’t faze them. It did earn Dumbleyung a point when we had so few older swimmers and also often a stand up ovation.
There have been a number of apologies from those with fond memories who were unfortunately not able to share this special day with Chris. Renae Edwards, David and Jenny Williams and Dot Smart sent their congratulations along with a message to Chris saying “No one was able to teach tumble turns like Chris”.
Here are a couple of amusing memories:
A family of five arriving on a Saturday morning for Sandy Frost’s class, and they all had chicken pox. No one wanted to miss their lesson.
At Bremer Bay, Chris would swim from John’s Cove to the other end of the beach while I sat on the beach sunbathing and watching a shark follow her. She was in her own world!
Chris was selected as a member of the WA State Lifesaving team to compete at the Institute of Sport in Canberra in 1988. She also coached her daughter Chenoa and Vanessa Trawinski who were members of the Junior State Lifesaving Development squad.
Speech on behalf of Rachel Bairstow:
What can I say! She made me who I am today and is one my best friends
Christine was my coach in the swimming club and she taught me how to swim. Although she was a very hard coach, it paid off, not just with me, but for everyone within her club!
Myself for example
- I won a total of 80 medals
- Broke many records
- Made it into the West Australian Country Swimming Squad
- Swam Across Dumbleyung Lake!
Christine was also my idol growing up, keeping the Dumbleyung Swimming Pool so absolutely perfect, and after all the time spent with Chrissy, this is the reason why I decided to become a pool manager myself. She trained me as well, and what can I say, I learned from the best!
I can still picture today how immaculately clean the pools and surrounds were, everything was so spot on and this must have rubbed off on me and everyone she had trained, as all of have followed in her footsteps.
To wrap it up, so not go on for ever and ever on how great you our Chrissy is, I just want to say we love our swim teacher, coach, role model and ex. pool manager and I want to say thank you so so much for giving us all so much! It is my great pleasure to give you a Life Membership from all of us today.
Love You Chrissy
Article by Beth Bartram, Karen Ward and Rachael Bairstow