Ribblesdale Pool was opened on the 28th of April 1972. The first Club training session was held on Thursday 6th or Friday the 7th of September 1973,and the earliest committee minutes were written on the 25th of October 1973. .
The first Chairman was Mr J Broughton and the Secretary was Harold Leach.
Times were hard for this young Club, a request from the coaches for a stopwatch was declined due to lack of funds. The Club did though ask the Council to buy a Pace Clock but this didn’t arrive until 1975. So PB’s in 1973 should not be relied upon!
The Club also applied to join the North Lancs. Swimming League.
The first Annual Gala was staged. Two organising committees were formed, a ladies’ committee was tasked with organising refreshments, drinks, balloons and race prizes, whilst the men were entrusted with the single task of organising the programme of events.
In early 1974 a stopwatch was purchased for £8.60.
A Club badge was also adopted following a competition where a design from a Mr Hopwood of Darwen proved to be the winner.
Also in 1974 the Club’s older swimmers were asked to decide upon an official Club Costume. Alas the swimmers couldn’t agree and the committee decided on red and white vertical stripes. Now this was the decade of bad taste but thankfully, after a year of searching, such a design could not be found. Speedo Plain Electric Blue was finally adopted as the Club Costume.
The Seventies were also remembered for double digit inflation and Club Fees were no exception. In 1975 fees were raised by 50% to 15p per session!
Nevertheless finances were improving as requests for another stopwatch and a water ball game were approved. A Coach was also appointed, Eileen Cryer.
By 1976 a new Chairman was in place, a Mr Ken Pym, Ken would lead the Club for six years and under his leadership there is a noticeable elevation in the Club’s achievements. Perhaps the two books that were acquired that year, ‘Swimming to Win’ and ‘Better Swimming’ had the right effect. Inflation though had not gone away as fees were increased to 20p.
The Club’s Coaches certainly wanted to win, and following a gala at Southport, the referee reported our Coaches for ‘contesting his ability to referee a match at 33 1/3 metres’.
The Club’s swimmers elected Steven Pym as Club Captain, a position Steven would retain for a further 8 years!
In 1977 with £293.86 in the bank the Club purchased a Pace Clock and 24 armbands?
Dress sense was also a problem and it was noted that ‘two piece’ costumes were not allowed by the ASA. Two committee members were appointed as scrutineers.
The will to win had certainly filtered down to the swimmers. Eileen, the Coach, asked the committee to withdraw the ‘Senior Girls Most Points Trophy’ as she had noticed unseemly behaviour in their efforts to win it. The Committee agreed.
1978 Paying per session was abolished and an annual fee of £15 was introduced.
By 1979 the club boasted 143 swimming members and £1,723 in the bank. The Club was confident enough to purchase 2 starting blocks and 3 lane ropes.
The new decade turned and in 1980 a new badge was introduce Yellow on Black. Fees were also increased to £20p.a.
1981 The newly opened Roefield barn presented the opportunity to introduce ‘Land Training’
The Micro-League was formed and we were joined by Piranha, Leyland, Marlins and Newton Hall in its inaugural season.
1982 Top swimming coach Tom Scott visited the club for a special training weekend at a cost of £5 per swimmer.
A new coach Albert Robinson was appointed. Steven Pym became Lancashire County Life Saving Champion, an event previously dominated by the police.
Plans were made to purchase a swim bench and five mini gyms for the land training programme. The Club also climbed to a lofty position in the North Lancs. League Division 1. Long standing chairman, Ken Pym, passed on the job to Bob Jones. Ken was made Honorary president in recognition of his service.
To work off Christmas excess perhaps, a triathlon was organised for the first time. It was staged on the 29th of December. That was Swim, Run, Cycle not Mince Pie, Turkey Sandwich, Egg Nog. The event was a success and it became an annual event.
1983 The club spent some money 20 Hoola Hoops, 10 Arm Bands, 3 Stopwatches, 1 Swim Bench…but no Partridge or Pear Tree. It was the Club’s 10th anniversary. The Club gained a sponsor, The Marsden Building Society, and membership was now up to 195 swimmers. The club was riding high in the league again and 12 swimmers went to the North Lancs Age Group Champs. and 6 were then selected for the Northern Counties team. But the year ended in darkness when the lights failed at the Annual Gala.
1984 was a poor year by comparison, the team were relegated from the North Lancs Div 1, the membership fell to 170 and Land Training was suspended due to lack of a trainer. Nevertheless a visit to Totnes Swimming Club in Devon raised spirits.
1985 was another year of struggle not helped when the pool was closed for 4 months for repairs. The highlight was another visit by Tom Scott for a coaching weekend.
1986 The Club rose again, Stonyhurst Pool and Great Harwood Pool were added to our training facilities. 3 swimmers achieved National Qualifying Times and Peter Jones became County Champion at 100 Backstroke.
1987 ASA Speed Badges were introduced. 50 yellow floats and 15 leg floats were purchased. The yonger swimmers came fourth in the Micro-League Semi Finals and 3 swimmers achieved National Qualifying Times. Sadly friend of the Club, Tom Scott, died in this year.
1988 Fees were increased to £40 per year and a ‘Friendly gala’ was staged against 45 Commando Marines. The Dolphins won by 2 points.
1989 The Club now had enough trophies to have a Trophy Cabinet made. The ‘100 Club’ was launched and raised £600. Bi-monthly Time Trials were introduced and the Club were promoted back to Division 1 as Champions of Division 2. Peter Jones became the Northern Counties 100 Metres Backstroke Champion and would keep hold of the trophy for three consecutive years.
A trouser thief struck in this year, alas the hapless thief was spotted by the victim wearing the aforementioned trousers in town. We think he walked home in his undies!
1990 Ultraframe replaced Marsden Building Society as sponsors. 23 swimmers attended the North Lancs. Championships competing in 91 events.
1991 Chairman Bob Jones and Secretary Joan Pearson stood down having together put in 19 years service. They had taken the Club to new heights in the Leagues and at Nationals. In recognition of their contribution they were given Honorary Life Memberships. Mrs Legg became the first female Chairperson.
1992 Though a Mr Farmer supplied the Club with free Orange Squash for six months it didn’t stop the Club being relegated to Division 2.
1993 The Squash may have run out but the team bounced back to Division 1. 22 swimmers went to the North Lancs Champs and 3 National Qualifying times were achieved. 188 swimming members were on roll. The first, of our now annual, visit to a ‘Panto’ was organised.
1994 British Olympian, Suki Brownsdon, visited the Club for a swim Clinic, with 30 swimmers attending. 22 swimmers entered the North Lancs. Champs
1995 200 swimmers on the roll, and 19 entered the North lancs champs.
1996 The pool was closed for six weeks for repairs. 12 swimmers entered the North Lancs Champs.
1997 A District Sport Strategy Committee was formed with Bill Banfield and Chris Goddard representing the Club
1998 Video equipment was purchased
….to be continued