We take you on a journey through the remarkable evolution of the Balwyn-Yarra Swim School, now known as Yarra Plenty Waves. Our story is one of dedication, growth, and a relentless commitment to serving our community.

Inception - 1977:

Back in 1977, Herb Norman's passion and expertise played a crucial role in planning and supervising the construction of the pool. This labor of love symbolised his unwavering commitment to our school. In honor of Herb Norman's selfless dedication, the pool proudly carries his name.


The year 1978 marked the joyous inauguration of the pool, graced by Cr Pauline Toner MP, ushering in a new chapter in our community's recreational journey.


In February 1985, the Balwyn-Yarra Swim School embarked on its journey. Initially, it offered opportunities for public swimming and club coaching during three weekly sessions. Rosalie Bray, our inaugural public swimmer, and remains an integral part of our community. Helen Sonnleitner took the reins as Centre Manager, a role she would hold until August 1997.

Transformative Growth - 1980s:

The 1980s marked a period of remarkable growth and transformative changes within the Swim School. Under Helen's leadership, it started with just thirty pupils, with Helen taking on multiple roles as a swim teacher, coach, cleaner, and Manager. The School extended its hours and remained open full time on weekends to accommodate the community's needs.

Yarra Swim School - 1987:

In 1987, the Swim School transitioned to the name "Yarra Swim School," aligning itself with the region it represents. Simultaneously, the colors shifted from yellow and green to the distinctive blue and white palette.

Securing the Future - 1990s:

In 1992, when Watsonia High School closed, concerns about pool decommissioning arose. Rosie championed public petitions to safeguard the pool's future and successfully negotiated a lease with the Diamond Valley Shire and later the Banyule City Council. This transition facilitated the Swim School's shift to full-time operation, allowing for expansion and program diversification.

A Growing Legacy - Late 1990s:

The late 1990s saw substantial growth, with participant numbers soaring from 30 in 1985 to over 2000 during bustling terms. This trend continues to the present day, making us a prominent force in the swimming community.

A New Era - 2022:

In 2022, a significant development unfolded as Alex Hirschauer took the helm as Head Coach. This marked the merging of the Yarra Plenty Swimming Club and the EC Waves Swim Club, giving rise to a dominant force in the Metropolitan Melbourne Northern district swimming arena—Yarra Plenty Waves. This amalgamation not only signifies a new era but also solidifies our commitment to excellence in the swimming community.

Our history is a testament to the unwavering commitment of individuals like Herb Norman, Helen Sonnleitner, and Rosie, as well as the enduring support of our community. Yarra Plenty Waves continues to evolve, grow, and serve the swimming community with excellence. Thank you for being an essential part of our incredible journey.