Hawthorn Swimming Clinic
Updated: Sep 29, 2020
Hawthorn Swimming Clinic
Rear of 63 Mary Street
Since it was established in 1972, Warren and his partner Rose are the third owners of the Hawthorn Swimming Clinic, locally known simply as Mary Street Pool. "We've had a lot of parents who have come in to show us their swimming certificates from the 70s and 80s. They'd learnt to swim here as kids, and now they're bringing their kids.”
Warren explains that in 2008, "Rose and I fell upon this place [the Clinic]. With our histories in aquatics, we decided to buy the property and I went and got re-qualified and we focused on learn-to-swim and
Warren grew up in Queensland and Rose is a born and bred Melbournian. While Rose had a career in swimming education, Warren has a background in competitive swimming. Growing up in the country, Warren traveled to the city to train with Australian swimming legend Laurie Lawrence and practiced in the dam and the river at home. At school, he competed at state and national levels. At University of Queensland, he competed in open water competitions and triathlons. By the time he moved to the Gold Coast for work, Warren was training six days a week. Work eventually brought Warren to Melbourne, where he's lived ever since.
At the heart of the Hawthorn Swimming Clinic, Warren and Rose maintain one core philosophy: that every child deserves the opportunity to learn to swim and feel safe in the water, and to explore swimming as a sport.
This value has deep roots - Warren once saved his father from drowning in a lake during a childhood vacation. "Even at twelve, I realised how useful of a sport it was. It could really help these children one day save their own lives or the lives of someone they know and love – or even someone they don’t know. It’s really a passion for us, that’s why we do it, to make sure these kids get to have that life skill," he says.
Warren and Rose have overseen a range of improvements to the Clinic, they’ve replaced the old roof, extended the viewing area to increase room and safety for families, updated the amenities, and most importantly - completely replaced the water purification and sanitisation system. "Whilst we've tried to modernise the clinic, we’ve always been very sympathetic to its history not only to Hawthorn, but what Hawthorn Swimming Clinic is to the local people."
Being in the area for nearly 20 years now, they've seen Glenferrie Road develop from "a predominately fashion precinct" into a "food mecca". They consider one of the most significant changes in the area has been the changing demographic, "Swinburne University has been an incubator for the multicultural
birth of Hawthorn. The quality of the schools has always drawn people to the area" and "in doing so, it’s been a catalyst for more food places because of the international ‘flavour’ introduced to the area."
Warren and Rose heavily utilise other local businesses in the area, saying "We do 95% of our shopping on Glenferrie Road - there's almost nowhere we don't frequent". They host staff meetings at Osteria 20, keep fit at Xtend Barre, shop at Lucente Collective and First Product and their favourite dining is at Viet Star, where only recently they discovered the owner’s daughter learns to swim at their Clinic. They appreciate the supportive Glenferrie community and the relationships between the traders.
For Warren and Rose, they see the Clinic as an extension of themselves, where "you're not a number, you're not a membership card - we treat everyone as an individual, and a member of our Swim Family".