Swimmers return more than 40 years later to reminisce

Former members of the Cobar Swimming Club (which included swimmers, their parents and committee members) from the late 1960s, 1970s and early 1980s gathered for a reunion at the Cobar Bowling & Golf Club earlier this month. Swimmers travelled from Sydney, Brisbane, Bathurst, Forster and other areas to join with locals to reminisce about “the good old days”. Photo contributed

Former members of the Cobar Swimming Club from the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s met up again at a reunion earlier this month to relive what some have called “the best time of their lives”.

Former club members, local Belinda McMillan and Janette Lloyd (nee Bunyan), a former resident who left Cobar in 1986 and now lives and works in Brisbane and Sydney, worked together to coordinate the reunion at the Cobar Bowling & Golf Club on January 13.

Janette said 2018 wasn’t chosen because it had been a significant anniversary for the club but it was just something she and Belinda had decided to do.

“It was just more of a good excuse to see some of the people we used to spend so much of our lives with.

“It’s brought back a lot of memories for us older people; that was our life back in the days,” Janette said.

“They were the best times of my life.”

Janette said she and her older sister Dianne joined the club “because it was hot”.

“I was eight and swam in the old bikinis,” she said.

“Back in the 70s with mum and dad, the Howells and the Potters and others, there was a really good group who put in a lot of work into the club to make it the way it was.

“They got the clubhouse building at the pool and we had some big carnivals, nearly every weekend.”

Janette and her sister excelled at the sport (like many others in the Cobar club) with Janette making it to Western Districts and then State level at age 10.

“I didn’t really understand the significance of it. It didn’t really register to me that I was going to State, I was just going for a swim,” she said.

“I finished third in the state at Country Championships in Freestyle.

“The two swimmers in front of me tied for first place and I was only 0.10 seconds behind them.”

At the beginning of this swimming season, the Cobar Swimming Club struggled to attract swimmers and a committee however Janette said that definitely wasn’t the case back in the 1970s.

“We always had plenty of swimmers and plenty of helpers. Everyone got in and helped out. Well that’s what I can remember, but I was a kid then.

“We always had a bus for carnivals and if we didn’t have a bus we’d have 30 or 40 cars go to Dubbo,” Janette said.

Among those who returned to Cobar for the reunion were Julie, Jason and Steve Howell from Sydney, Michael Kosef from Bathurst, and Gary Martin from Foster.

Members shared photos, newspaper clippings and plenty of stories from the “good old days”.