We love looking back at some old Clydebank Synchro photos - if you have any old photos of Clydebank Synchronised Swimmers let us know and we'll add them to our collection!
Clydebank Synchronised Swimming Club is a section of Clydebank ASC which was founded in 1902 when no mixed bathing was allowed!
In the 1940's and 1950's there was a Formation Swimming Team who gave displays at the Annual Swimming Gala but it wasn't until 1962 that Synchro was brought to the swimming club by Mary Black, who first saw girls practicing various movements to music at Crystal Palace in London when taking her swimming teachers certificate. It was being led by Mrs Dawn Zajac who had formed the first Synchro club in England and who, from that day on, remained a great friend to the club; she was still coaching Masters until she died in 2012, aged 95. On returning home, Mary asked the baths manager Mr Neilson, if the formation team to which she belonged, could become more ambitious and practice routines. In the early days figures were called 'stunts' and judged in half points.
The women and girls led by Mary Black and Avril Dempster, created displays and elementary routines which proved very popular at Galas, demand was so high that tickets had to be balloted. Eventually the group decided to form an independent club called The Marlins. They were invited to give displays all over Scotland, at the opening of new swimming pools including Stornoway, Ayr, Dunoon, Rutherglen, Cumbernauld and Armadale. They also gave displays at schools including, Stranraer, Skye, Aberdeen and Burntisland. One special invitation was from the Scottish Water Polo Team who invited the team to travel with them to Malta to give displays between games.
In 1968, on returning from the Olympics in Mexico, Mary was privileged to take part in discussions on Synchronised Swimming being included as a discipline in the Aquatic programme, which finally came about at the Los Angeles games in 1984. In 1969 Clydebank ASC hosted the San Fransisco Merionettes (USA Champions) in Drumchapel Pool, the first of several American Champions to give displays in Clydebank Swimming Baths. In 1970 the SASA (Scottish Amateur Swimming Association) held a nationwide selection process to select 12 swimmers to give a display at the opening of the Commonwealth Pool, coinciding with the Commonwealth Games. Six girls from East District and six from West District were selected, including 4 Marlins, were selected.
Mary Black, together with Avril Dempster, ran the synchro section for many years. Gradually Elizabeth Bowman and Anne Kane, both swimmers in the club, took over the coaching and have been with us ever since. They are now joined by, amongst others, Linda Atkinson (Anne's daughter) and Susan Anderson (Elizabeth's daughter) - keeping it in the family!
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