The early years
In Spring 1884 a number of leading business and professional Gentlemen of Colchester met at the Red Lion Hotel and decided on the formation of Colchester Swimming Club. That summer, a swimming competition was organised
in the Public Bathing Place between the banks of the River Colne near North Station.
"Come on in - the water's lovely!"
From 1884 to 1932 all events and competitions against other clubs took place in the River Colne. Being river water the temperature at times was quite cold, and in times of drought the water level was very low, but
these circumstances did not deter the enthusiasm of the Members.
"Please would spectators NOT run onto the pitch at the end."
A grand opening Gala was held, with swimmers coming from all over England. The programme for this event, which is held in the Club archives, mentions many names still well known in business and the professions in
the Town. The gala attracted a crowd of 1,700 people!
"Oi, Ref - stop putting your oar in!"
The new pool was shaped like an egg and only the middle section could be used for competitions! This section was 55 yards long and races had to be judged by officials standing some distance away from the swimmers.
Water Polo matches were refereed from a boat.
"And the award for the wettest swimmer goes to..."
In the latter part of the evening, races for both male and female members were held, points being awarded for entering the events, and resulting finishing positions. A trophy was awarded at the end of the season,
to the swimmer gaining most points. Water Polo was also included in the evening's activities, so Monday became the Club night up to the start of the Second World War.
"Can you throw in a couple of floats, Coach? Aaarg!"
In 1934 the Club was able to obtain the services of a professional coach, and training under her direction took place on Sunday mornings and afternoons. Obviously at that time the present day floats were not available,
so the heavy duck boards from the changing rooms were used instead.
"It ain't half hot, mum!"
In 1953 the Colchester Garrison pool was converted into a larger indoor heated pool. It was opened primarily for the use of troops but eventually outside organisations were allowed access, and the Club were allowed
Friday evenings for their training sessions.