'Volunteers are the salt of the earth'
Swimmers who attend Saltford Primary School held a cake sale to raise money towards the new blocks at Keynsham pool
FOLLOWING the generous community donations, Keynsham ASC remembers its humble beginnings ahead of returning to Keynsham Leisure Centre early in the New Year.
The late Jean Findlay, Life President of Keynsham Amateur Swimming Club, wrote an article to celebrate the club’s 50th year of being a Somerset ASA member in back 2001.
In the article, Jean revealed the origins of KASC: “Keynsham Amateur Swimming Club has come a long way in a short time as a competitive club, but no one really knows when it started. We know it was closed down for the duration of the 2nd world war in 1939 and was restarted by Babs Rayner, Doc Morgan and Joan Vincent in the 1940s.
“Babs’ daughter, Anne (Boulton) came to help when she finished her days as a P.E. teacher, and I joined in on poolside in 1961, as green as grass, but with lots of Royal Life Saving Society awards! The green pea soup warm water of Bath’s Beau Street Pool presented a few problems, as swimmers who dived into the water disappeared from view, and a fog hung over the pool in cold weather.”
The club at this period was a lovely village affair, which taught all-comers to swim. Anyone who came paid sixpence into a little wooden bowl, and got an hour’s teaching at all levels.
It wasn’t until the 1970s that Keynsham got their own pool in the then brand new leisure centre.
“Our dreams of our own pool looked like becoming true, and we went out and about to gain experience at any Somerset Sunday course we could find. We trained parents to help, and bashed everybody in sight through the old Club Instructor’s Certificate.
“We then turned our attention to the expansion of KASC, ready for our new six-lane, 25m pool, and got ourselves into tracksuits instead of gardening garb. We accordingly borrowed Chandag School from kind Headmaster, Harold Osgathorp, put a few adverts up, and sat back to await the great day.
“That was the point where we should have bolted, but we roared at the throng that we would take the first 200 at £5 per swimmer and the modern club was born.”
Jean had a true passion in KASC, and her words still ring true today. As she said in her article back in 2001, “All clubs are living entities, made up of the people running them and competing for them”.
Many of our Somerset clubs are still directly staffed by volunteers, and Jean was always keen to encourage local people to get involved with the club, saying, “Volunteers are the salt of the earth. We salute all those who went before, and those who will follow in keeping up a great sporting tradition.”
Jean knew that KASC was special and said, “Some of our swimmers have done really, really well and I think it’s only a matter of time before we will all be cheering a KASC swimmer on the TV!” And she was thrilled to be able to do just that when Siobhan-Marie O’Connor swam at the Olympics in London 2012 and Rio 2016.
Jean’s three sons, Steve, Nick and John, who attended Wellsway School, were members and competed for KASC at national level. Jean continued to coach alongside both Thea Beament and Lynne Bartlett, and serve on the management committee until her retirement and appointment as Keynsham’s Life President.
Sadly, Jean passed away earlier in 2019, but ‘The Village Club’ will be a permanent record of the evolution of Keynsham Amateur Swimming Club.
You can read the full article by visiting www.keynshamswimmingclub.co.uk and clicking on the news tab at the top.
n Keynsham Amateur Swimming Club would like to thank every supporter who has donated towards the new blocks through their crowdfunding campaign. At the time of writing, Keynsham were just £140 short of their target of £1,500.
If you or your business would like to support Keynsham Swimming Club and donate some money, you can do so by visiting https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/kasc
On Friday November 8, some of the younger swimmers, Anselm, Ella, Fergus, Isaac and Daniel, who attend Saltford Primary School, held a cake sale and raised an additional £200 towards the blocks.
n The club are looking forward to getting back to their home pool and will be holding trials in the New Year. If your child is a keen swimmer aged seven years or over and is interested in joining a swimming club, please contact email@example.com to reserve their place on Keynsham’s New Year trials.