Masters Swimming Australia Life Membership

At the recent Tuggeranong Time trials treasurer, Gary Stutsel, was presented with a plaque recognizing his life membership of MSA. The presentation was made by Anne Smythe at the end of the swims. When asked about when and why he became the first life member of MSA, Gary replied in 1985 in recognition of the following actions:


Became a member of the steering committee set up to organise an annual Australian Masters Swimming Championships. (see notes 1 and 2 below).
Started first Australian Top 10.


Conceived the structure of A.U.S.S.I. (now MSA) ( see note 3)
Drafted the original constitutions for National and State bodies.
Convened meetings where National and NSW bodies were formed, constitutions adopted and committees formed.
Elected first National Secretary and NSW secretary at these meetings. Subsequently National Secretary 1975 to 1981 and NSW Secretary 1975-77 and then 1979-81.
AUSSI run out of Bexley North Pharmacy from 1975-1980.


Advised and supported establishment of Victorian and Queensland branches.
Planned and supported first AUSSI tour of USA.
Editor and major contributor to annual publication AUSSI Adult Swimming.
Also in 1977 and 1978.


Proposed and husbanded introduction of membership of AUSSI through a club (see note 3).
Introduced 1500 metre award the forerunner of the Aerobics/ Endurance program.
Supported AUSSI tour to New Zealand.


Advised and supported establishment of South Australian and Western Australian branches.
Consultant to first National swim outside Sydney, held in Melbourne.
Oversaw splitting of Top 10 into Long and Short Course.


Advised and supported establishment of Tasmanian branch.
Planned and supported 2nd tour to USA.
Introduced badges system sponsored by City Mutual for accumulated distances swum (forerunner of Million Metres program).
Close involvement with implementation National “Life be in it” program and AUSSI Life be in it poster.


Wrote club guide the companion to the first coaching manual by Helen Rees and Des McCormick.
Established first National Office in Bexley North. Although first staffed by volunteers, due to decisive steps taken by Gary it was later staffed by a part time admin assistant jointly financed by National and NSW bodies.
Organised first bumper stickers.
Liaised with Australian Swimming Union executive director Bob Quimby regarding the holding of a Pacific rim Masters competiton to be organized in Hawaii.


ACT became separate branch (rejoined NSW in 2007).
N.T. branch formed.
Aerobics Trophy proposed for 1982.
Following the lack of interest from US Masters in Hawaii, Bob Quimby suggested that Gary organise a meet in Sydney. Bob arranged for Gary to travel to Irvine California to observe and compete in the US Masters Short Course Championships. Gary returned to Sydney and in 6 months not only single-handedly organized the first Pan Pacific Meet but was also carnival director.
Gary took up a new job leaving retail pharmacy and resigned from the National Committee.


Aerobics Trophy’s first year.


Consultant to 2nd Pan Pacific Championships, Sydney (see note 4).

Gary was awarded the OAM in 1987 for his service to MSA, MSNSW and his work in establishing Masters Swimming International. He was awarded the Australian Sports Medal for his continued service to MSA and MSNSW.


  1. The committee consisted of people from the Men’s swimming associations that then existed in Sydney namely the AIF Swimming Association, the Leagues Clubs Swimming Association and the Winter Swimming Association of NSW. At that time there were no associations for women swimmers only a few clubs like the Como Ladies Club.
  2. The Championships were to be organized on the then US style in 5 year age groups starting at 25 to 29, separately for both men and women, and for a limited number of events between 25m and 400m.
  3. When Masters Swimming started in Australia swimmers were direct members of their state body. A few clubs were involved such as South Sydney Junior Leagues and Tamworth Workers Club but most members did not have a club. The 1977 change meant they all had to join a club and the club became the member of the state body.
  4. Masters Swimming International (MSI) the first international Masters association was formed at this meet and Gary was elected its first and only President a position he held for 13 years until it was dissolved after pressure was exerted on its members by FINA.