First meeting of the club on the 14th September 1969 at Arthur Hill Baths, Reading.
Porpoise, dolphin, swordfish and oyster. Flamingo, heron and barracuda spring. ....... The up-and-coming sport of the seventies has made its debut in Reading, and 23 girls-aged between 11 and 16- are already in the swim and learning to master gracefully the technical skills which these words now imply......
"They are members of Reading Synchronised Swimming Club, launched last September by Mr Maurice Mullen, a national official of the ASA and Mrs Anne Dudding a highly-qualified teacher of swimming........."
"When some of the girls first joined the club they could do little more than swim two full lengths of the pool," said Mrs Dudding. "Now they swim what would be a total of 12 lengths effortlessly, not only because they are stronger but also because they are so interested in perfecting the different figures of synchro.......
The club has now reached the stage where the first 23 members have had sufficent training to allow a further 20 beginners to be accepted as members."
Extracts from Reading Chronicle Article -Feb 27th 1970 (copy of full article on 1970 page)
"From the earliest days of organised swimming there are references to scientific swimming, trick swimming, style and fancy swimming, ornamental swimming, figure floating, musical drive and aquatic ballet to name but a few. This was not synchronised swimming as we know it today, especially since men were sometimes giving the demonstrations, but they were nonetheless performances of a series of movements in unison by teams of swimmers in the water or sometimes solo acts.
In 1927 the SCASA Education and Coaching Committee held a demonstration of Style & Fancy Swimming with a view to training the 57 ladies who attended as judges'for this form of swimming".
The first amatuer competitions began in Canada in 1925 and Synchro developed all over North America and in parts of Europe. Floating Teams were popular in England during the Twenties and Thirties. In 1947-8 the American film 'Bathing Beauty' with Esther Williams featured some spectacular formation swimming and stimulated interest all over the world. In 1949 the lady membeis of Hastings A.S.C. gave a "Display of Synchronised Swimming: a new swimming feature".
However, it was not until 1953 when Beulah Gundling (four times USA Solo Champion) toured England that there was a chance to see the high degree of skill and artistry involved in top class Synchronised Swimniffig. She performed figures and routines at Hastings and Ilford. The latter gala was televised and it was an honour for the Rhythmic Swimming Team from Kingston Ladies S.C. to be invited to appear on the same programme.
In 1956 the Metropolitan Diving School entered a team in the Festival of Europe; they were trained by George Rackham the Diving Coach. By this time FINA had recognised Synchronised Swimming.
In 1960 Dawn Zajac, who was an ILEA Swimming Teacher and had formerly been both a trapeze artist and Physical Training Instructor with the WAAF, went to Hollywood Athletic Club in California. She had just the right background to adapt to Synchro with enormous drive and enthusiasm. She returned to England and started Seymour Synchronised Swimming School in 1961 in London with John Fiander, Swimming Coach. It was the first club in the country to affiliate as a Synchronised Swimming Club.
Extract from article "100 Years 1889-1989"- SCASA
Synchro : EarlierDays
Article from the Sports Argus 5th Sept 1953 - courtesy BHA
Getty Images 1962
Dawn Zajac at Croydon Baths (left) and Seymour (right)