The Busselton Swimming Club are outgrowing their facilities and hope to have an Olympic sized pool for training and the ability to host sanctioned events.
Last week, club members were left disappointed after the state government announced the Shire of Collie would receive funding for an indoor pool.
The club have been hopeful for an international standard 50-metre pool in Busselton to provide an adequate training centre for its members who already compete at a national level.
As it stands, club members currently travel to Bunbury at 4.30am to train in an Olympic sized pool for long course events.
Busselton Swimming Club coach Brooke Kemp said it would be a fantastic opportunity for the community to have a competitive 50-metre pool with diving blocks.
“We work with what we have - and we are grateful for that - unfortunately now we have reached a point where we need better facilities to help these national junior champions,” she said.
“While it has been challenging for the club, we do not let the lack of facilities stop us from competing and we travel to other places to train.
“We have done great so far but we do need more to take these children further, we have reached our maximum capacity and we cannot go any further now.”
Sport and Recreation Minister Mick Murray said Collie people traveled at least 45 minutes by car to get to the ocean and for people in Vasse, the beach was right on their doorstep.
Mr Murray said his commitment for a new indoor pool in Collie ran in line with the Shire of Collie’s master plan for the future of the swimming pool site, which included provisions for a new indoor swimming pool.
“I think it is reasonable to provide children in Collie and those living further inland a place to swim, especially considering the very chilly winters that Collie experiences compared to the coast,” he said.
Shire of Collie chief executive officer David Blurton said the council recognised the potential need for a future indoor facility and adopted a master plan for the Collie swimming pool site.
Mr Blurton said the shire had not undertaken any detailed design or business case assessment at this stage and was unsure how much it would cost to build or maintain.
“It is premature to speculate whether council could or could not afford this facility until this assessment was completed,” he said.
“We are always happy to receive financial support from the state government, however the council needs to undertake some due diligence in the first instance.”
Vasse MP Libby Mettam said the City of Busselton was the only place outside of the Perth metro area that had two swimming clubs and could not offer long course swimming events that complied with Swimming WA’s guidelines because it did not have a 50-metre pool.
Ms Mettam said swimming club members shared two 25 metre pools along with casual swimmers and classes at the Geographe Leisure Centre, and traveled to Bunbury or Perth to compete in sanctioned events.
“This not only disadvantages many young swimmers in the South West who should have the same opportunity to train and compete in their own community as swimmers in Perth do, but also places unnecessary financial strains on their families,” she said.
“A 50 metre pool would relieve congestion and free up lanes for non-competitive swimmers, provide a home base for clubs to fundraise for a dedicated club room, and allow for the provision of a dedicated access ramp along the edge and into the pool for disabled swimmers.”
Ms Mettam said she wrote to the Mr Murray about this need in the community, and his response on radio was that Busselton already has 50 kilometers of ocean.
“For a community which prides itself on being the events capital of WA, and home to rising swimming stars, who will be competing at the World Junior Swimming Championships in Indianapolis, this flippant remark is totally unacceptable, especially coming from a Minister of the Crown,” she said.
“Perhaps the Minister should look at his leader’s backyard, Rockingham, which not only has 50 metres of ocean, but will soon have a new high performance training centre for swimming in WA.
“The McGowan Government should give this project their full consideration, not only to support the Busselton community, but WA’s future swimming stars as well.”