Huge turnout to cheer on swim­mers

Matamata Chronicle - - Front Page - By KA­T­RINA LINTONBON

As Gay Finch glided through the water to com­plete the 100 me­tres re­quired to be part of the Ro­tary Global Swimarathon and world record at­tempt, there was pos­si­bly more water from spec­ta­tors’ eyes than out of the pool.

Mrs Finch, an ac­com­plished mas­ter swim­mer, had suf­fered a stroke about three weeks af­ter com­pet­ing in a mas­ters swim­ming cham­pi­onship and her com­mit­ment to Swimarathon was ac­knowl­edged by those around the pool.

Hun­dreds of peo­ple turned out at the Mata­mata Sports Cen­tre at 1am to swim or cheer on those par­tic­i­pat­ing in the swimarathon.

The event was launched by mem­bers of the Stan­ley fam­ily, well known for their for­mi­da­ble swim­ming abil­i­ties.

The idea of in­volv­ing the Mata­mata com­mu­nity was driven by for­mer mayor Don Stan­ley.

Mata­mata Ro­tary vice pres­i­dent and swimarathon or­gan­iser Graeme Guil­ford said it was mar­vel­lous to see so many peo­ple sup­port the cause, to rid the world of po­lio.

Mr Guil­ford chal­lenged him­self to take part af­ter spend­ing more than 60 years out of the water.

‘‘It was hard but I did it,’’ he said af­ter com­plet­ing his laps.

Ro­tary dis­trict gov­er­nor Raewyn Kirkham also took the plunge to show her sup­port.

Watch for next week’s Chron­i­cle for more about the event.

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