The Swimming Club at Richmond was formed after a series of meetings held under the auspicies of the County Youth Services to which representatives of all interested young persons organizations were invited, and included those who were using the old Sandes Pool at Catterick Garrison on a regular basis.
A steering committee was formed with Mrs Judith Mitchell as Chairperson. Volunteer instructors were enlisted and the Club started on April 1st 1976 when approximately 300 children attended.
The Club was originally called the “Dales Swimming Club”, the name was chosen by Mr Barrington Wells, the first Pool Manager. Club members could participate in any of the many disciplines offered, from learning to swim, through stroke improvement to Life-saving Society Awards, ASA Personal Survival Awards, Water Polo, Synchronised Swimming and the beginnings of a competitive swim section. Each member had a minimum time of 0.5 hour in the water.
Among the original Committee and Instructors were Judith Mitchell, Roy Mitchell, Pat Love, Bob Emmerson, Geoff Wagstaff, Neil Robinson and Jane Kilner.
The first Gala was held on July 10th 1976 and included events for all abilities and interests, with width races for learners, a pyjama and candle “bed time” race, a “life line rescue” race as well as the more usual events on the swimming strokes. The maximum distance was 50 metres and there were no “fly” events.
The Club colours and badge were chosen and designed by members and were blue and yellow with the badge being affectionately known as the “ Bun Club”
Over the years the Committee and team of Instructors have changed with one notable stalwart remaining throughout, Mrs Barbara Hardisty. She took over as Treasurer after three months and has remained in this post, as well as being Treasurer of the Teesside League., A team manager and Mum of three children all swimming for the Club! As the competitive side of the Club took over more of the Club’s time and specialist instructors became more difficult to find, the water polo and synchro sections ceased to exist. With difficult negotiations, extra training time and a longer club night were gradually established and the standard of swimming improved.
Our own club Championships were started in 1977 and several friendly galas arranged with other clubs. Crook and Willington were our main rivals in those days. Galas were arranged on a one off basis by invitation, before the various Leagues were formed, It was about this time that the name of the Club was changed to Richmond Dales to identify our base when swimmers began to take part in Northumberland and Durham Championships and League competitions. The colours and badge were changed to black and white with a castle motif designed by Tara Heron, a Club member.
The Club introduced an adult swimming section following a successful adult “Learn to swim” programme sponsored by Sun Life Assurance PLC. Adult swimming sessions continue to thrive as part of the training programme. Richmond Dales ASC were often responsible for running the District and Area Swimming Trials for the Hamilton and Richmondshire Schools, Our Club regularly provided the bulk of Hambleton and Richmondshire team for the North Yorkshire County Team. The Club also staffed the Gala that Mr Wells organized as part of the “Festival of Sport” held in 1977 to commemorate the Queens Silver Jubilee. The Club now works to the ASA swim programme and has been awarded Swim 21 recognition.Over the last 15 years the club has ben extremely successful, producing many county and regional champions, medallists and finalists.Two swimmers who started at the Club, Nicola and Joanne Jackson have gone on to swim Internationally. Nicola competed at the Sydney Olympic Games in 2000. Joanne has competed in Olympic Games in 2004 and, most notably in 2008, where she won a Bronze medal in the 400m freestyle. She has since gone on to set a world record in the short course 400m freestyle in 2009.
The club has continued to grow over recent years, accompanied by significant increases in training time. The club has regularly produced National Qualifiers with Joseph Potts making finals in consecutive years in 2003 and 2004. Anthony Burke, Sam Sanderson and Janine Phillips also qualified to compete at the National Age Group Championships during this period. More recently in 2007 Emma Willson was crowned National Youth Champion in the 100m breaststroke. Emma has since competed in the Olympic Trials in 2008 and World Championship Trials in 2009. She was also selected to compete for the England team in the World Schools Games in 2009.
More recent National Qualifiers include Andrew Robson (2006) Nicole Burlinson (2007), James Thorne Wallis (2009) Tom Butler (2010), Kim Butler (2010) Lydia Beeken (2010), Luke Buxton (2010-2011) and Lawrence Whitley (2009, 201 and 2011). Notably Luke Buxton was a double National Finalist in the 100m and 200m butterfly in 2011 and also qualified to compete at the British Championships in the same events.
We have also had recent successes at home nation national championships with Emma Weedy taking a silver medal at the Scottish national Championships (2007), Charlotte Young winning a bronze at The Welsh national Age Groups (2009) and Lydia Beeken winning multiple medals, also at the Welsh nationals.