Ivan first swam competitively in his late teens, which at that time was an age when most others were retiring from the sport. It was with the Renmark swimming club in SA which was quite strong but their coach had just resigned. Ivan therefore began coaching as he learned the art of competitive swimming. He became quite proficient as a country swimmer, winning the coveted 110yds State Country championship five years in succession and when the other distances were added, he held all freestyle titles and a few others for three years. He travelled to Adelaide a few times to attend coaching clinics by Harry Gallagher then at age 21 went to live in Adelaide and trained two seasons under Gallagher. At the “States”, he only managed a few bronze medals.
He became heavily involved with the administration of the State swimming association: Carnival Director, Referee, Pools advisory etc and was on the Executive for a number of years. The Association sent him to attend the first two National Coaching workshops at Narrabeen Lakes NSW, where Swimming Australia’s coaching accreditation system was born. It was here and by visiting the various coaches in action around Sydney that Ivan first got to know many of those in senior roles within Swimming Australia. Back in Adelaide, he then established the Coaching Advisory Committee and conducted a number of clinics around the State. He was club coach for Henley & Grange for two seasons then about four with Unley. In 1968 he “turned pro.” and was immediately ostracized by the amateur body. The professional coaching didn’t work out very well so a couple of seasons later he left the sport altogether except that he made a couple of appearances with the Old Time Swimmers League from 1973 onwards, but resisted the invitations to go on the organising committee.
1955 Renmark Swimming Club - Ivan extreme left, Pauline extreme right
1988 FINA World Masters, Brisbane
In 1979, he took his daughter Karen, to the Atlantis pool to give her a few pointers in preparation for a school carnival. There, he saw these “old people” training in a squad. They were the Atlantis AUSSI Masters Swimming Club. He said: “I wouldn’t mind doing that, as long as I don’t get involved”.
In 1980 he attended his first AUSSI National Swim in Adelaide where he met up with many swimmers he had known in the past. Through clandestine trickery by one of his very dear friends, he became involved in the formation of the SA Branch and in due course attended his first National Council Meeting in 1983. He then went on to attend thirty five consecutive Council/Board meetings. In the Branch, he has been President, Secretary, Treasurer, PRO and Meet Director. And he still coached at Club and Branch level from time to time.
He was elected National President of AUSSI in 1985 and participated in the first two World Masters Championships in Tokyo and Brisbane in that capacity. In 1989 he was appointed as AUSSI’s first National Executive Director, a position he held for almost twelve years. He proudly acknowledges the support of the teams he worked with.
His first involvement with FINA was as the Swimming Australian delegate for the Masters Congress and Facilities Congress in 1991 held in conjunction with the FINA World Championships in Perth. In 1997, Ivan was appointed to the FINA Masters Committee. At the World Swim in Casablanca in 1998, because of some inadequacies within the local organising committee, the FINA Committee took over and Ivan was appointed the referee in charge and at Munich two years later, a similar position but no “on deck” activity was required. At each FINA World Masters Championships, the FMC was part of the management committee for each event, so a lot of “hands on” was required.
2006 Masters Games at Alice Springs
Ivan was a member of the Swimming Australia Open Water committee in its formative years and was co-Meet Director for a Pan Pacific OWS trials (10 & 25Km) in Adelaide, the only national OWS to be held in that State. He was an Open Water official at the 1998 FINA World Championships in Perth and a subsequent Australian Championships.
Ivan also swam in twenty AUSSI National Swims and eleven World Masters Championships. He won numerous individual National Swim gold medals and an aggregate gold one time for his age group. He also held three National Records over time. Unlike Pauline, he failed to gain a podium finish at the Worlds, but gained many top ten medals at most of them. More recently, he was engaged as a “technical delegate” (at their cost) for the swimming at the World Masters Games in Melbourne in 2002 and again in 2009 in Sydney.
In 2002 in Christchurch, Ivan was awarded National Life membership of Masters Swimming in Australia. In 2010 at a banquet for the Gothenburg city fathers and other dignitaries, Ivan was presented the FINA Silver Pin award by the President of FINA, Dr Julio Maglione. The FINA Silver Pin Award can be awarded for a number of reasons, one being: “as a Member of a FINA Technical Committee who has given outstanding service on the Committee for a minimum of three (3) terms”. Ivan served four terms over a period of seventeen years. He was also a voting member of the International Swimming Hall of Fame for most of that time.
Ivan was awarded the Australian Sports Medal for services to Masters Swimming in Australia in 2000, then in 2001 the Centenary Medal for services to sport in South Australia.
For his outstanding service to Mandurah Masters Swimming, Ivan was made Honorary Life Member in 2019.
Ivan concludes by acknowledging that all none the above would have been achieved if it were not for the continued support of his wife Pauline, who also did a huge amount for ‘swimming’ in her own right and now swims much faster than her husband.
2010 Ivan receiving the FINA Silver Pin