Whakatane Swimming Club History

The Whakatane Swimming Club was established in 1945 when swimmers used to swim across the river to the other side. Later that year the high school pool on Goulstone Road was opened.

In November 1957 the 33 yard pool was built for the club, in what is now known as Short Street.

In the early 1970’s, Brian Coulter was one of New Zealand’s top backstroke swimmers. He won four gold medals at New Zealand Age Group Championships. Brian was nominated for the Moscow Olympic Games. (Brian’s grand daughter now swims at the club).

A strong group of swimmers from the club in 1975 were also competing in water polo and none was better then Yvonne Baart (now known as Yvonne Parker ). Yvonne captained the Bay of Plenty side and along with weather man / politician Brendon Horan, both represented New Zealand in that sport. Yvonne later became a volunteer coach at the club.

The 1980’s brought along the clubs most celebrated swimmer in the form of Toni Jeffs. In 1991 Toni was selected in the New Zealand team to Edmonton for the Pan Pacific Championships where she won Bronze in the 50metre free style. Toni competed at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics. She won Bronze in 1998 at the Commonwealth Games in Kuala Lumper and again won bronze at the 2002 Commonwealth Games in Manchester.

Other accomplished swimmers to come out of the club are New Zealand Surf team member Johanna O’Conner and Hemi Coates who won gold medals at New Zealand age groups.

December 8, 2001 brought the opening of a new swimming complex which included an indoor 25 metre pool.

In the 2000's, Rene Kapa won silver and 2 bronze medals and Aaryn Gandy, gold, silver and 3 bronze at National Age Group and Michelle Keighley with 4 gold and 5 silver medals at New Zealand Juniors.

A new generation of Whakatane Swimmers are emerging.

The club prides itself on being family orientated and with a strong competitive base.