Tasmania’s Oldest Swimming Club
The Sandy Bay Amateur Swimming Club was formed in 1898 and is one of the oldest surviving swimming clubs in Australia. Swimming was enjoyed by Tasmanians through the late nineteenth century, prompting the formation of the Sandy Bay Amateur Swimming Club – the first swimming club in Tasmania.
The Sandy Bay Baths was the focus of Hobart swimming for many years and shaped the early parts of the club’s history. Letters from the archives described conditions for swimming at the Sandy Bay Baths and not surprisingly the major reference was that “the water was mostly cold”.
“The sea breeze was welcome as although it made the water rough, it seemed to add warmth to the swimming session – you could nearly surf across as the waves they were sometimes so high. Jelly fish were a problem as well as the barnacles that would encrust on the pickets and later break off being loose in the water whilst swimmers were swimming”.
Oregon turning boards which floated up and down with the tide were seen as a luxury. However seaweed would coat the boards and this made them very slippery. Low tide saw a 5-6 foot dive before one hit the water. Regatta swimming was very important in the earlier days and the Trans Derwent Race at the Royal Hobart Regatta was described as the Melbourne Cup of Swimming.
The 40’s was a quiet period for the Club with the onset of WW2. The club maintained members from the previous era. With the deterioration of the Sandy Bay Baths, the club moved to the Tepid Baths. However with the advent of a polio outbreak in the Tasmania in the 1950’s, the Tepid Baths closed and the club moved to the Hobart Olympic Pool in 1958.
The 60’s brought a multitude of brilliant swimmers with Virginia Cooper reigning supreme in Backstroke events and Diana Yost showing her consistency as an all round swimmer.
The 70’s saw Glenise Curer dominating the swimming scene across the State. With the closure of Hobart Pool for the community development of a larger facility in 1996/7, the Sandy Bay Swim Club re-located to the Clarence Pool in Montagu Bay. Whilst the development of a large Hobart aquatic facility was wonderful for the community, the hire prices and lane space fees had the Club maintaining their training at the Clarence Pool.
Sandy Bay Swimming Club has a proud record of contributing to the strength of swimming in Hobart and Tasmania, both in competitions and through the development of outstanding coaches who have inspired the swimmers of the future, including Doug Plaister, Selby Simpson, Jack Harrison, George Taylor, Philip Bird, Tom and Jack Frier, Margaret Neal, Susan Cure and Glenise Gale to name but a few.
The Club currently trains at the YMCA Clarence Aquatic Centre. The YMCA has formed a strong partnership with the Sandy Bay Swim Club to encourage the growth of the sport in Tasmania through the development of learning, participation, fitness and competition pathways. The Sandy Bay Swim Club is a non – profit organisation encouraging confidence, team spirit and personal development.
Swimmers, coaches and parents are the essence of the Sandy Bay Swimming Club. Together they are united and work in partnership to foster swimming and opportunities for all swimmers, coaches and administrators. This spirit has been evident since 1898 and to this day Sandy Bay Swim Club continues to be very much a family club.
Reference and Photos sourced from: 100 Years of Swimming – Sandy Bay Swimming Club
Competitive Swimming is a hugely rewarding sport and forms a natural extension of swimming sessions for young and developing swimmers. It requires discipline, motivation and is challenging as both an individual and a team sport. We expect a certain code of behaviour within the squad:
- Commitment to the training program.
- Respect for Coaching Staff and Fellow Athletes at all times.
- Celebration of team members achievements.
The Sandy Bay Swim Club has formed an association with the YMCA. Sandy Bay Swim Club swimmers join the YMCA and pay YMCA coaching Fees.