The Kempsey Swimming Club is at risk of folding unless more members come forward to help keep the 90-year legacy alive, club president Tim Smith says.
Only a "handful" of the club members remain, and if new members don't join soon Mr Smith said they would have no choice but to fold the club.
"Since COVID-19, our member numbers have plummeted heavily," he said. "The club won't exist in this current format if we don't get some help."
"The numbers this year are half of what they were last year, and the numbers last year were lower than the year before, so the club needs a really big reinvigoration and a new path forward.
"A lot of people here want to step down or step aside, and if these positions aren't filled then the club may not be here anymore.
"Swimming is a massive part of Australian culture, so to lose something like this is gut-wrenching to even think about."
The club will be holding a community meeting on Tuesday, May 24, at the Kempsey Macleay RSL Club from 6pm in the hope of filling key committee positions.
Mr Smith said the meeting will be "vital" for the club moving forward.
"It's important for the community to come along to the meeting so our kids can continue swimming," he said.
"If the kids turn it into competitive swimming then that's great, but as long as they're comfortable in the water then that's really important, and we want to keep that support here in the community.
"We will be here to help the people who do join, but we really just want to encourage the community to get involved with the club, so we can continue the rich legacy."
The club was first formed in 1931 and conducted its racing between the pylons of the old Kempsey traffic bridge.
Since then, the club has been responsible for over $75,000 worth of upgrades to facilities and equipment at the Kempsey Swimming Pool that has frequent use by every school in the Macleay Shire. The most recent development was the upgrade to the pool's starting blocks at a cost of over $40,000 two years ago.
The club also oversees major swimming events such as Country Championships and, more recently, Speedo Sprints.
Mr Smith said the club folding would have a devastating impact on the community.
"The club has such a rich history in the community, and it's going to be devastating if it can't go on," he said.
"There's a lot of our facilities that the high school uses every year just to do their own swimming carnivals, so if the club doesn't exist then the schools won't have that access anymore.
"At the moment we are trying to work out how we can run the club in some capacity, but we really won't know until more people put their hand up to join."
Our journalists work hard to provide local, up-to-date news to the community. This is how you can continue to access our trusted content:
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.