Dawlish Swimming Club History
It is believed that the Club was founded in 1865 and is probably the second oldest club in Devon after Port of Plymouth (1862). Originally the club had strong associations with water polo, with all training and matches being played in the sea. Swimming competitions were held off the main beach which enabled spectators to get a good view of the proceedings.
There were close links with Exeter Swimming Club and it is noted that in 1894, Dawlish hosted the opening dip of the Exeter Swimming Club. Members caught the 7.00am train from Exeter to Dawlish for a swim and then had breakfast on the beach!
The most famous Dawlish swimmer of all was Frederick Holman who, at the age of 25, became the Olympic Champion for the 200 metres breaststroke at the IV Olympiad held in London in 1908. His time of 3.09.20 was a new Olympic record. Sadly he died in 1913 at the age of 29, after contracting typhoid from the swimming baths in Exeter.
In 1974 an indoor pool opened in Dawlish which boasted a 25m, five lane pool. The outer walls were originally constructed of thick plastic sheets with a glass roof which could be opened or closed according to the weather conditions. In 1981 the pool was refurbished and again in 1994 when a sports hall was added to the site and became Dawlish Leisure Centre.
Another date of note is that in 1986 Dawlish Swimming Club hosted a swimming weekend for members of Carhaix swimming club and made a return visit in October 1987 to Carhaix.
Competition wise, in 1977 the local mini-league was set up. Over the years the teams competing in the league have changed but today the participants are Dawlish, Newton Abbot, Torquay, Exmouth and Honiton/Sidmouth. In 2000 Dawlish won this trophy for the first time ever! Also in 2000 Dawlish joined the national Speedo League and enjoyed considerable success. They were promoted to division 2 in 2003 and came 9th. Then promoted to Division 1 in 2005, being placed 8th out of 18 clubs at the end of 2006. They re-entered the Devon Inter-Club championships in 1999 coming 15th out of the 17 clubs who entered. By 2001 they moved to 11th position out of 18 clubs, and improved again to 4th position in both 2005 and 2006.
The club has currently come 7th again in the 2011 interclub competition.
Our 10 Year old girls won gold in the Freestyle and Medlay relay events at the Devon county relay gala, the first time ever the club has achieved this.
This year also saw 33 swimmers enter the Devon County Championships, a club record and we produced medalists and some great swims.
We have recently had 4 of our 10 year old girls qualify for the ASA SW regional competitions held at Millfield School, and 2 of our 15+ girls also for the youth event.
This shows that the club is currently producing some fine swimmers, many who put in hours of training to be the best they can.
If you fancy becoming one of us,we welcome all swimmers of all abilities to join the club, and we offer training to take you all the way through to National level, contact us through the link on this website.