By Jessica Anstice
After training at the same time every week for the past 10 years, Casey Cardinia Triathlon Squad (CCTS) have been asked to train later in the evenings and members are not happy.
Casey Arc management will be re-allocating the squad’s time slot to 8pm to 9.30pm, instead of 6.30pm to 8pm every Tuesday and Thursday.
The non-for-profit, volunteer run squad provides two times weekly coached sessions for swimming at Casey ARC for both children and adults. They also have sessions for cycling and running.
“Our members pay entry to the facility just like the general public or many are actual Casey ARC members,” CCTS secretary Helen Brennan said.
“We cannot understand their methodology as CCTS have been swimming at these times consistently all year round for more than 10 years.
“Yet we are being made to change our coached sessions to make way for the members of the public who may or may not turn up. It just doesn’t make sense on any level or from a business point of view.”
A triathlon is a multi-sport race that combines swimming, cycling, and running in one event and can be completed as an individual event, or a team event.
The squad services the Casey and Cardinia areas.
A large majority of the members live in the Berwick, Beaconsfield and Narre Warren areas.
“CCTS is the biggest growing triathlon club in Victoria for the past two years,” Ms Brennan added. “Memberships have grown by more than 38 percent in the past year to 67 active members.
“These numbers will only increase as the squad becomes even more visible in the local and surrounding communities.”
The squad has junior members as young as eight.
“It is not conducive with child safe practices to have children commencing their training at 8pm until 9.30pm at night on a regular basis,” she said.
“CCTS are a family friendly squad and have a number of families who train and attend the facility together.
“We have mothers and fathers who train and compete in the sport together with their children.”
Ms Brennan said the club is “extremely disappointed” and “frustrated” to learn that the YMCA’s alleged strategy and reason for this change is to increase lane availability for the general public.
“Our squad train consistently throughout the entire year, unlike seasonal sports such as football and cricket, yet we are being asked to change to make lanes available for these seasonal sporting groups,” she said.
“We have a number of parents and families who also utilise the facility while their children are training, whether it be having a coffee or snack from the café, attending the gym or recreational swimming.
“Observations have been made for the past few weeks of lane availability during our session times. There has been plenty of lane availability which has not been utilised by the general public.”
Casey Arc management recognised the squad’s concerns by saying the demands on the lap lanes have never been greater.
“We are trying to balance the needs of the entire community, as well as the needs of the CCTS,” area manager One Casey Barry Harrison said.
“Our aquatics membership grew by about 20 percent in the last year. That means more people than ever are wanting to swim for their health and fitness.
“At the same time, our swimming lessons program has also grown and is looking for more space to teach local children about water safety and to develop their swimming skills.”
According to Mr Harrison, every afternoon and evening, more than 850 people swim at Casey Arc.
“For 15 years, the CCTS has had free lane access of two lanes twice a week, which has often expanded to three lanes at the expense of other patrons using the pool,” Mr Harrison said.
“Since early February, we have been reaching out to the club president to discuss the need to review when the club runs its training.
“We want everyone to enjoy the facilities at Casey ARC, so our solution was to offer the club continued free lane access at a time when there wasn’t such demand from the rest of the community.”
To compensate the club for the later training time, Casey Arc have increased the number of free lanes allocated to the club from two to four.
The facility has also offered the squad a poolside lane on Tuesday evening to train their junior members from 7pm to 8.30pm.
“We understand the CCTS is a family club with a growing membership and we are genuinely sorry this is upsetting their members,” he said.
“We are doing what we can to support community sport and we want to keep working with the president and the club to come to an arrangement that will meet the competing needs of the club and the rest of the community.”