She's a lifesaver - Gretchen

Happy Thursday Team Tama!

Welcome back to one of the best parts of the week, yes it’s another fabulous Tama Woman profile.
I met our next awesome Tama woman when I joined her patrol on a cover before Christmas, and at some of the Gropers' swims. She is always one of the first to come and say hello, ask how you are doing, and is always ready to help volunteer for the club, she's kindly helping me on Rainbow Beach Day, another humble but extraordinary female member of our club! 

Introducing Gretchen Masters who is one of our latest Bronzies. I asked Michelle, our award-winning CTO for some words, “ Gretchen isn’t new to Tama but she’s new to patrol. Nipper Mum extraordinaire, it was so fabulous having her on the last Bronzie course. Her enthusiasm, team spirit, and diligence shone through, we are so thrilled to have you Gretch!

I also asked Patrick, PC for  Patrol 3 for some words  “ Gretchen is an excellent addition to our patrol and a very skilled new lifesaver (thanks to Michelle and the education team), she is also an incredible swimmer and has a very upbeat positive attitude, which comes in handy on rainy windy days!”

I loved reading Gretchen’s profile. There is one line that stands out to me “Tama is a bunch of fabulous humans who make me feel welcome whenever I’m with them”, well you are one of those too Gretchen, let’s hear from you.

Thanks, Zoe VP

The best way to start the day

Tell us a bit about yourself: 3 words that best describe you? Always shows up. When I’m into something, I’m all in.

How did you get in Surf Life Saving? How did you join Tama? The story begins over a decade ago when an injury forced me to give up running. I tried ocean swims and panicked, I pulled out after a few hundred meters on my first few attempts. On my next attempt, I managed to finish the 1.5km swim but did the entire event doing freestyle with my head out of water because I’d freaked out. I don’t recommend this approach, it’s awkward at best.
So, long story short, I don’t like quitting and decided to join a swim squad and get my s%#t together. I conquered my fear and will never forget how proud I was when I successfully completed my first ocean swim, The Big Swim from Palm to Whale. That was a long time ago and I’ve loved the ocean ever since.
I heard so many good things about the sense of community at Tama that I moved my girls, Aline and Lucy, from another club (that shall remain nameless) to Tama for nippers this season. From there, it didn’t take much persuading to get me to join the La nîna bronzies in October last year. It turned out everyone was right, Tama is the best club there is.

Bronzies training swim

What are the best things about being part of the Surf Life Saving community? It’s the people. And the ocean. And the fact that there are always people to jump into the ocean with. The people I’ve met through surf life saving are so open, relaxed, friendly and supportive. Being a volunteer with SLS is a community service, but it never feels like a chore. Tama is a bunch of fabulous humans who make me feel welcome whenever I’m with them.

Enjoying our delayed victory swim on Australia Day this year

What has been your biggest achievement from being part of Surf Lifesaving? Honestly, I don’t think I’ve been involved long enough to have the biggest achievement. But I’m proud that I chose to get involved. And I have no doubt that there’ll be personal achievements, big and small, in the years ahead of me in surf lifesaving.

Patrol 3, starting 2022 by doing what we do best

Tell us about what you do when not on the beach at Tama looking after people? My days are split between being Mama to my girls and working in digital health. Every spare gap is filled with swimming, cycling, paddle boarding, cooking, eating, catching up with friends and trying to find moments to simply sit on the couch and chat to my husband James. I’m also a massive fan of escaping the city for camping weekends and have a Saturday morning quiz addiction. Looking at this list, I’d say my life's a happy chaos.

My girls helping me to cross the finish line at the Palm-Whale swim this year

Favourite place to go for food in Sydney? Let’s make this a progressive meal. I’d start with a beer at North Bondi RSL (after a swim, of course) or if I’m in the city, anywhere that’ll give me a glass of rosé. Then dinner at Elva on Bondi road, followed by an ice cream from Mapo or Messina.

Ideal holiday destination right now? In theory, I should say New Zealand, it’s been too long since we’ve seen family & friends. But I’d rather be in France, cycling in the Pyrenees.

Climbing mountains with my favourite people – my husband, James, and my girls, Aline & Lucy

What would be your advice to any woman thinking to give surf lifesaving a go? It’s time to sign up, thinking about it won’t change your life, but doing it might.
For me, surf life saving has filled a gap that I didn’t know existed. A lot of people, especially other Mums, tend to worry about the level of commitment. It may be an obligation on paper, but it doesn’t feel like one. It’s an opportunity to spend more time at the beach. It’ll give you skills for life and, if you are a Mum, it’s the best opportunity to role model community spirit and bravery to your kids.

What have you learned from your time at Tama? What has been something you learned that has surprised you? It’s more of a reminder,  we all need to do what makes us happy. I genuinely believe that the Tama community is so special because it’s a tribe of people who spend their days in and around the ocean, doing what they love. Other people just talk about it. And they’re nowhere near as fun to be with.

A bunch of new bronzies let loose at Tama

Thank you Gretch, what a fabulous profile, thank you for joining our club, how lucky are we!
Have a fabulous week everyone, see you on the beach on Sunday (with Gretch, bringing the Rainbow to Tama).

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