Keeping generations of children safe in the water

Dunedin Swimming Club president Kevin Phillips and his two grandchildren (from left) Zoe (5) and...
Dunedin Swimming Club president Kevin Phillips and his two grandchildren (from left) Zoe (5) and Renee Petrie (9) with Kahli (6) and Luke Little (8).PHOTO: SUPPLIED
In a nation surrounded by water, plenty of us enjoy a splash in nature as well as indoor and outdoor swimming pools.

Many locals gained their start with lessons run by the Dunedin Swimming Club, guiding generations of youngsters to hold their head above water.

The club is now reaching out to former members to join anniversary celebrations.

President Kevin Phillips said there were two periods to the club’s inception.

The club began in 1904 operating from the Victoria Baths, in Frederick St. The open-air baths, also know as Morgan’s Baths, were built by George Morgan in 1894, on reclaimed land extending out into the harbour.

 
The swimming club struggled and stopped operating some time before World War 1, Mr Phillips said.
 
But after the war it reformed in 1920 and had continued to operate since then.
 
In the early days, the club focused on swimming, life-saving, diving and water polo, but also organised social occasions including dances and picnics.
 
Now it focused on teaching safe swimmers aged from about 5-15 years and was proud of having a high ratio of volunteer coaches to children at Moana Pool.
 

Dunedin Swimming Club members (from left) secretary Christine Johnston, club captain Gaynor...
Dunedin Swimming Club members (from left) secretary Christine Johnston, club captain Gaynor Bennett and president Kevin Phillips hold up the club’s ‘‘towel’’ which has travelled to swimming events over the years.PHOTO: SIMON HENDERSON

Mr Phillips said it was a privilege to have been president of the club for about 30 years.

‘‘You are teaching grandkids, you taught children 20-something years ago, and now their children are here.’’

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the 100th celebrations had been postponed until this year, and the club would be holding an informal celebration on Saturday, November 27, at Arana College dining room.

The club is encouraging former members to book, share photos or reminiscences, by emailing dunedinswimmingclub100years@outlook.com

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