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Severnside Tritons Swimming Club

Swim England SwimMark

Introduction

Welcome to Severnside Tritons, one of the largest and most successful swimming clubs in the South West and swimming out of 2 main leisure centres, Stroud and Thornbury. We provide a competitive swimming programme and can support swimmers on to County, Regional and in some cases - National level. We have a superb coaching team, the depth of which is the envy of most clubs, providing first class training in a fun and friendly, but competitive environment.

The Beginning

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

The origins of Stroud Swimming Club can be traced back to 1905 when club members were all male, which was typical of sports clubs in general during this era. However at the outset, the club was essentially a water polo club, not a swimming club and, apart from a brief halt during the First World War, the water polo club’s activities continued for some fifty years. We believe that it was called 'Stroud Swimming and Water Polo Club'.

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.

Severnside Tritons - Joining the two clubs together

Both Thornbury Swimming Club and Stroud Swimming Club had been consistently successful Clubs in the County over a 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 were represented regularly at National events. Malcolm Casey was the Thornbury’s Head Coach and coached swimmers to reach the podium at National level on 22 occasions.

Malcolm Casey was appointed Severnside Tritons first Head Coach when the two clubs came together. He was one of the County’s most experienced and respected coaches . He took Thornbury Swimming Club through ASA Swim 21 accreditation before most clubs had even considered doing so. Swim 21 (now called SwimMark) 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.

Stroud Swimming Club had also 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%.

Severnside Tritons - Current and Future

Since the merger of the two clubs Severnside Tritons has gone from strength to strength and has become a recognized competitive force in the Southwest.  Following the departure of Malcom Casey the club had five years of growth under Director of Coaching Keith Smith and Head Coach David McCourbrie.  Having two highly experienced coaches at the helm put the club in a strong position.  In 2019, following Keith's retirement Head Coach David McCourbrie put in a new coaching structure with two able assistant head coaches and a strong coaching team.

Annual membership numbers are around 150 swimmers and the club competes in the Arena League and Southern Junior League as well as many other galas in the region with individual swimmers being successful at County, Regional and National levels.  The club now runs two Open Meets each year (June and November) as well as a younger swimmer development camp and a overseas Warm Weather Training camp.  In recent years both the coaching structure and swim group structures have been modernised to create a strong swimmer athletic pathway.  One of the key benefits for the club is a robust pool training time table which enable swimmers to train at both Thornbury and Stroud locations on almost every night of the week.

The club achieved the SwimMark accreditation in 2017 demonstrating it is a well run and organised club and was reaccredited in early 2019.  As with all non-profit swimming clubs, parent volunteers are the key to success.  The club has a strong club committee with 14 members and is able to operate its Open Meets and galas with parent volunteer workforce and officials.

The future continues to be bright for the club, the swimmers and communities it serves.