Displaying items by tag: Ashfield swimming club

The history of Ashfield Amateur Swimming Club is closely tied to the history of the Ashfield Swimming Complex.

historic AshfieldIn the beginning
The site of the present swimming complex was known as Bailey Park.

There was much debate over many years on the development of a swimming pool. Eventually a loan of £50,000 was arranged to build a swimming complex on the site for a total estimated cost of £200,000 (that’s several million dollars in today’s money).

The Swimming Complex was finally completed in January 1963 and opened by the Premier, the Honourable R. J. Heffron, before a gathering of more than 600 people.

The 60′s & 70′s
On 2 February 1963, less than one month after the opening of Ashfield Pool, the first meeting of the Ashfield Amateur Swimming Club took place. By the end of the season, around mid April, the Club boasted a membership of 330. And thus started an icon in the history of the Ashfield Community.

On the back of swimming hysteria throughout the 60′s, the Club maintained membership well above 200 members and developed into one of the most successful community sporting clubs in the district. Supported by enthusiastic parents and pool coaches, the Club was very successful in all facets of swimming. The Club had a number of School State Champions and a healthy link with the NSW country region through the Parkes Swimming Club.

By the late 60′s and early 70′s, the Club’s horizons widened to take in lifesaving with the Royal Lifesaving Association (RLSA) and Learn to Swim. Lifesaving allowed the average swimmer to compete successfully at a high level, and this suited a vast majority of the Club’s junior members. The experience of carnivals on Botany Bay and Sydney Harbour was magnificent for those “westy” kids who were “deprived” of such pleasures.

Ashfield became one of the most successful lifesaving clubs throughout the 70′s. Learn to Swim campaigns were on a voluntary basis. Junior members were encouraged to offer their services to the community to teach swimming to the public for free. This included both child and adult instruction, and for many years this was a core responsibility for the Club to the community.

Water Polo was even on the agenda for a short while in the late 70′s and early 80′s. The Club had some very successful teams in the NSW competition.

The 80′s & 90′s
Towards the end of the 70′s, the committee that held the Club together were running out of children and had exhausted all their energies. Those families had supported and guided the Club through 20 years of growth, and their work and countless of hours of effort stands as a legacy today. Our heartfelt thanks and gratitude to the families Bayfield, Ferrier, Leet, Rouse, Sheppard, Tulip & Wherrett.

With the disappearance of the original fraternity, the Club saw a decline in competitive swimming and lifesaving from the late 70′s and throughout the 80′s. There were a number of excellent swimmers in the Club but the intensity and drive was different.

During the late 80′s and early 90′s, there was a revitalisation of the Club and the pool’s coaching staff. A new breed of swimmer and committee emerged and there was an influx of enthusiasm resulting in a number of State Champions both at the elite and school level.

This came to a sad end in 1995 when our coach aligned with another club which was allowed to form at the pool.  This split the club members and left AASC without a dedicated coach to feed swimmers to the Club.

In order to survive, the committee had to change direction. Thanks to their efforts and the loyalty of the members, the Club weathered this change.

Since the split the Club focussed more on the family and social aspects of the community. Activities include Swimming Carnivals, rough water swims (notably participation in Bondi’s Cole classic), lifesaving, Learn to Swim programs, bushwalking, picnic days, duathlons, City to Surf teams, as well as the normal swimming agenda.

21st Century
Ashfield Council has continued to support the local community through a comprehensive lifesaving sponsorship which in turn has become a focal point of the Club’s annual activities. This program has seen hundreds of people gain lifesaving accreditation – actually assisting in “saving” lives. What more can one ask for?

The pool coaching responsibilites transferred to an up and coming coach who took the club to the State and National titles with many title and record holders. Although it was a turbulent time for those not used to such change it turned out to be very beneficial for the club.

It was evident that the success of the club was, and always will be, the club swimmer who swims week in and week out at Ashfield Pool because they enjoy swimming with a great bunch of people regardless of their talent.

The Present and the Future
The Club is, once again, a family, community-oriented club and we have coaches who are feeding swimmers into the club once more.  Our focus is still on fun and personal performance, with some friendly competition thrown in for good measure.

The Club’s trials and tribulations have endowed it with the flexibility to withstand change and hardship. We have stood the test of time and are better for it.

Published in About Us