Huge turnout to cheer on swimmers
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.