University students are not typically known to be early risers. However, for a group of 20 dedicated swimmers from La Trobe, their hard work is done by 8:30am - an hour that eludes most young adults.
Following the black line up and down the La Trobe University Sports Centre pool, the squad covers around 3km before tucking into their monthly Tuesday breakfast.
"The La Trobe University Swimming Club is such a great team to be a part of because we cater for swimmers of both competitive and fitness natures," says club captain Dylan Piubello.
"It is a great way to meet new people from around La Trobe and become involved in the swimming community. This is supported through our social events that allow swimmers to have a laugh and chat, while meeting new people."
The club has expanded over the past few years, with an increasing number of swimmers continuing to jump on board. The dedication of the club committee has played a vital role in raising awareness of the team and is now starting to reap the benefits of their hard work.
"Before our previous club president, Jacinta, the club was quiet small and couldn't even enter relay teams due to a lack of swimmers. Now the club has grown to become one of the larger participating teams at the university games."
"We now also have a massive online presence through Instagram, Snapchat and Facebook that allows swimmers to be constantly informed about up and coming events and information around the club."
With a diverse range of members, the team is made up of residential and day students, Alumni and last year welcomed the new addition of a Hong Kong National swim team member.
Having moved to Melbourne from Hong Kong in 2014, Thomas Kwong is currently studying a Bachelor of Arts (Crime/Legal Studies) and Bachelor of Health Sciences (Rehabilitation Counselling). The talented swimmer first made the Hong Kong National Team in 2010, after coaches identified his sporting potential.
"I have been swimming since pre-school and started to swim competitively at the start of middle school. I first got nominated for the national team by my coach and then did a few training sessions with the squad. We trained from 5-7 in the morning, and 4-7 in the afternoon, with around 10 sessions a week."
Although Thomas admits that his rigorous schedule has taken a back seat to his academic commitments, he says that the La Trobe Swimming Club has, and will continue, to be an important part of his time here in Melbourne.
"I haven't been training as intensely since I've arrived in Melbourne. At this time of my life, I would prefer to focus on University than on swimming, however, the club has been a good way for me to keep fit and involved in the sport," says Thomas.
"I'm still currently a supported athlete, but my funding will end soon as I will end my professional swimming soon. But I will keep on some fitness training because it's hard to give up on swimming after all these years of hard work, so the La Trobe Swimming Club will really help me with that transition."
Under the watchful eye of the team coach, Andy, the squad trains 3 times a week, with their main focus set on the Australian University Games, which are to be held on the Gold Coast in late September.
"When approached if I would be interested to take on the coaching position for the La Trobe University Swimming Club, I was very excited to once again be part of a fantastic sporting community," says Andy.
"You do not need to be a competitive swimmer to join the club as we take both competitive swimmers and social swimmers," says Dylan.
For more information on training sessions or instructions on how to join the team, please email Dylan at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Simone McInnes, Clubs & Recreation, La Trobe Uni sport