Latest Nipper News


As I sit down to write my annual Easter Haven Nippers report, I did notice that this is my sixth Easter Haven. Happily, for me at least, I still enjoy reflecting on the season every year, & I feel such satisfaction in reporting in on what has been, for most of you I hope, another happy Nipper season.

The print deadline is a bit tighter this year, so as I put pen to paper so to speak, we have just arrived home from Lorne for what was the last Nipper Carnival of the season (our second & final second State qualifier prior to State Champs). States will be held in Warnambool, for the fifth year running, on the Labour Day weekend of March 10/11. I look forward to sharing those results with you in person over Easter, at Presentation night or in our next Newsletter.

We have another big team to send to States, with 94 kids entered today, most of whom will represent the club at Warnambool. One of the best things about this years’ States team is the size, strength & enthusiasm of our U14 age group. It certainly bodes well for Senior Competition & future life savers of our club.

Download: Full State Team List (pdf 65KB)


The main Nipper season was lots of fun, busy as always, but in a good way (mostly) I hope! It always seems like a crazy, buzzing storm of kids when the program kicks off on Dec 27 and I’m sure most “non Nipper” beach goers take one look at us all & run in the opposite direction.

However, thanks to a truly extraordinary, loyal group of parent helpers, it just seems to work. Flags & tubs go out, kids gather in their age groups & are marked off by the Admin assistants, then head off with their AGM & parent helpers to various water & sand activites, run by (expert, amazing) parent specialist coaches. When they aren’t in the water, or diving for a flag, they learn about the club, it’s history, about patrolling, about how to be a first responder, where to go for help on the beach, how to spot a rip, how to signal for help in the water, and hopefully make many special friendships & connections along the way, some of which will be lifelong.

That, I guess, is why we get involved. What better way to spend a summer than getting fit, having fun, making friends & learning life skills such as basic first aid & CPR.

Some season highlights included:

Lorne/Fairhaven Shield : I can’t go past backing it up for 2 years in a row with a win on Lorne’s home ground in the annual Shield! A very tight contest again but lots of fun for all involved.

The Disco & Open Mic were absolutely fabulous again, if you missed this event, don’t make the same mistake next season, it really is one of (in my mind THE) best night of the year. A huge thank you again to Paul Winstanely, who does such an amazing job on the sound system to make sure the kids (and parents!) who want to, get a chance to perform their favorite songs. We spend so much time on the beach & let’s face it, racing another kid through a huge set out the back at Fairhaven isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. So, it’s always such a joy to watch the Nippers belt out a tune, get out an instrument & shine, in another way. The depth of talent, (and willingness to just have a go even in its absence!) is something to behold.

Age Group Managers & Specialist Coaches

For all the amazing parental help, the program just can’t run without Age Group Managers & ours are a very special crew! We had some new faces this year & they did a spectacular job, I do hope many of you are back next season!

U6 Ben Chan, assisted by Grace Corcoran (Bronze) & Harriet Fulton (SRC)
U7 Ned Halliday Melissa Vallence
U8 Tim Chandler David Dunstan
U9 Mariko Francis / Fiona Kelly Simon Doggett
U10 Andrew Mackintosh Marcus Reid
U11 Peter Batchelor / Paul James Tony Symons
U12 Markus Zeimer Bronwyn Cohen
U13 Guy Callaghan Jock Selkirk

Specialist Coaches are not something most clubs have & yet we are spoilt with the talent & expertise of our coaches, who help the kids gain confidence & hone their beach & water skills.

Swim Coaches this season were Simon Magasanik, Andrew Duncan & Robyn Marshall. Beach coaches were Damien Angus, James Cornwell & Simon Hirth. This year we said goodbye to Mr Boards, our own Marty Maher, but he has Dave Findlay & Mick Calder lined up to take on the role going forward so I have no doubt those guys will do an amazing job. A simple thank you really isn’t enough for all the Marty has done for the program, but I think he knows how much we loved having him involved!

I think these AGM & Specialist Coach parent do such an amazing job at catering to everyone’s needs. For some kids, the aim is to be leading a swim & improving their skills year on year. For others, it is to get in the water & get their heads down & make it out the back. For others, it’s just making it into the water. No matter what the skill level, we welcome all these children into our program & the coaches do their best to make sure that a sense of achieving is what is achieved, regardless of where that bar may sit.

Membership & Admin

The online system is seemingly better understood by most, but we still rely heavily on membership to help us get through the bottle neck. Thank you again to Vicky & Lynne for their hard work in this area. Thankyou also to Pete Leonard & Robyn Riddell who are still involved with membership & continue to support us behind the scenes. Improving WWCC compliance is something we will be working hard on next season, so if yours isn’t current (all members over 18 need one), get that onto your “to do” list!

Nicole Clarke has been a massive support again, helping me with various key Nipper admin tasks including helping to organise the swim forms & putting together our AGM & specialist coaches folders.

Jane Malone took over Awards Processing, another very importnant admin task, & has just embraced that (oh Jane, can’t thank you enough!) so a big thanks to both those women for all that they have done to lighten my load & keep me smiling in the lead up to the season.

Speaking of Awards Processing, I must be honest & say I BEG of those of you who seem to drag the chain every year on these, just don’t! Seriously, it’s not that hard. Just print off a form (link on the Nipper home page), go to a local pool, get it signed off & get it in early. I don’t think I complain much, but the amount of chasing we have to do every season to get these all in is ridiculous. Most of you are great, but those who don’t send them in just add so much strain at our end & the reality is that the outcome is the same. No one makes it into Nippers without a Swim Form signed off (even if that form says they can’t do the distance, that is our job to cater for your child!), so it’s just a question of how much pain is involved for all of us along the way if you delay!

More Thankyou’s

Lastly, thank you also to our dedicated Water Safety parents & IRB drivers (thanks Scott & Ed!) without whom, no one would be getting in the water at all! Another big thankyou to Minnie Cade, who ran water safety again this season and who sadly (for us at least!) is now finished with Nippers. Luckily she will still be around the club!

Thanks also to Charlie & Jo for the great job they did in the merchandise area & all who helped them. Also to the wonderful parents who hopped in on the last day of Nippers to do a gear stocktake & to Emily Jenke who washes all the helper tops every year. Just amazing.

Last but certainly not least, Gareth Clarke for all his help with every aspect of IT support, which he does so efficiently & promptly behind the scenes. So many aspects of the admin end of Nippers depend on him!

Club Champions 2017/18

Another season highlight: the kids had a great day & a big congratulations to all who took part.

U7 Franks McInnes & Remy Balster Charlie Saunders
U8 Gus Callaghan Isobel Angus
U9 Finn McInnes Maia Kelly
U10 Toby Callaghan Tilly Marshall
U11 Mackie Martin Audrey James
U12 Daniel Magasanik Hannah Cohen
U13 John Cornwell Amelie Holah
U14 Gus Crawford, Oscar Duncan, Charlie Chun Taylah Doggett
CLUB CHAMPION John Cornwell Amelie Holah

Nipper U13 Encouragement Awards: Izzy Hickey & James McNab

Nipper Parents of The Year: Chloe Hardman & Simon Magasanik


A huge thankyou again to our major sponsors: Clarendon Lawyers as well as Great Ocean Properties & to Chris Richards for his helping in sourcing & helping me with production & logistics of Nipper gear. Our sponsors come from within our Nipper Community & dig deep each year to help us with gear & equipment costs, for which we are hugely grateful.

Well that’s it from me for another season, wishing you all a wonderful remainder of 2018, keep swimming & paddling & I hope to see around the Haven during the year.

Kirstin Charlesworth
Nipper Co-ordinator, FSLC