about the orcas

orcas history and committee structure

about the orcas

The Nunawading Orcas have had a constant membership of between 40-60 members since its inception, with an age range of between 20 to over 60. There are a wide range of standards in swimming. About twenty members train regularly, that is, one or more sessions per week. Training takes place at Aqualink Nunawading, Fraser Place, Nunawading.

Members come mainly from the eastern suburbs of Melbourne, from Warrandyte in the north to Mulgrave in the south, Box Hill in the west to Wantirna in the east.

The Club has an active social program with both informal and more formal events occurring regularly throughout the year and organised by the Committee.

Members actively participate in still water competitions, open water bay (Port Phillip Bay), sea swim meets, and triathlon events. However, the focus of the Club is very much on fun, fitness and friendship.

New members are welcome and further information can be obtained by contacting the Club Secretary or talking to the Coach pool side during training times.

An application form and details about fees are available under the Training section of this website.


Click here to download the Nunawading Orcas Constitution as a PDF.

orcas history

Early in August 1994 Aqualink Nunawading called for expressions of interest from people who were interested in forming an Aussi Masters club based at the Centre. The Centre believed that an Aussie Masters club was needed to cater for adults who would like more organised and structured swimming and who were interested in improving their skills and fitness.

There was a good response from the public to the idea of the formation of a club and in early September 1994 the inaugural meeting of the Club took place. This was followed shortly afterwards with the first training session under the supervision of Club’s new coach Brett Gartner, a former Nunawading Club national squad member.

The Club grew steadily from these beginnings and soon had over 50 members including a number who competed in District, State, National and International level still water competitions as well as in many open water competitions held in the summer season in Victorian waters and further afield.

Over the years the membership has stabilised and the numbers training regularly have been consistent. However, there have been fluctuations in the numbers competing depending on the interests of members at any given time.

orcas committee

Larry Murray

Larry Murray


As a child I lived close to the bay but I did not start swimming until I was in my late 40’s. Initially I was “all-out” swimming 25m free-style but with regular coaching my proficiency slowly improved in free-style and also in the other competitive strokes of backstroke, breast-stroke and butterfly. Although I was making great progress for someone for whom swimming came late in life I wanted to increase proficiency, speed and intensity of my workout.

Late in 2010 I went to watch the Orcas Masters Swimming group at Nunawading. It was everything I was looking for with high quality coaching, an emphasis on continued, timed improvement and a regular, challenging fitness routine. As an added bonus the Orcas are a great bunch of people who are fun to socialize with at their various, regular events.

I am delighted to be president of a club that accommodates personal objectives of fitness, technical stroke improvement, pool competition and open-water events at all ages and all levels within a friendly, encouraging environment.

Mark Williamson

Mark Williamson

Vice President

Since I started swimming again two years ago I am fitter, have lost 15kg, feel healthier and look better. At secondary school I participated in a large amount of sport including athletics, swimming and football. Since that time with a full time job, marriage and a family of two children I thought that I would never have time to keep fit. As a result of training with the Orcas I am as fit now as I was at age 30 and I find I have more time and energy to live life to the fullest with my family and friends. When I first started swimming at the club it was with the idea of just swimming for fitness but the friendliness of the men and women in the club is such that I would never miss one of their regular social events and I am a frequent competitor in pool-based and open-water swimming competitions.
Greg Palmer

Greg Palmer


I had been a regular lap swimmer at the Nunawading Pool and was interested in participating in an evening squad to improve my technique and fitness.

I joined Nunawading Orcas when it was formed in 1994 and found it ideally suited my needs. The coaching has been professional and well structured to maintain interest while improving technique in all strokes. The intensity and distance varied to maintain a good level of fitness. Social activities and friendships have made swimming in a group most enjoyable.

Rafal Nowacki

Rafal Nowacki


I have learned to swim when I was about 20 years old and decided to join the triathlon club at Melbourne Uni ( A Decision made on a couch while watching Wide World of Sports!). Being totally out of breath after two laps of 25m pool was not a good start. I knew I needed to improve my fitness and technique. Over many years with practice I have built on my efforts and accumulated a treasure trove of bad habits and incorrect swimming techniques.

This all changed when in 2013 I joined the Orcas. A swimming club with a fantastic, friendly environment catering for a diverse swimming abilities. I am finding my fitness and swimming times improving and with better technique I no longer experience a shoulder pain after a hard session which was something that always held me back in the past.

Brendan Powell

Brendan Powell


Brendan has been involved in competitive swimming since 2000 and has coached since 2006.
Since getting involved in the sport he has held positions as captain, committee member and coach of
the Boronia Swimming Club, represented Metro District East as a coach during one of their annual
interstate trips and is now coaching various squads and members of the Huntingtower Swim Club in
addition to his role as the Operations Co-ordinator at the Huntingtower Sports & Aquatic Centre.
Other roles held over the years include swim instruction, lifeguarding, pool operations, reception &
administration at almost every pool in the east metro area.
He has coached swimmers to reach the Australian National Age Championships, finals at Victorian
State Age Championships and medallists & record holders at the Victorian Metro All Juniors.
Many of his swimmers have gone on to swim instruction, coaching and surf lifesaving themselves.
His approach to coaching, with guidance from other coaches and resources within the sport is to
think logically and look critically at each aspect of a competitive event and design training drills and
sets to hone in on them. In this way many of the inefficiencies in a stroke, skill or race plan can be
reduced and improvements in each the fitness component can be achieved.
On pool deck he appreciates questions and feedback from swimmers and is animated, known to
frequently draw ever more elaborate stick figures on the whiteboard and always looking for the best
metaphor to help his swimmers visualise technique.

past coaches, committees and life members

Year President Vice President Treasurer Secretary
2019 Larry Murray Mark Williamson Greg Palmer Rafal Nowacki
2018 Larry Murray Mark Williamson Greg Palmer Rafal Nowacki
2017 Larry Murray Mark Williamson Greg Palmer Rafal Nowacki
2016 Larry Murray Pablo Pizzuto Greg Palmer Rafal Nowacki
2015 Emilio Badoer Pablo Pizzuto Greg Palmer Friedo Ligthart
2014 Emilio Badoer Pablo Pizzuto Greg Palmer Friedo Ligthart
2013 Emilio Badoer Pablo Pizzuto Greg Palmer Friedo Ligthart
2012 Mart Hagel Margaret Lowe Greg Palmer Friedo Ligthart
2011 Mart Hagel Annette Brunton Greg Palmer Friedo Ligthart
2010 Mart Hagel Annette Brunton Greg Palmer Peter Rush
2009 Mart Hagel Annette Brunton Greg Palmer Peter Rush
2008 Mart Hagel Brenda Cameron Greg Palmer Peter Rush
2007 Mart Hagel Brenda Cameron Greg Palmer Ross Brimer
2006 Mart Hagel Brenda Cameron Greg Palmer Ross Brimer
2005 Mart Hagel Brenda Cameron Greg Palmer Paul Bunker
2004 Mart Hagel Ross Hibbins Greg Palmer Anne Cole
2003 Rod Clarke Trevor Jackson Greg Palmer Anne Cole
2002 Rod Clarke Trevor Jackson Greg Palmer Kim Rea
2001 Rod Clarke Trevor Jackson Greg Palmer Kim Rea
2000 Rod Clarke Joanne Muraca Greg Palmer Sandy Broadhead
1999 Mart Hagel Joanne Muraca Greg Palmer Sandy Broadhead
1998 Paul Bunker Mart Hagel Greg Palmer Mike Smith
1997 Paul Bunker Mart Hagel Greg Palmer Vicki Smith
1996 Terry Foster Paul Bunker Greg Palmer Aine Walsh
1995 Terry Foster Paul Bunker Paul Thompson Aine Walsh
Year Name
2018-current Brendan Powell
2014-2018 Alan Godfrey
2011-2013 Rose Nunn
2009-2011 Matthew Armfield
2005–2008 Justin Angerer
2000–2004 Sarah Pollett
1998–1999 Shane Sanderson
1994–1997 Brett Gartner

The following members have been awarded honorary life membership for outstanding services to the Club.


Year Name Reason for award
2011 Mart Hagel For services to the Club for over a decade.
2006 Greg Palmer For services as the Club Treasurer for over a decade.
1998 Brett Gartner Outstanding services as inaugural coach and in helping to get the club up and running.


Each year our members are awarded trophies in three categories; president’s award, coach’s award and the best competing swimmer.

The Best Competing Swimmer’s Award

At the Club’s AGM and Presentation night a trophy is awarded to the best competing swimmer of the Year. This is determined on a points system which is maintained by the Committee.

The aim is to recognise the best competing swimmer of the year and to encourage members to compete. It is awarded to the swimmer who has accumulated the most points during a swimming year. To encourage slower swimmers to compete and stand a chance to receive the Best Competing Swimmer Award the club introduced ‘participation’ points that count toward a swimmer’s total point tally. Member’s receive one additional point for each pool race entered and two points for every open water event, irrespective of distance.

In the event of a swimmer being a member of multiple clubs, that swimmer must nominate Nunawading Orcas as their club for each swim meet they want included in the count. In addition, a swimmer must attend a minimum number of training sessions and be an active participant in club training with at least 15% of training sessions attended by the swimmer to be eligible for the Swimmer of the Year award.

If there are swimmers who finish the year on equal points then the swimmer who has the best placing at the higher level receives the award. This will be determined in consultation with the Club’s Coach.

Points System

1. State or National meets
Ten points for first place, down to one point for tenth place.

2. Club meets
Three points for first, two points for second and one point for third.

3. Participation points
One additional point for each pool race and two points for every open water event.

2018 Yaron Shamir
2017 Victoria Greenhan
2016 Mark Williamson
2015 Ben Grollman
2014 Andrew Fisch
2013 Pablo Pizzuto
2012 Patrick Mohr
2011 Annette Brunton
2010 Peter Rush
2009 Friedo Ligthart
2008 Anna d’Alberto
2007 Ross Brimer
2006 Justin Angerer
2005 Margaret Lowe
2004 Anne Cole
2003 Greg Palmer
2002 Trevor Jackson
2001 Sarah Pollett
2000 Charmaine Lee
1999 Shane Sanderson
1998 David Pope
1997 Sandy Broadhead
1996 Peter Rush
2018 Ben Grollman
2017 David Mayes
2016 Rafal Nowacki
2015 Yaron Shamir
2014 Friedo Ligthart
2013 Brenton Edwards
2012 Craig Williamson
2011 Friedo Ligthart
2010 Suwito Linoh
2009 Suwito Linoh
2008 Friedo Ligthart
2007 Annette Brunton
2006 Mitch Lawson
2005 Anne Cole
2004 Kevin Furlong
2003 Emilio Badoer
2002 Wendy Masters
2001 Anne Cole
2000 Mart Hagel
1999 Trevor Jackson
1998 Margaret Stanley & Greg Palmer
1997 Jo Muraca & Trevor Jackson
1996 Charmaine Lee & Brian Peakin
2018 Mark Williamson
2017 Mark Williamson
2016 Victoria Greenhan
2015 Friedo Ligthart
2014 Craig Williamson
2013 Craig Williamson
2012 Chris Muir
2011 Suwito Linoh
2010 Suwito Linoh
2009 Johannes Achilles
2008 Margaret Lowe
2007 Anne Cole
2006* Anne Cole & Patrick Mohr
2005 Anne Cole & Neomal Jasinghe
2004 Robyn Gillespie & Rod Clarke
2003 Margaret Lowe & Rod Clarke
2002 Nicole Galea & Michael Drake
2001 Robyn Gillespie & Rod Clarke
2000 Robyn Gillespie & Ross Hibbins
1999 Linda Stewart & Mike Smith
1998 Vicky Smith & Terry Foster
1997 Linda Stewart & Kim Rea
1996 Sue Williams & Kim Rea

* Prior to 2007 there were two competing swimmers’ awards, one for the best male and the other for the best female.


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