5 Olympians, winning 1 silver and 2 bronze
Over 20 other international representatives
The York City Swimming Club was founded in 1882. A second organisation, the York Baths Club was founded in 1937 for competitive swimming and then the two amalgamated in 1951. From these beginnings to the current day, tens of thousands of the area’s children have been taught to swim and a number of top class national and international swimmers have been produced, right up to Olympic level.
YCBC was always and remains today, a totally amateur organisation with no members receiving any remuneration. The affairs of the club needed to be dealt with in this context, are run on a day to day basis by an executive committee of officers and ordinary members, freely elected at each year’s Annual General meeting. We remain a private voluntary organisation and as such, cannot claim charitable or youth club status.
Over the years, YCBC has developed several aspects to its work. The first and most important is the swimming teaching section.
Children from the age of 4 are introduced to the water, perhaps or the first time, and taught to swim. The teaching section was split into a range of groups that each reflected particular standard.
As the child improved over time, it moved from one class or standard to the next. By the time they were 9 or 10, they would be able to swim many lengths of the pool, using all four competition strokes. Improvement recognition was seen as an important element and was done by the awarding of a different swim hat colour on progressing to the next group. This gives a clear indication to our teachers if someone is in the wrong place and provides a real incentive for the children to strive for the next colour.
At the top of the teaching section, a test was established called the club badge, that was designed to confirm a specific standard on all four strokes had been attained. Passing this test would qualify the swimmer to join the training squads and it is at this stage that competition beckons.
Training for competition was arranged by working with swimmers of similar age and ability in separate groups. Progression to a more senior squad had to be based primarily on improving performance and the ability to commit to the training regimes. The senior swimmers spend about 16 hours per week in the water, plus 3 hours weight training and additional gym and flexibility work. The age profile of our active membership has always led to a constraint in the times training and teaching can be undertaken.
This coincides with local authority designated ‘peak time’ in pools that costs more to hire and requires considerable persuasiveness and diplomacy to obtain the time needed.
For many years there has been a demand from the more mature swimmers who wish to continue training and/or competition. To this end, a Masters swimming section was set up which has become highly successful.
Other members have looked for ways of combining swimming with more team based activity and established a water polo section (http://www.yorkwaterpoloclub.org/). The team competes in local and area competitions with many of the players having achieved county and national representational honours over the years.
For a long time, links have existed with the schools swimming system and biathlon (swimming and running) competition. Club swimmers have performed very well, achieving national standing on a regular basis.
Finally, the club has actively supported the acquisition of life saving skills in its swimmers as part of their all round development. This brings us full circle in the fostering of safety in our community where the more able can be in a position to help the less skilled at a time of real need.