Reading Royals

The Seventies

Unless anyone knows differently, above is the very first  lengthy newspaper article about Reading Royals!

JACKIE MULLEN " In February 1970 a reporter and photographer  visited the club on a Sunday training session - the article appeared the following Friday " - February 27th 1970.

"PORPOISE, dolphin, swordfish and oyster. Flamingo, heron and barracuda spring. A riddle of interesting words which, by their association with water, give the first clue to their new and special meaning. The up-and-coming sport of the seventies has made its debut in Reading, and 23 young girls—aged between 11 and 16—are already in the swim and learning to master gracefully the technical skill which these words now imply. They are members of Reading Synchronised Swimming Club, launched last September by Mr Maurice Mullen of Camberley, a national official of the Amatuer Swimming Association and  Mrs Anne Dudding of Emmer Green a highly-qualified teacher of swimming"..................

"Twilight" star float formation by Linda Blake, Kim Beat,  Sandie Jones, Leslie Lusted, Anne Bradley, Esme McLean, Janet Marvin and Anne Thompson

Dance Teacher Susan Usher with three club members, Janet Marvin, Jackie Mullen and Leslie Lusted

(Earliest club "out of water" image of Central?)

Club Captain - Linda Blake with the Progress Award

Broad Street 1970

Reading town centre - Christmas 1970


Left to right: Kim Slade, Linda Carcas, Kim Beat, Mary Russell, Anne Thompson, Linda Blake, Sandra Jones,

Jane Fich, Eileen McEnhill, Susan McEnhill, Hilary Fitch, Miriam Davis, Joanna Sim, Kathleen Townsend

Heather Cameron, Patricia Bell, Jackie Cox, Linda Mahon-Daly, Jackie Mullen, Jackie Sim, Karen Gardiner,

Janet Marven, Diane Goddard, Lorraine Carcas, Jenny Tee, Lynne Martin, Susan Macdonald, Judy Wood,

Patricia Ash-Edwards, Gillian Cole, Sharon Beabey, Margaret Reeve, Elizabeth Sutton, Irene Balmer.

Photo:  thanks to ex swimmer Sarah Clough for the photo

Christmas Show - 19th December

15 months on from being founded (14th September 1969) the  club produced its first ever Christmas Show. A seat for the show cost one shilling (5p)!

The 1970 show was called "Aqua -Showtime". A copy of the run order and some images from the show below.

Evening Post 20th December 1970


- Sunday Training

Many thanks to Jackie Mullen, Linda Mahon-Daly, Philippa Sutton, Andrea Holland and Jo Jones (Seeburg) who have been raiding their scrapbooks for images and cuttings for this page.

On the 6th March The  Aqua Show was repeated incorporating some changes.  Right: "The Fairy" - Heather Reeve.

30th October - the first Bucks and South Berks competition - held at Central Pool . Documents here include officials, competitors and results

Sailors Beware: Some of the cast of Winter's Cruise. In the foreground (from left) Jennifer Tee, Judith Woods and Heather Cameron

17th & 18th December -

Christmas Show - A Winter's Cruise.





More clickable images from the show in the gallery below.




Whole crew

1. (Majorca) K.Slade, J. Tee, H.Cameron and J.Wood

2. M.Russell and L.Blake

3. Linda Kettle-White

4&5 (Portugal) L.Blake, K.Beat, L.Carcas, J.Mullen, M.Russell, L.Carcas and J.Sim

6&7 (Malta) M.Reeve, L. Mahon-Daly, P.Miles, S.Griffiths, J.Padgham, S.Woolford, F.McKinnon, S.Beaby, K.Gardiner, P.Bell, R.New,an, and H.Simpkins

8. L.Carcas and K.Beat

9.(Naples) M.Reeve, E.Sutton, K.Gardiner, P.Bell, J.Fitch, S.Beabey and K.Beat

10.L.Carcas and J.Sim


12&13 (Hornpipe) R.Newman, P.Borras, J.Fitch, H.Fitch, K.Gardiner, F.McKinnon, P.Ash-Edwards, M.Reeve, S.Griffiths and E.Sutton


Inter-Nation Competition  - 18th March - Central

16th May 1972 Skyline Hotel  - Heathrow

Display at the Skyline Hotel in aid of the NSPCC

Annual Aquashow  - "The Four Seasons" - December


The first winning "A-Team" - called "Green Leaves".

Maples Trophy winners at SCASA  and silver at  Nationals 1974.

Left to right:-

Sherry Beaby, Linda Mahon-Daly, Jackie Sim, Andrea Holland, Jackie Cox, Margaret Reeve, Elizabeth Sutton, Jackie Mullen, Pat Ash-Edwards

Pre-nationals era, the club gained its first success in an inter-club competition. Jackie Mullen (rt) took gold in the Solo and Andrea Holland the Bronze. Lorraine Carcas  and Jackie Sim won the Duet gold.

Annual Aquashow - December was entitled "London Scenes"



..... and did this lot start the second half!


Reading Evening Post via British News Archive


Southern Counties Age Group Competition  - 27th April

Image: Phillipa Sutton

" Raindrops" took silver or did they? Reading Post article below is dated 4th May 1973 and has them as winners!


This year saw the club's first entry into the Nationals competition.

Image probably taken at 1973 RR Aquashow ( see above)

A-team: Silver Medallists - Pearly Queens

Margaret Reeve, Jane Holland, Jackie Sim, Linda- Mahon-Daly, Jackie Mullen, Andrea Holland, Elizabeth Sutton, Jackie Cox

If anyone can put more names to faces please email Phil, - adminroyals@synchrosight.co.uk

Many thanks to Sara Ford (Hartley) for raiding her scrapbook and sharing the images!

Group shot back row in green far left is Sarah Hartley, 3rd from left back row Tina Cornish.

Front row in peach far left Catherine Dart, far right Phillippa Pascoe

Reading Royals Aquashow  - Reading Central

GB Girls/Four Nations Comp


"In previous years the Synchronised Swimming Nationals have always been regarded as 'competitions'. This year for the first time, they were accorded the full status of ASA Championships. It must have proved a great incentive to our synchronised swimming girls, for it brought in a record number of entries, 72 swimmers coming from 16 clubs. Synchronised swimming has now made its mark in this country and it is rewarding to note that swimmers are competing from every District, not just the Southern regions as they have done in the past." SWIMMING TIMES REPORT.

Full  report below


First winners  of the Redwood Trophy

Left to right:-

Andrea Holland, Jackie Cox, Pat Ash-Edwards, Kay Spencer, Margaret Reeve, Sherry Beaby, Jeanette Parr and Linda Mahon-Daly


National Championships - Walsall  - 1st November

Christmas Show


LOCAL NEWSPAPER REPORT  re Christmas Show. Theme: London Scenes.

Image: Andrea Holland

Jackie Cox and sisters Jane and Andrea Holland compete for England at Crystal Palace 

Thanks to Andrea for the cutting.


Club photo from 1974 or 1975, probably the latter.

Champagne it is (at least for the Ateam), winners at the first attempt in the Southern Counties Competition at York Hall, Bethnal Green.

12&under team also won gold and 15/16 team bronze

Nationals - Harlow, Essex


Southern Counties

JACKIE COX- GB and European Solo and Duet Champion.

Jackie who learnt to swim at age 7, took up syncho at 9. She joined the Reading club at the age of 11 where she has remained. Formerly she trained daily in between school lessons at various swimming pools. Now swimming is her full time occupation, the present aim being to qualify for the 3rd World Championships in West Berlin next year. More at bottom of the section

Image (right) of the then GB team which at the time contained three RR swimmers. The full programme notes are clickabe at the bottom of the section.

11th International Synchronised Swimming Festival 

Andrea Holland, Ann Clark (Manager), Jackie Cox, Anne Russell, Kay Spencer, Carolyn Wilson, Brenda Holland (Coach), Judy Garratt, Jacinta Murray, Angela Kenyon, Catherine Young

For the previous two years the 'Gala' had been held in Zurich and GB were hosting for the first time. Extracts here from the programme relating to the club and GB,  kindly supplied by ex RR Swimmer Sarah Ford (nee Hartley).

THE GREAT BRITAIN DUET - Andrea Holland and Jackie Cox

Andrea Holland is a member of Reading Royals Synchro Club and has been a member of the Great Britain squad for a number of years. Selected to swim at the World Championships in Cali, Columbia 1975, she missed the competition when dislocating her shoulder in a team practice. Since then she has become one of GB's leading synchronised swimmers and swims the GB Duet with Jackie Cox. The pair won gold in the 1977 European Championships in Sweden.

The "Reading Royals" founded in 1969 started with approximately 11 girls and now comprises membership of 100. Through the years they have gone from strngth to strength. Above are the 1976 Team National Champions.

Actual pages from the programme which contain a little more information

British Newspaper Archive

Andrea back to club business presenting awards to Anne Hudson, Jo Seeburg and Elaine Ballinger

Courtesy Evening Post 30th June 1977 and British Newspaper Archive


Not quite sure that the article is correct here. Likely the competition was to be  "WORLDS" in Berlin  and GB just missed out on medals in 4th 

L to R (RR swimmers) are

1.Kay Spencer, 3 Jackie Cox, 7 Phillipa Sutton and 9 Andrea Holland

Reading Evening Post from BN Archive


Nationals - November, Halifax

Image: Phillipa Sutton

PHILLIPA SUTTON and ANDREA HOLLAND  - National Duet Champions on the podium

Image: British Newspaper Archive

A-TEAM  - Redwood Trophy Winners 1978

Image: Philippa Sutton

Swimmers are Andrea Holland, Phillipa Sutton, Sally Melbon, Sherry Deaby, Diane Anderson, Linda Mahon-Daly, Margaret Reeve, Katherine Russell (Chronicle order)

Line-ups fromthe Reading Chronicle of Friday 22nd December 1978

Reading Royals Aquashow 

Poolside with 'props' for the show

The show had a Disney theme. Some stills below from the show.

Image: Phillipa Sutton

Phillipa Sutton and Andrea Holland perform in the Christmas Show 1978/9.

Duet: Phillipa Pascoe and Jo Seeburg

Images: Jo Jones (Seeburg)


Gallery & Other things


Reading Chronicle piece on RR swimmers perfoming in Burlington, Vermont, USA following that city's team 'The WaterWheels' being in Reading the previous year.

Sadly, the USA synchro club which were still in the news up to 1991 appear now either to have folded or changed their identity/moved. Presumably their name originates from the synchro term itself. If any of our American visitors knows any more, please share.

As an aside while searching for the 'WaterWheels' we came across the You Tube posted "This is Synchronised Swimming". A 1958 film and whilst not one of Hollywood's most expensive productions,  is nevertheless a wonderful archive look at an introduction to synchro and its skills. Take a look - there is even a water wheel demo at 7:50.

Back left third person in is Doug Moore coach, tall blonde with fringe to his left daughter Karen Moore

On sofa with blonde hair and bare arms Carolyn Flight, above her white top her younger sister Amanda, smiley shorter lady to her right is Phillippa Pascoes sister (Louise?)


 EVENING POST - 15th September 1979 courtesy of British News Archive.

Great Britain Squad in 1970


A break during training during a GB squad weekend in 1971


from left to right:

Jennifer Robb, 'Shine' Connelley. Linda Francis,

Maureen Nievens. Dawn Zajac (coach), Mavis Wyatt, Susan Rakic, Pamela Wheeler, Jenny Lane.

Dusseldorf 1972.The first time the Dolphin Trophy came to England

Both of the photos below appeared in the Feb'89 edition of Syncho World in an article "looking back over 21 years of Synchro". On the left is the "two National Squads of 1973" and the right "A duet pair 1975". If anyone can help with names, please email. Both images clickable. (Jane Holland, Josephine Mitchell?) - See Worlds results.

1974 squad with some nominted District swimmers

GB took Gold in Solo. Duet and Team at the 1974 Europena Aquatics Championships in Vienna. It was a combined discipline championship where GB collected  5 golds overall, three of them being in Synchronised Swimming.

1977 Esslingen, Germany team/squad in swimgear and travel gear!

GB Synchro were the only aquatic Gold Medal winners at the 1977 Euros in Jonkoping (Sweden). See above.