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Maccabi Swimming squads’ tribute to hostages

ON Thursday March 14 – on the 160th day since hundreds of people in Israel were taken hostage by Hamas – Maccabi NSW Swimming Club members swam more than 160 laps in a show of solidarity for the remaining 134 hostages and their families. Club president and head coach Anthony Goodridge set them the task, which they eagerly accepted, after being inspired by recently seeing people in the community – including one swim club parent – wearing masking tape marked with the number of days the hostages have been in captivity. The club’s senior performance squad members dived in to tackle a combined 160x50m laps, and then the junior squad was set a target of 80x50m, or 160 laps of the 25m indoor pool, but inspired by their senior clubmates, they swam an additional 20 laps. Goodridge said, “It wasn’t easy – most swimmers experienced moments of doubt and times when they wanted to stop – but we’d discussed before the session how the hostages don’t have the luxury of taking a rest from captivity. “And that was enough to inspire the kids to achieve their target swims.” He added, “Like most Jews around the world, members of our team are affected, we all have relatives or know someone in the IDF, or living in Israel. Jodi Gelbart, whose son Joshua took part, said she feels proud of every participant. “Anthony produced this idea off the back of asking me about the tape I wear daily, close to my heart,” she said. “When I explained to him that it was the request of Rachel Goldberg Polin – the mother of Hersh who is one of the hostages in Gaza – he immediately took it to heart. “It’s this awareness that was the intention of Rachel, when she asked people to wear the tape daily, and I am so pleased this small yet important act went beyond mere conversations with people, and transpired into something so meaningful.”


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