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THE BRIDGE TRUST SOCIETY

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Swimming History by Philip Swann

Handsworth Grammar School Old Boys Swimming Club

 

An entry in The Bridge (the magazine for pupils at Handsworth Grammar School) Easter 1919 reported the establishment of an “Old Boys Swimming Club” which would operate on Friday nights at Grove Lane Swimming Baths. Not much has changed in 90 years, the closure of the old Baths in 1988 forced the Club to move 100yds to Handsworth Leisure Centre in Holly Road, but Friday night is still our Club Night.

 

Then and now, staff at the School are closely involved in the Club’s activities, While originally instruction was only offered to pupils at HGS,  over the years this has expanded to include all local schools, the wider community at large and indeed both boys and girls.

 

Our team of instructors welcome children from two years of age in the dedicated teaching pool, taking them from their first faltering strokes, through a series of carefully graduated classes, from which they progress to the main 25m pool. Here strength and stamina are built in conjunction with style, giving them the option to progress to national level.  Their capability is tested regularly with distance swims, with certificates and badges being awarded, while out and out speed is judged in races held during our Annual Gala.

 

Our speciality is however Water Polo.  The Club joined the Birmingham and District League in 1919 and we have been playing continuously since that date, more latterly in the Midland League, although many players past and present are regulars in National League fixtures.

 

Boys and girls start with Mini Polo sessions in the shallow pool then, when able, move to deep water, where they have regular instruction in the special techniques required for polo.  Their first games are for our U14 team, moving up a grade to U16 level as they get more competent.   At this point the sexes divide and our boys join the U18 team, although   many of these players form the backbone of our A and B Senior teams, which play in the Midland League in summer and the X team which plays in a Winter League.

 

Full instruction and training occurs not only on Fridays 7.00-9.30pm., but on Tuesdays too, from 6.30-7.30pm.  All are welcome of whatever age.