Massey Amateur Swimming Club (MASC) has been making a splash in the local community since 1984. The not-for-profit club is run entirely by volunteers, parents and caregivers. And its mission is to improve the swimming skills of local children and youngsters aged 5 to 17.
According to club administrator Kerryn Rothery, MASC develops a sense of belonging and community as everyone helps by coaching, being a timekeeper, or organising the swim cards. ‘The club helps build the children’s physical and mental wellbeing by improving their swimming skills and abilities,’ she says. Best of all, the children have lots of fun. ‘They always come out of the pool smiling,’ Kerryn reports.
New Zealand has a very high drowning rate, and clubs like MASC make a massive difference by promoting water safety and improving young people’s swimming abilities.
The season runs from October to April, and club nights are held on Wednesdays at Massey High School. Parents jump in to help coach the kids in two sessions – one for juniors and one for seniors. The tamariki then practise their skills with lane swimming and timed pool laps. Improving their personal time gives each participant a goal to work towards. Club championships and a prizegiving ceremony celebrate the end of the season.
‘Over the term, we see a vast improvement in the children's swimming abilities. Their lap times get better, and they often move up levels,’ reports Kerryn. She advises that older kids regularly give back to the club as coaches and helpers for younger members.
Private swim lessons are out of reach for many local families. And MASC is a community alternative to commercial swim schools. ‘We keep our subscription prices to a minimum to allow low-income families opportunities to have swimming sessions for their children,’ explains Kerryn.
Pool hire is a considerable cost to the club. However, thanks to the Your West Support Fund, this significant expense has been taken care of for this season. An application to the latest round resulted in $6,240 of funding.
‘It’s a privilege to have the Your West Support Fund cover the full pool hire costs,’ declares Kerryn. The club now has more resources for other essentials like training equipment, timers, first aid gear, swim caps, prizegiving medals and trophies.
MASC is busy getting ready for the new season, which starts in October. Kerryn says the club welcomes new members of all abilities. So why not dive into the club’s website or check out the Facebook page for all you need to know.