Severnside Tritons was formed in September 2009. Gloucester County Amateur Swimming Association approved the creation of a new swimming club at the end of September when their Executive Committee voted unanimously to approve the creation of Severnside Tritons. The new club has been formed from the merger of two long established clubs in the County – Thornbury Swimming Club and Stroud Swimming Club – and Severnside Tritons took to the water shortly after their formation to represent their new club in the Arena National Swimming League Competition which kicked off on 10th October 2009.
Stroud Swimming Club History
With no proper pool facilities available, training sessions and matches were held in the water canal at Wallbridge, Stroud (right). This was the only way of training and it continued as such until the Second World War. The current swimming club owns a number of trophies that depict these scenes of outdoor training. A few years prior to the outbreak of the Second World War Stroud had a very strong water polo team and competed at national level. In 1936, probably as a result of the team’s success and also to provide much needed employment in the area, an outdoor pool was constructed in Stratford Park, Stroud, which is still used today. It was an eight-lane pool built in the typical lido style of the day and measuring 55 yards in length. Although unheated, it provided one of the best facilities of its kind in the country.
In 1974 the present Leisure Centre in Stroud opened. It was also built on the Stratford Park site next door to the outdoor pool and houses an indoor 25m heated pool of four lanes, which is where the Club trains today. Not long after the new pool had opened, a swimming club called “The Tetbury Dolphins” relocated from Cirencester to Stroud. This was an essential move caused by the imminent collapse of the pool roof in Cirencester. The Club soon changed its name to “Tetbury and Stroud Dolphins” followed by another name change to “Stroud and Tetbury Dolphins” until they finally settled on the name “Stroud Swimming Club” in 1978. In 1982 the original trophies from the old club were presented to the new club and are still swum for today. More recently another famous cup last competed for in 1964 was discovered in an attic room and returned to the Club. It will now feature in the Club's annual championships.
Thornbury Swimming Club History
Thornbury Swimming Club can trace its roots back to the late 1960s when the Club trained at various venues in the Bristol area before adopting the new Thornbury Leisure Centre as its home in 1980. Originally known as Thornbury Chantry Swimming (competitive section) club which ran from 1st Nov 1968 - 17th April 1970. The competitive section reformed after April 17th 1970, disassociated from Thornbury & District Community assoc and was renamed Thornbury Swimming Club. The main pool was at Henbury. As time went on the club used Filton, Clifton and the Castle School open air pool in the Summer. The club colours were blue and white. Val Ross was deputy swimming coach and Committee Member for several years and was an important figure in the world of swimming also. She was also ASA President. Her links with the Club continue through her daughter Jan who now looks after our learn to swim section in Thornbury and her grandson Grant Sage who is one of the Club's most successful swimmers. In 1979 Ben Pollard was appointed to the Club and he was the first paid coach in Bristol. More recently the Club was instrumental in securing funding for a pool at Tockington School which is also a training venue for the Club’s swimmers. Thornbury ar the time the only Club in the County competing in the Premier Division of the Western League in the National Swimming League Competition.
Both Thornbury Swimming Club and Stroud Swimming Club had been consistently successful Clubs in the County over the last fifteen years (1994-2009) , with scores of County Champions between them. They sent a high number of swimmers to compete in the South West Regional events each year and have been represented regularly at National events over the last 13 years. Thornbury’s Head Coach, Malcolm Casey coached swimmers to reach the podium at National level on 22 occasions.
Malcolm Casey was appointed Severnside Tritons first Head Coach. He was one of the County’s most experienced and respected coaches and has been at the helm of Thornbury for seven years. He took Thornbury Swimming Club through ASA Swim 21 accreditation before most clubs had even considered doing so. Swim 21 is the ASA kite mark only given to clubs that can prove they are well managed and coached along the lines of the ASA Long Term Athlete Development Plan.
He saw early on the value of having a well run and well organised Club so that the coaching team could give the best to their swimmers. And at a time when the demands on coaches and swimmers are becoming greater by the year he sees the benefit of like minded clubs combining resources.
Stroud Swimming Club gained swim 21 accreditation two years prior to the merger and their submission was singled out as outstanding by the ASA National Swim 21 panel. Stroud also had a strong history of successful Open Water swimming where they have finished as County Champions in each of the three years to the merger.
So both Clubs came together with strong foundations from which the new Club could be built. Negotiations took several months as both Committees had many complex issues to deal with, but by the time members were given the opportunity to vote on the proposed merger the level of support for it was well over 90%.
The future continues to be bright for the club and the swimmers and community it serves.