Amersham Swimming Club Legacy and History

The Griffin PubFor most people, 1966 is synonymous for that World Cup Win. However, in a room above The Griffin pub in Old Amersham, a group of local swimming enthusiasts had only one thing on their minds. How to create a swimming club...in a town that had no public pool!

Spearheaded by the formidable Councillor Doreen Wright, herself a former Commonwealth swimmer, not only did they succeed in establishing a local club, in the spring of 1967 the brand new Amersham Pool opened its doors for the very first time.

The early years of the club saw many a parent act as unofficial coaches, both poolside on the viewing gallery. Rumour has it that one coach used to threaten to whack swimmers on the back of the legs with a large stick if their turns were not up to scratch!

The 1980s heralded a more competition focused club, with the introduction of their first professional coach, Joe Dixon. In what was still a relatively amateur swimming world, Joe’s appointment ruffled a few feathers. However, his impact on the club was immediate, bringing greater discipline and technical training.

During these years, a young swimmer by the name of Mark Foster was beginning to gain attention.  One ASC member, Andrew Moore, remembers competing in the 100fs at Milton Keynes. “In the last length I was blitzed by a 15 year old next to me. At the end he shook my hand and said Hi, I’m Mark Foster. More gutting still, was the winner received a colour TV”.

Over the following decades, swimmers and coaches have come and gone, many races have been won and lost. However, the overall feeling about the club has not only been about developing a lifelong passion for swimming but also the friendships forged along the way.  Many of those early swimmers still swim for Amersham as part of the ‘masters’ group or indeed have gone on to have children who have in turn become a part of the club.

Nowadays the club has with its 300 members has established itself as one of the foremost competitive clubs in the region. In the last seven years it has reached the National Arena League finals (A final and B final) on three occasions, ranked in the top twenty clubs in the country. The club has also won the Thames Valley Junior League six times in the last nine years and never out of the top three.

Our current swimming head coach Jason Keeler (since Sept 2016) has set some ambitious targets for the club in an increasingly competitive environment. This includes becoming the 2nd placed club overall in the 2018 county championships (up from 5th last year) and translating that success into record numbers of swimmers competing and medalling at regional and National level competitions.

The diving section is also steadily growing with 80 members now who take part in competitions at regional and national level. The club also participates in novice competitions in and around North and North West London and currently is in top form recently winning the Bill Johnston Cup at these Grand Prix events. The head diving coach, Shiraz Shamshudin, himself a gold medal winner at last years European masters diving, is looking forward to a very bright future for his diving squad as it continues to grow and attracts other experienced coaches.

As well as planned future diving and swimming successes, the club is looking forward to the proposed new sporting and leisure complex to be built in Amersham, replacing the existing facility.  When completed in 2020/21 the new swimming and diving facilities will be amongst the best in the county and will see the club grow further with the added lane space, numbers of diving boards and dry land facilities. Past club Chairman Simon Dolan is convinced the inclusive, friendly nature of the club has paid an integral part in its’ longevity. “No matter if it’s 6am training on a Monday morning or 7pm training on a Sunday evening, you’ll always see a friendly face at the club”. Simon believes, it is these values along with a commitment to technical and competitive excellence that will help the club to endure for another 50 years.

Celebrating 50 years
1966 - 2016

ASC Past Presidents

Year President
 1967 - 1970s (Exact year unknown)  Sir Robert Bellinger (later to become Lord Mayor of London)
 1970s - 1991  Mrs Doreen Wright
 1991 - 2004  Mrs Joan Norris
 2004 - 2007  Mrs Shirley Williams
 2007 - 2018  Mr Bob O'Dell
 2018 -  Guy Emerson

ASC Past Chairpersons

Year Chairperson
 1967 - 1971 ??  Unknown
 1971 - 1975?  Fred Cree
 1975? - 1982  Ken Adams
 1983 - 1986  Christopher Bagot
 1986 - 1987  Derek Andrews
 1987 - 1989  Shirley Williams
 1989 - 1991  Geoff Hughes
 1992 - 1993  Paul Morris
 1994 - 1995  Brian Harvey
 1995 - 1996  Godfrey Horridge
 1996 - 1997  Trevor Cole
 1998 - 2000  Clive Thomas
 2001 - 2003  Tony Worthington
 2003 - 2005  Philip Robinson
 2005 - 2006  Roger Comer
 2006 - 2010  Simon Quincey
 2010 - 2012  Guy Emerson
 2012 - 2013  Nigel Farnfield (part)
 2013 - 2014  Guy Emerson
 2014 - 2018  Simon Dolan
 2018 -  Peter Roycroft

Over time it would be nice to complete a more detailed time line from those early days, if you have any information, photos, memories etc, please feel free to contribute by email.

Thank you