Rawhitiroa Swimming Club celebrates 50 years

AFTER the completion of the Rawhitiroa Memorial Swimming Pool in 1956, a swimming club was formed in 1958.
Five decades on, the Rawhitiroa Swimming Club are celebrating their 50th jubilee on June 28.
Two things are noted as a catalyst to the clubs formation, the pools custodian at the time, Brian Davis and a national coaching school that bought some of the country's top swimmers to the area.
Brian Davis ran a swim coaching school from Rawhitiroa and taught many of the local children to swim over school holidays.
Because of his enthusiasm, many of the children became interested in swimming as a sport.
The arrival of Frank Hay and his swimming squad of elite athletes that were billeted out amongst local families cemented the Rawhitiroa community's interest in a swimming club.
The squad trained at the facility three times a day for two weeks, and in his spare time, Mr Hay gave lessons to local children.
On March 14, 1957, a public meeting was called at the Rawhitiroa Hall and extracts from the minutes prove it to have been the inaugural meeting of the Rawhitiroa Swimming Club.
Mr D Gayton, president of the Taranaki Swimming Centre, was invited to address the meeting about the advantages of having a club affiliated with the New Zealand Swimming Association.
After much discussion, it was decided that a swimming club would be formed and a committee of nine people was elected to oversee it.
The newly-formed committee purchased all the necessary equipment for the club, including a stopwatch, a loud hailer and fittings for tying the lanes.
The first club night was held on Friday, December 27, 1957, and since then, these nights have been regularly attended by members.
Carnivals have always been an important part of the Rawhitiroa Swimming Club history, and over the years, generations of locals have competed for prizes.
The first trophy on record to be presented to the club was the Brian Davis Shield, which encouraged family swimming.
The Rawhitiroa Swimming Club has been involved with Learn to Swim for nearly as many years as they have been operating.
In 1965, Edgar Askew attended a meeting that outlined the allocation of a Government grant for Learn to Swim.

It was suggested at a club meeting that a coaching week might be held during school holidays.
Learn to Swim week now runs once a year and has always been, and remains an important aspect of the club.
In 1982, the club had their 25-year celebration and the Jubilee Cup was presented by John and Helen O'Connor to be competed for annually over 200 metres. The race is open and the first name on the trophy was David Craig.
During the clubs 50-year history, they have awarded six life memberships to Edgar Askew, Ruth Neal (deceased), Glenys Jackson, Shirley Craig, Helen O'Connor and Elizabeth Brown.
To celebrate the clubs achievements, they are hosting a pot luck dinner at the Rawhitiroa Hall from 6pm on June 28.
All past and present members are invited to attend.
For more information about the 50-year celebrations, contact Helen O'Connor 764 8811, Sharon Wilson 764 5155 or Karen Gavin 764 7445.

- Stratford Press

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