President’s Report – Winter 2014
It seems like the club has been up and running for years now, but looking back to day one in March this year, it’s only been just over four months since the ‘Go’ pedal was hit hard.
This is the President’s club winter report about the last little while, what’s happening now and the juicy stuff lurking ready to burst out.
The First Four Months
So where is it that the underwater brethren have come from?
The critical moment emerged when club membership numbers outweighed the number of committee members. No longer a group of bureaucrats, we now had Melbourne Freedivers!
We can attest to a membership base that boasts Italian, Swiss, Brazilian, Thai, Kiwi and many more cultural identities. Oh, and a couple of token Australians…
1. Stats n Stuff
Four months after launch we’re on track to realise the target number of club members this year, with membership currently tracking at 60% of target. Not that we can’t aim to break that of course.
We have two freediving groups across Melbourne and Geelong and members spread from the Western Port/Mornington Peninsula region to the Bellarine Peninsula. Great news if you’re looking for a buddy in Victoria!
We’ve attracted freediving fanatics, underwater photographers, spear fishermen, marine lovers, men and women across all levels of experience, new and those well seasoned.
Facebook: Grown from 85 followers in Dec 2013 to 210+ in July 2014 (almost a 250% increase)
Instagram: Launched in March, now with 130+ followers. Help us grow more!! Win movie tickets too…
Twitter: Does anyone use Twitter?
Webpage: Steady growth with a diverse international audience.
2. Notable Achievements
- Formation and endorsement of the original launch committee (Brett, Luna, Sergey, Scott, Ant) and expansion to include our regional officers (Luke and Gerard)
- Creation of the Geelong Freedivers branch including pool training on Thursday nights
- Aquatic Venue Access – Secured access to pool venues for weekly freediving training, a significant achievement in Australia
- Formally affiliated with the Australian Freediving Association to become a recognised club by the national freediving body
- Joined forces with Neuralign to provide specialised breathing and training workshops to members
- Developed a club graphical identity and image
- Launched web and social media outlets with regular updates
- Deployed a cashless on-line bookings and payments system for all club activities and events
- Launched and maintain a web presence at melbournefreedivers.com with international reach
- Changed the Club Facebook page from Closed to Open and avoided all spammers flogging sunglasses and sneakers
The Club is founded on strong safety principles. We have:
- Run a Safety Induction session each month for new members (1.5hrs per attendee)
- Appointed a Safety Induction Officer in each training location
- Held around 300-400 man hours of pool training without incident
- Implemented multiple levels of risk-mitigation to prevent known risks such as Samba (LMC) or Black Out
4. Fun and Fashion
The fashionistas have been hard at work and designed the first club tee-shirt which is currently in production!
Big shout out to Julia Borsos and Luna Lita for their contribution to what is actually quite a demanding project.
Big Blue Movie Competition
This month we launched the Big Blue Movie Competition, where you have the chance to win a double pass to the Big Blue movie showing at The Astor Theatre on 8th September. One night only!
The club operates as a Not for Profit sports association and is focused on providing value for members as well as a financially sustainable entity. The club is in a solvent position and is on target to continue operations under diligent financial management.
The club earns revenue from membership fees and pool training fees which is used to pay for access to venues for safety induction sessions and weekly training plus cover running costs such as IT infrastructure.
The Committee is purely a volunteer group and does not receive any payments for service.
6. Future Plans:
We’re only in the very early stages of development as a Freediving Club in Victoria, but it is with a longer term vision that the club grows.
For the second half of this year we’re looking to:
- Activate regular social nights for members and friends to catch up sans-neoprene
- Continue to develop fashionable club clothing products
- Release a calendar for planned social dives during the summer season
- Attract more members across all disciplines of freediving
- Share more information about how to get involved in freediving in Victoria and Australia
- Produce a selection of media and promo clips to display on the web and social media, including people profiles from around the club
- Prepare for nominations and voting for 2015 MFC Committee Leadership
- Unleash membership details for 2015
- Apply for State Government level recognition of the sporting club (potentially 2015)
Looking more broadly, Australia has an amazing capacity for developing world standard athletes on the international stage. We’re lucky to have as our Club Patron, Ant Williams, once ranked top #3 in the world for breath hold swimming, that’s some quality experience that we’ve got supporting us.
Affiliation with the AFA provides us with capacity for members to explore their freediving talents on the competition stage.
Partnering with Neuralign helps Freedivers new to the sport discover dry-land physical training development all year round in a safe environment.
And should you be looking for the aid of a local freediving instructor, well we’ve got those at the ready too.
It’s early days for the Melbourne Freedivers Club and we’re excited to know that there’s a strong community of Freedivers keen to find and link up with buddies that practice this fantastic and wonderful discipline. We hope you enjoy being a part of the club community!
That’s the wrap for this edition of the presidential type prose.
See you in the water! Til next…
Club President, Apnea Australia Freediving Instructor and VIC AFA Representative.