Bay swimmers are masters of the pool
PAULA Hewett, Jennifer Oliver, Linda Hodkinson and Paula Taylor were lucky not to be charged for excess baggage with all the medals they brought home from the Great Barrier Reef Master's Games last month.
Held in Tobruk Pool in Cairns, the Hervey Bay Masters Swimming Club members represented the Fraser Coast well, bringing home a total of 23 medals, not including medals won in the relay events.
The two relay teams also finished well, winning one gold, one silver and two bronze in the freestyle and medley events and both teams broke the standing games record.
"Since there were only four girls from Hervey Bay we needed to find some men to enter the mixed relay events," said a proud Linda.
"Paula Taylor and I picked up a couple of fast young guns while Paula Hewett and Jenny Oliver had to make do with a couple of older experienced swimmers," she said.
While many records were broken at the event including Linda Hodkinson's amazing feat of setting six games records, Jennifer Oliver was also proud that her 50m butterfly record, set in 2013, remained unbroken.
"I guess that proves you have to be mad to swim butterfly," Jennifer laughed.
As well as winning three gold and three bronze, youngest member of the group Paula Taylor achieved a long standing goal at the Masters Games, even after recently recovering from a knee reconstruction.
"I have a long term rivalry with a swimmer in my age group and at this meet I finally beat her ... twice," Paula said.
"It was an even better feeling than winning my six medals.
"The medals are a bonus but I was mostly pleased with achieving personal bests in a large percentage of my events ... it is not an easy thing to do at our age."
Jenny Oliver, who recently returned from the World Masters Games held in Auckland, New Zealand, also added a silver and four bronze medals to her collection.
The Great Barrier Reef Masters Games attracted more than 1500 athletes from the Far North, across Australia and further afield spanning a huge range of sports events.