NSW Women's Week: Annette Figgis

06 March 2024

The 4th - 10th March is NSW Women’s Week and we are featuring some of Swimming NSW’s fantastic women. From coaching to officiating to swimmers and staff we have some great women who pioneer and inspire in our sport and in NSW. Next is Annette Figgis who is a Club President.

  1. What inspired you to get involved with Swimming NSW, and how has your journey within the association empowered you as a woman in sports leadership?

Because my kids started to swim, I took a parents role involved in their club. That led to a committee role and before I knew it I had the Club President role which also gave me an opportunity to work more broadly across the Area. I was continually inspired by supporting regional kids to do what they needed to do. Additionally, being involved in swimming has allowed me to advocate for inclusivity for everyone within the sport, empowering not just myself, but others as well.

  1. As we are in Women’s Week and you are a woman making waves in the swimming community, what initiatives do you champion to promote inclusivity and gender equality within the sport?

We have a really strong focus in our committee to get all of our swimmers involved, particularly making sure practices from the past don’t come through and focusing on the future needs of all our swimmers. Sometimes boys have different needs to girls, sometimes it’s a different need with multi class swimmers, we really are a proud club to be supporting all swimmers needs and providing pathways. By fostering a collaborative and inclusive environment within our club, we encourage more women to take on leadership roles and contribute to the growth of the sport.

  1. How do you suggest we navigate challenges and break barriers to encourage more women to pursue roles in coaching, officiating, or administration within Swimming NSW?

Swimming NSW could develop a pathway which highlights the multi-roles women have with their families, their work, and their volunteer associations. They need all three of those to come together and it’s a lot of the little things to make it easy and supportive. By recognising the diverse roles and responsibilities that women manage, we can create supportive environments that encourage their participation in coaching, officiating, and administration. Recognising and valuing the contributions of women in these roles is crucial for fostering inclusivity and gender equality within the sport.

  1. As we celebrate Women's Week, could you share a memorable experience or achievement that highlights the strength and resilience of fellow female swimmers, coaches, or administrators in NSW?

Just recently we were asked as a club to host Country Regionals at Wagga Wagga. Because we have wonderful women in technical roles, in coaching roles and in committee roles that actually play a really strong role across all of our club it all came together and was a great success. Without those women it doesn’t happen and events like the Country Regionals can't happen. The dedication and teamwork of those women have played a crucial role in the success of our club and the development of our athletes.

  1. From grassroots to elite levels, how do you envision the future of women's swimming in NSW, and what steps are crucial to ensuring equitable opportunities and recognition for female athletes and leaders in the sport?

It's about profile, it’s about recognition, it’s about encouragement and it’s about bringing through women and girls to think about the things that they may not have thought about before. If we can make that something easy for them and show them others that are doing it; I think it's a wonderful opportunity. If we highlight the achievements and contributions of female athletes and leaders, we can inspire and encourage others to pursue their passions and goals within the sport.

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