History of the Coventry & District Association of Swimming Clubs

Graham Sykes

Coventry & District Association of Swimming Clubs was formed in 1953. Founder member Clubs were Coventry SC, Three Spires SC, Standard Triumph SC, Morris Motors SC and Godiva Ladies SC, Rugby Ladies SC was an early member. It was the brainchild of John Ames, Bill Aston, Trevor Thomas and Graham Sykes. John King was the first and longest serving President (this position is now rotated round the nine member clubs). They had the vision to make swimming available to as many swimmers from the area as possible.

The association was not formed for individual competitive swimming but did join together on occasions to swim against Birmingham and District and even Scottish and Welsh national teams.

Bob Lord & Graham Symonds

In the early 1960’s other local clubs were invited to join They had to be in Warwickshire but could not be part of the Birmingham League. However, later Solihull, Kingsbury, Blythe and Southam became members

It was driven by the success and achievements of a small group of Coventry swimmers who had all represented the UK at the Olympics. These were Graham Symonds, Graham Sykes, and Bob Lord.

The Coventry and District Training Squad was formed, and it trained 5 nights per week and Saturday mornings at Fairfax Street Coventry.

In the seventies the Winter Training Course began. This took place in both the Fairfax Street pools for four Saturdays in January. The swimmers were timed swimming a length of any stroke on the first day and then again on the last day when they were then presented with a certificate on which was typed both times. This was discontinued when the ASA changed their dates and open meets took over the swimming calendar.

Originally the main gala was held in February but in the 1980’s it was decided to run what was then called the secondary gala which was open to all except the top three swimmers in each event at the main gala (then re-named the Primary Gala). The Team Race Gala has always proven to be very popular and a very noisy meet, with a great crowd participation!

Until the advent of computers (of which the association was a very early user) results were typed and carbon copied so each competing club received one copy!

The Winter Training was then revived in a different format and at present takes place on one weekend in January with a limited number of swimmers from each club when a Coach from outside the Association is invited to come and organise this session.

The association started running the Thomson Trust trophy races on behalf of the trustees of the Tomson Estate. These had first been swum for in 1923 and were then open to Coventry born swimmers. These beautiful trophies were eventually donated to the Association and are still awarded to winners of the Open 200m freestyle and 11/16yr age  group in 100m freestyle, for both male and females.

Because of the Swim England Calendar the three meets we now hold a year, which are open to the nine member clubs, are the Team Race Gala in January and Open Meets in May and October. We do rely on all clubs within the Association to help organise these events.

Coventry & District offers grants to the clubs for development of Swimming Teachers and Coaches.

Olympians who competed at Coventry & Districts competitions:

Bob Lord - Melbourne 1956 & Tokyo 1964
Graham Sykes - Melbourne 1956
Graham Symonds - Melbourne 1956
Kim Wilkinson (Now Slaymaker) - Montreal 1976
David Parker - Montreal 1976
Adam Whitehead - Sydney 2000

David Moreton - Seoul 1988 & Barcelona 1992