THE 10th anniversary of the BHP Billiton and Challenge Disability Services Gunnedah Swimming Carnival was celebrated at the Gunnedah Pool on Thursday, March 7.
Almost 150 competitors with a disability raced against each other and the clock in events including freestyle, any style, backstroke, kick board, walk the pool and egg-and-spoon races.
Many competitors travelled from centres including Dubbo, Bathurst, Mudgee, Muswellbrook and Newcastle to participate in the event.
BHP Billiton sponsored the event for the fifth year running, ensuring all swimmers and spectators could attend the event and compete for free.
More than 130 trophies and medals were awarded to winners from invited dignitaries, including member for Tamworth Kevin Anderson, Gunnedah Shire councillors Rebecca Ryan and Colleen Fuller and Challenge Disability Services board members Paul Gruber and Lesley Hood.
Challenge chief executive officer Barry Murphy said the talent of the swimmers again this year was evident.
“The calibre and talent of some of the competitors is amazing to watch,” Mr Murphy said.
“A person with a disability who may not be able to use their legs out of the pool can completely surprise you by swimming like a champion in the water.
“It is often a complete transformation.”
Mr Murphy said the swimming carnival was supported by the Gunnedah community, with many volunteers and local businesses giving up their time and services to help ensure the success of the event.
“We have received tremendous support from the Gunnedah community over the years and are very thankful to our Gunnedah staff and committee, who work hard to make this event the success it is,” he said.
“The 10-year celebrations are a credit to everyone involved and we look forward to many more carnivals.”