Jean Semple started our club in 1967 when a pool was built at Manurewa High School. The club grew vigorously when we moved to the Russell Road Complex in 1974 when we built our own clubrooms at the far end of the outside 33m pool. Our membership was over 200 swimmers in the 80s & the 90s as we competed with the other 11 clubs in the Counties Region.
Our senior swimmers went to local school pools every summer holiday to teach swimming and recruit new members. Kiwiswim was very popular before the days of swim schools.
One of our members, Glen McAnulty represented NZ swimming Backstroke in the Commonwealth Games in Edinburgh in 1986.
In 1982 The Farleys, Ruitermans, Arnolds and other families took a large team to compete in Sydney at their Winter Games. We fundraised vigorously being a front-up or pay-up affair. Then in the 90s another trip was organised and driven by Kevin Duffin when a large team competed at Queensland State Champs in January 1998 acclimatising at the beautiful Bribie Island Surf Club. Duffins, Dentons, Simmonds, Armstrongs & Logans were all heavily involved.
Then in the 1990s Jason Griffiths who was blind and Aaron Bidois represented the club and country in Atlanta at the Paralympics. Aaron won Silver in the 100 Breaststroke and Jason was 4th in the 50 & 100 Freestyle. To reward swimmers for their hard work training Brian Anderton organised trips to Christchurch, Dunedin, and Wellington to compete in large national meets. These were the days of “Winter Camp” in Rotorua or Taupo where a large group of about 30 swimmers would swim, eat & soak in hot tubs for the 50k swim in a week.
Sadly the Russell Road Pools only survived 30 years and were demolished. In 2005 a much smaller but deeper pool was built at Mountfort Park. Our membership shrank as we had to share this tiny pool with Water Polo and Underwater Hockey. The Stalwarts during this time have been the Jonses, Ghadialis, Melvins, Hulberts, Chapmans, Ryan and Hannah families.
Since 2005 Swimming New Zealand has hosted the Epic Swim series of races in Taupo in January. This has been to encourage club swimmers to venture into Open Water swimming. We have taken a large team of approximately 25 swimmers to compete. Attending early in order to acclimatise to the lake temperature. But this too is changing with the advent of wetsuits for races in temps cooler than 20 degrees.
Our culture of good sportsmanship, and having fun competing has endured over the last 50 years.
We continue to train and compete enthusiastically hoping for more gold medals at Nationals.