Fantastic response to city swim meet
SWIMMING: When former international swimmer Justin Lemberg and his Justsportsnfitness team decided to host an Ipswich meeting this month, their main focus was to offer a quality event in our city.
With so much travel involved for families with children contesting regular Brisbane Swimming meets, it was a terrific idea.
However, having more than 380 swimmers register for Saturday's Woogaroo Carnival even surprised the 1984 Los Angeles 400m freestyle bronze medallist.
"We had hoped in our wildest dreams that we'd get 250 and we've got 389,'' Lemberg said.
"We'll get there because we tend to run pretty good meets but it's just good to see that really good support.
"I'm absolutely delighted.''
Saturday's carnival at the Bundamba Aquatic Centre pool caters for regional swimmers of all ages.
The morning session starts at 9am with the afternoon program for older swimmers from noon.
Lemberg said swimmers were represented from a number of clubs in the western corridor, from Jindalee and into Ipswich.
Nearly 100 competitors from Woogaroo are involved, highlighting how much other interest has been generated.
"We've got a wide range of events as well,'' he said.
"We've got 400m freestyle; we finish the day with the 1500m freestyle.''
Apart from providing excellent competition, the Woogaroo Carnival in the 50m Bundamba pool has added importance.
"It's one of the last qualifying events where kids get to qualify for state titles in a couple of weeks time,'' Lemberg said.
"So it's pretty important that we have all that range of events.''
However, being keen to promote regional swimming, Lemberg said most satisfaction would come from seeing young competitors improve.
"I always say to the kids if you've been coming eighth (in previous meets), come seventh; if you're coming fifth, come fourth; if you're coming second, come first,'' he said.
"Provided you give me your best effort, I don't care where you come.''
Whoever swims the first, second and third fastest times in Saturday's heats are awarded medals.
Lemberg oversees the Justsportsnfitness company that runs all the council-owned pools in the area under a 10-year Ipswich City Council lease.
That's why the 1984 Olympian hopes Saturday's carnival is the first of many in future years.
"We'll do this one each year because we should raise a little bit of money from it as well,'' Lemberg said.
"Then I think we'll do just a more localised one over winter that's just Ipswich people.''
He hoped smaller clubs like Vikings, Railways, Rosewood and Carole Park could join bigger clubs like Woogaroo, Western Aquatics and Waterworx at such an "Ipswich championships'' style carnival.
For Saturday, he wanted to reinforce the family focus with the Bundamba Aquatic Centre having a little pool for kids to play in and music planned.
"We're trying to turn it into a bit of an event,'' he said.
Saturday's Woogaroo Carnival at Bundamba has attracted more than 380 swimmers.
Morning session (from 9am after 8am warm-up): 50m and 100m events for swimmers aged 8-11.
Afternoon session (from noon): Events for swimmers from 12 years and over to open.
With parking limited around the Bundamba Aquatic Centre, the Ipswich Turf Club has offered parking spaces across the road. Entrance to the turf club will be via Wickham St, Bundamba, from 8.30am.