Monday, 14 July 2014

Jasi Wins the Club Shield 2013 and Ken Speaks About the Effect of the 2010 and 2011 Earthquakes...

The Christchurch EQs of 2010 and 2011 had and continue to have a profound effect on swimming in Christchurch. Everyone knows that QE2 pool was ‘destroyed’, as was the central city Centennial Pool complex. Equally Kaiapoi, home of North Canterbury Masters was severely damaged. This left partially functioning Jellie Park (home of our Jasi Masters club), Wharenui (sort of), Rangiora and Pioneer. In the aftermath of the September 2010 EQ we swam at Rangiora, we swam in the freezing cold St Bedes College pool – we swam wherever we could and continued to socialise and act as a club, and as the tight team we have been for years. We supported our members – we supported each other, and we survived. Then along came February 2011, 185 deaths – everyone knew of someone, and we continued to swim – we had to. But swimming became more and more difficult and we were largely confined to the 50m outdoor pool, for many months, right into the heart of the winter. None of us will forget turning up to swim on frosty nights, ground freezing, but ready to swim, to socialise and to support each other. And we found new friends – people from QE2 (now ‘thriving’ again with 20 active Masters members but in a different pool), and from elsewhere. And we started, albeit slowly, to participate in events outside of the City, notably a reasonably large contingent at the nationals in Wellington in 2012 – it seems odd but it is hard to leave home when you never know whether it will be hit again and your loved ones are still there! Slowly though things have improved – there is a brand new pool at Rolleston, Jellie Park has been repaired (but now it has further repairs to be done) and there are plans for a 50m international class pool in the centre of the city (but when oh when will they start on it?). Ultimately we reached the point where last year, and with the support of many from outside of Christchurch including from the North Island, we were able to hold the South Island Masters Short Course Championships, and of course win the NZ Masters Top Club Trophy for 2013 – what an honour, but perhaps more importantly what a measure of resilience from a city in pain, where swimming and friendship and support have all combined to help carry many of us through until today, where we are looking forward with some optimism to the future of the City and its swimming.
Club Captain Ken Hughey


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