Sandra Madeley is a member of Wonthaggi Life Saving Club, where she is the Junior Activities Coordinator. Sandra is actively involved in competition officiating and was recently named the ‘Official of the Meet’ at the Australian Pool Lifesaving Championships in Sydney. Here is Sandra’s lifesaving story:
Official for Pool and R & R Competitions, Club Committee, M & LD Junior Activities Coordinator
Wonthaggi Life Saving Club
How long have you been involved in lifesaving?
I joined my first club in 2009.
What made you become involved in lifesaving?
My children were involved in the Nippers program and my mother-in-law was the president of that club, I often say I married into it but now it forms a major part of my life. I have achieved my First Aid Award, Age Managers, Age Managers Presenter, Officials and Coaches (R & R) awards as I have progressed through the years.
What are some of your responsibilities at your club?
I am currently the junior activities coordinator at Wonthaggi. This is my second year there doing this role. I was asked by the club president if I would like to help them reinvigorate their program. I am also involved around the club helping with fundraising activities and working in the kiosk when required.
What do you most enjoy about lifesaving?
I love seeing Nippers grow into water safe ambassadors. Their knowledge of surf education will help them and others in the future. It is rewarding when parents come up to you and let you know that they have also learnt so much during the program on areas of safety that they previously did not know. Getting to know people from all the different clubs is great fun when you catch up on the beach over the summer competition season and at the pool over winter season. Lifesaving is a great way to meet people and being able to help each other with whatever knowledge we have. I especially enjoy seeing the competitors, showing good sportsmanship, honour and respect. There is no better feeling than having witnessed someone sharing their equipment, skills and knowledge with someone who does not have the experience. The friendships they form with each other from club to club, state to state and country to country is such a joy to witness.
How do you encourage others to get involved with lifesaving and volunteering?
I normally ask them to just help out on the beach and then get them to do awards, either age manager or officiating. If you have to be there you might as well have an award to show for it. You just ease them into it and before they have time to say no, you have them already doing the paperwork.
What is your greatest achievement in lifesaving so far?
I was awarded the ‘Official of the Meet’ trophy at the Australian Pool Lifesaving Championships in January. It was such a surprise to have been awarded this after receiving a Certificate of Thanks from Royal Life Saving Society Australia earlier in the night. I was also pleased to have been chosen as an official at the World Life Saving Championships last year for the Pool. Meeting all the overseas competitors and officials was such an amazing experience.
When you’re not lifesaving, what keeps you busy?
I often laugh when people ask if I have enjoyed my break in the ‘off’ season. When you are involved in summer with R & R on the beach and then winter at the Pool, you don’t have an ‘off’ season. I enjoy keeping busy. My involvement with the Membership and Leadership Development Executive is also a year-round commitment and this all fits well with only working part time as an administration assistant.
What was the best advice you were ever given and who gave it to you?
The late Geoff Waters OAM was an inspiration to me, he would always do whatever he could to ensure the kids got to where they needed to be and would consistently go out of his way to ensure they got to training. He showed me that what we all do is to make the kids the best possible people they can be.