Greg Poetschka’s love of coaching and seeing kids improve has kept him in the swimming game long after the reason he first starting coaching at Kootingal packed away her swimming cap. The long-time mentor has been one of the driving forces behind Kootingal-Moonbi developing into one of the strongest swimming clubs in the area. Now boasting over 80 swimmers, when Poetschka first started coaching they only had 20 or 30 members. That was almost two decades ago.
Greg Poetschka’s interest in swimming was first sparked when injury curtailed his soccer career.
From there his passion for coaching and watching kids improve has blossomed into countless summers wandering the pool deck.
The long-time Kootingal-Moonbi Swimming Club mentor was recently recognised for his dedication as the April recipient of the Sportsman’s Warehouse Community Sports Award.
“Originally I was a soccer player and cricket player,” Poetschka recalled of his early sporting days.
“I played in the days of Tamworth City (soccer), when they played in the state league.”
He also did a bit of athletics.
But when his knee was smashed playing soccer and he had to give the sport away he started swimming.
He started out with the Tamworth Masters, before taking on a job as a swimming teacher at the Sporties (old Workies Club).
Having coached Tamworth City’s women’s sides (soccer), coaching seemed a natural progression.
From there he went to Tamworth City for “four or five years”.
After giving it away for a couple of years, when daughter Emma decided she wanted to swim, Poetschka got the stopwatch out again.
”Kootingal Moonbi in those days were after a coach and I’d knocked them back for a year or two,” he said.
“When she decided she wanted to swim I thought I’d give it a go.”
Eighteen years later he hasn’t left.
A bronze qualified coach and life member of Kootingal Moonbi Swimming Club, Poetschcka has helped transform the club into one of the most-respected in the area.
The club currently boasts over 80 swimmers, many of whom have achieved great results locally and statewide.
When Poetschka first started they only had about 20 or 30.
One of the most pleasing parts of their growth is the number of swimmers the club is attracting from the surrounding areas. Kootingal in fact probably makes up the smallest proportion of kids, Poetschka said.
“We’re really strong at the moment with the 6-10-year olds. They’re probably 70 per cent of the club,” he said.
Poetschka also assists with the Central North Swimming Development squads over the winter months.
He has also been involved with the Tamworth Triathlon Club for 15 years and has held a number of positions including secretary, and as well as assisting in conducting local races also provides swimming sessions for adults as part of the club activities to assist them to improve their performances.
As secretary he has been heavily involved in the running of the Tamworth Running Festival (formerly Tamworth Ten) for the past 10 years.