In August 1986, six enthusiasts discuss the possibility of forming another Masters Swimming Club on the Gold Coast.
The first meeting was held on October 18th and among the 23 people present were the president of Queensland Masters Swimming, the secretary of Masters Association, triathletes, runners club representatives, pool lessees and members of the media.
Peter Raeburn was elected chair, and he spoke about the philosophy of AUSSI Masters which espouses Fun, Fitness and Friendship. It was agreed that the club would seek members from all age groups from 20 years, and with all levels of ability. For those with competitive leanings, the long term goal would be to compete in the World Masters titles in Brisbane in October, 1988. A committee was elected, and Sheila Anderson became our first president and Ted Wall our Captain.
Today’s members are grateful for the efforts of our founders as well as many others who played important roles in the early development of Miami Masters.
The Club grew steadily over the next few years. We achieved success in competitions, and established (and then broke) many new records as Miami Masters began to make its name as a winning club. By early 1988 there had been a huge influx of new members, and by October, membership had reached 120 making it the largest masters club in Queensland - a position we still hold today. (I am not sure if this is true)
Following our club’s success at the Brisbane World Masters championships, the next goal was to compete in Brazil in 1990. The entire club got involved in the most innovative fundraising ventures - tree planting; marshalling at the Triathlon and the Gold Coast Marathon (an activity we still support); athlete “catchers” at the Triathlon; and painting numbers on athlete's thighs for donations. We also held a monster fete and an apres ski party with its “off piste” bar. We were successful in sending a team to Rio, but, curiously, there is almost no further mention of this in newsletters or minutes after the event. Perhaps, what happens in Rio, stays in Rio!
Through the 90's, Miami's calendar was full with swim training and competition; long distance events; open water swims; triathlons; marathons; aquathons; bushwalks; dragon boat racing; and of course, the popular social events. Aside from the teams sent to local, state and national swims, the club was also represented at other world masters swims, starting with Brisbane (1994) where 42 competed, and later Montreal; then Hawaii (1995); Sheffield, (1996); U.S.A.(1998); and also Casablanca in the same year.
Closer to home were those “not to be missed” annual events. Prominent among these was the trip to Tamworth each June for a weekend of competition and fun, and a winter circuit training weekend at Stanthorp.
The 90's also saw Miami commence its charitable deeds - helping Gold Coast Sport and Recreation to stage a swim meet for the disabled each year - which we still do - and raising money for worthwhile charities via a 24 hour swim marathon. We are proud that in June 2007, this event raised almost $18,000 for the Cancer Council. Miami has also participated several times in the relay for life - walking to raise money for cancer research.
So, as we move on from the naughty nineties to the noughties, Miami swimmers have continued to compete at world level - Munich 2000, Christchurch and Melbourne 2002, Edmonton 2005, U.S.A.2006, Perth 2008, Sweden 2010, Italy 2012, Canada 2014, Russia 2015 - as well as ASPAC and PANPACS. For lovers of Open Water Swimming there have been trips to Greece, Croatia, Vanuatu, Solomon Islands, Montenegro and Fiji.
The club's membership now numbers around 100 with men and women in almost equal numbers. Our average age is 60 and we are happy to be attracting so many younger members.
Miami continues to be a Club whose membership largely comprises those who just swim for fitness, some who are cross training for other sports and around 20% who compete, either occasionally or often. This last group increases at the swim meet we host each year, and at state swims and state open water swims. Our competitive swimmers hold a World record, several listings in the World Top Ten, and an amazing number of National and State records.
We still enjoy a good party, though with a little less exuberance than our predecessors, and our social activities are many and varied. We also enjoy away weekends – the Sunshine Coast is a must - and Yamba, which has replaced Tamworth.
The spirit of warm camaraderie which began in 1986 is still alive and well; firm friendships have been forged; we have experienced sad times as well as happy ones and always there has been a collective shoulder to cry on or a genuine sharing.
We would like to think that our pride in this club and our joy at being a part of it will endure long into the future.