The City of Oxford Swimming Club
The Amateur Swimming Association was founded in 1869 but it was much later, in 1909, that Oxford Swimming Club came into existence. One might guess that the presence of indoor baths in the cobbled area of Merton Street persuaded the less hardy of the aquatic brigade to join.So, bathers gradually became swimmers, and bathing pools swimming pools. Swimming was rather more than a toe in the water affair.In 1939, Oxford had it’s first major public indoor pool at Temple Cowley. Grim, compared to modern day pools, but quite special at the time. Swimming began to take off and soon Oxford Swimming Club became Oxford City Swimming Club, and Temple Cowley Pool was it’s home.
After the War and the departure of Long John style costumes, the interest in competitive swimming grew. Standards improved and training became essential.
As is so often the case, this more serious approach to the sport had it’s problems. Conflicts within the Club arose and in 1970 a splinter group left the club and formed a second club in Oxford, at Westminister College, under the name of Harcourt Hill. It was a success and in 1976 the club transfered to the new 25m Ferry Pool in Summertown. The name of the club was changed to Harcourt Oxfordian
The two clubs, Oxford City and Harcourt Oxfordian, went their separate ways, but there was often fierce and bitter rivalry. It was not until the prospect of a new 8 lane pool in the place of the old pool at Temple Cowley was contemplated that the feasibility of combining two clubs was considered. Whilst the officers of both clubs had the forsight to understand the benefits of such a move, many loal members needed to be convinced.
Eventually, after much debate, agreement was finally reached in June 1984 when Oxford City and Harcourt Oxfordian ceased to exsist. In their place was City of Oxford Swimming Club consisting of a Competitive Swimming section, Diving section and Waterpolo section with the Lord Mayor of Oxford as President. A modern day merger which brought about peace in the Swimming fraternity.