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Dublin Swimming Club, A Proud History

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Created on 18 January 2008 Last Updated on 23 October 2017
Written by Administrator Hits: 21422
 

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The Beginning

In the August 3rd 1875 edition of the "Freeman's Journal" it was announced that "Dublin Swimming Club" would hold  its Annual Swimming Races in Salthill Baths on 21st August of that year.  (In subsequent reports on the races, the club was referred to as "County Dublin Swimming Club").

 
This appears to be have been a very colourful affair with a festive atmosphere: it included fancy dress and even a water polo match played with ball and mallets on "horses" made out of sealed casks with artificial heads and tails!  This kind of atmosphere seems to have prevailed at all "Athletics in Aqua" or "Water Carnivals" held around Dublin Bay at the time. The Competition between Bangor and Dublin was keen, with Dublin swimmers travelling to the Bangor Galas and Bangor swimmers travelling to Dublin for the "Blackrock Races" which were held Annually from 1875: first in Salthill Co. Dublin (as announced in the "Freeman's") and from 1878 in Vance's Harbour at the rear of Blackrock House.
 
Similar festivities in 1880 came to a tragic end when a young swimmer named Rutherford failed to surface in the long dive competition. Although it was later established that the young man's death was due to heart failure, it undoubtedly highlighted the dangers inherent in swimming and the need for tighter constraints. 
 
Perhaps this sad occurrence, together with Dublin's W.R. Richardson coming second in the English Long Distance Championship, encouraged the members to become more formerly organised. In any event, forty of them attended an inaugural meeting at 5.00pm on Thursday 19th May 1881 in Sports Outfitter John Laurence's premises at 63 Grafton Street (now Dunnes' Stores).  Mr. RM. Peter, Honorary Secretary of the Irish Rugby Football Union, chaired the meeting. 
 
W. R. Richardson was elected Captain, Frank Kennedy Honorary Secretary and EH Andrews Honorary Treasurer. The Committee consisted of R.M. Peter, H.L Robinson, K. Armstrong, R Blakney and W.S. Collis. The new club adopted the rules of the Swimming Association of Great Britain to which it became affiliated. 
 
On the 23rd July, the new club Captain, W.R Richardson again competed in, and this time won, the English Long Distance Championship over five and three quarter miles from Purney Bridge to Charing Cross Railway Bridge in a time of one hour, twenty-one minutes and thirty-seven seconds. Dublin Swimming had arrived. 
 
There followed two decades of success against a growing number of clubs. In Leinster; Sandycove (1882), Clontarf (1884) and Pembroke (1894) and in Ulster; Bangor, Belfast Amateur, Wellington, Templemore, Ormeau, Swan and South Side. 
 
Irish Championships were introduced at various venues without the permission of the English Swimming Association, which was of the opinion that Ireland like England (1886) and Scotland (1888) should form its own Association under the (British) Amateur Swimming Association. (A.S.A) 
 
Perhaps to bring this about, the A.S.A in 1893 directed that the 220yds Championship of Ireland, which Dublin proposed to hold, should not take place. Dublin S.C. did not hold this event but instead spearheaded a series of meetings which led to the formation of the Irish Amateur Swimming Association in Belfast on 25th November 1893, at which Messrs E.H. Andrews, W. Findlater, L.H.S. Beatty and R.M. Peter (all members of Dublin Swimming Club) represented Leinster.  Mr. E.B. Andrews chaired the meeting, which elected the following as first officers of the new association. President R. Kirkpatrick (Ulster), Vice Presidents E.H. Andrews, E.F. Bunyon (Ulster), Honorary Secretary R.M.Peter, Honorary Treasurer W. Findlater, Auditors L.H.S. Beatty, F. Wilson (Ulster). Subsequently Andrews (1895) Findlater (1897) and Peter (1901-03) were elected President. In all, ten members of the Club have been honoured with this position. The Club also produced a succession of outstanding champions and Water Polo players: Richardson, Andrews and L.H.Beatty were all multiple Irish Champions prior to 1893. 
 
In the period 1893 to 1914 of the 80 Irish Championships swum, Leinster won 66, and 54 were won by just five swimmers: H.M. Dockrell (D.S.C.) 6, Oscar Conway (D.S.C.) 9, R.W.McCabe (Sandycove) 9, Jim Beckett (Pembroke) and George Dockrell (D.S.C.) 20.

See this link for detail on the club's early characters and the then swimming environment presented at the 2014 AGM  here

George Dockrell was born on 22 October 1886 in Rathdown, Co. Dublin. He was 4th born son of Sir Maurice Edward Dockrell, a prominent politician and merchant, and Margaret Sarah Dockrell (née Shannon).

George Dockrell was without question the outstanding Irish swimmer of his era. He was educated at Trent College, Long Eaton, Derbyshire [1899–1904] and at Trinity College, University of Dublin [1906–1909]. He won his first Dublin S.C. title in 1901, aged 15 – the Dudgeon Cup for the 150 yards handicap, off a handicap of 45 sec.  He won this Cup again off scratch in 1904. He also won the Ormonde Cup for the Dublin S.C. 220 yards championship in 1905. His brothers Henry Morgan Dockrell and Kenneth Brooks Dockrell were also prominent swimmers in Dublin S.C.

In October 1905 George Dockrell went to the USA where he trained for six months with one of the foremost American swimmers, Charles Meldrum "Charlie" Daniels [220 yds, 440 yds and 5 x 50 yds relay Olympic Gold medallist at the 1904 St Louis Games, 100 m Gold medallist at the 1906 Intercalated Games in Athens and 100 m Gold medallist at the 1908 London Games]. Daniels perfected the Australian crawl by adding a six-beat kick, to be renamed the American crawl, the front crawl freestyle stroke still used today.

Of the 25 Irish Freestyle Swimming Championships George Dockrell entered, he won 21 titles, setting Irish records in seven of his wins. George Dockrell was the Irish 100 yards Freestyle champion five times in 1905–08 and in 1910. He won the 220 yards championship in six consecutive years from 1906 –11. He took the 440 yards title Six times in 1905–08 and 1910–11 and the 880 yards championship four times in 1906–07 and 1910–11. In 1906 and in 1910 he held the titles at all four Irish championship distances [100 yds, 220 yds, 440 yds and 880 yds]. At the Amateur Athletic Union Swimming Championships of America in 1906 he took Bronze medals in the 440 yards and 1 mile swims. At the Amateur Swimming Association Championships of England in 1908 he took the Silver medal in the 100 yards freestyle and the Bronze in the 220 yards championship.

At the London Olympic Games in 1908, only 4 swimmers qualified from the semi-finals to the final. Dockrell placed 3rd in his semi-final with the 5th fastest time overall. In 1909 at the World Swimming Championships in Paris, George Dockrell took the Gold medal in the 100m Freestyle. This cap may have worn by him to / at the games. It came up for sale in 2014 but alas the club missed the opportunity to purchase it.

George Dockrell was also an accomplished water polo player. He was capped for Ireland eight times and for Leinster nine times. He won five Leinster Senior Cup and five Leinster Senior League Championship titles. He captained Dublin University S.C. to Leinster Cup triumph in 1909. Dockrell won the League and Cup double twice, with Dublin S.C. in 1905 and Dublin University S.C. in 1911.

George Dockrell joined the army in December 1914 as a 2nd Lieutenant, serving in the 9th Battalion, King's Royal Rifle Corps [The Rifle Brigade]. He was promoted to Lieutenant in 1915, to Captain in 1918, and to Major in 1919. He was severely wounded in Flanders in 1915 and died on 23rd December 1924 at the Officers' Hospital, Richmond, Surrey, as a lingering consequence of these shrapnel wounds to his back. Major George S. Dockrell was awarded an O.B.E. (Military) for meritorious service.

Further information about some of the many interesting early club members is included towards the end of this document.

 

The 1920s

Dublin S.C. was dominant in Water Polo throughout this whole period and reached its zenith in the 1920's. Noel Purcell was a regular on the Irish team from 1910 to 1927 and again in 1932. He won Ireland's first Olympic Gold medal as a member of the Great Britain Team in 1920 and in 1924 Captained the Irish team which included fellow Dubliners M.A O'Connor, J.A O'Connor and N. Judd. 
 
In 1928, the Tailteann Games took place at a revamped Blackrock Baths. Articles of the day bemoaned the fact that other countries had increased the gap on Ireland. Marguerite Dockrell did however make the final of the 100 yards and another club member Eileen McElwee completed in the the third of three heats. From additional research re Eileen McElwee we also know there was a McElwee Cup in DSC which was contested for in a 200m crawl handicap (mixed), presumably the cup was donated by Charles Bushby McElwee and his wife. It was competed for from 1928 until 1982. Mrs Charles Busby McElwee (Emma McElwee née Cole) was on the Ladies Committee of DSC.  Eileen Dora McElwee was a member of the DSC Flying Squadron quartet that won the Leinster Championship in 1930. She is also known to have taken part in a diving competition at the Greystones Gala in 1931. Other members of the relay team, know as a flying squadron at that Pembroke gala which Dublin won in 1930 were Margaret Dockerell, Miss L. Quinn and Miss S. O’Neill.
 
The 1928 Olympics in Amsterdam saw Ireland field another water polo team, which included Dubliners N.Judd, T.M. Dockrell, M.A O'Connor and J. O'Connor. In addition it included Ireland's first female aquatic competitor in the person of sixteen years old Marguerite Dockrell (D.S.C.). She won the 100yds freestyle in 1926, 1927, 1928, 1929 and 1933 and 220yds title in 1927, 1928, 1929, and 1930. Needless to say these were the only Irish titles for ladies; she was the darling of Irish swimming.
 
The first Liffey Swim took place in 1920. Click here for the famous Yeats painting from 1923.
 
The 1930s and Onwards
 
With the growth in the number of clubs and improved facilities, Dublin's share of Championships was reduced but Diarmiud Murtagh in the 30's, Bill Hawkins, Gilda Deane and Kathleen McNally in the 40's, Peader Hyland in the 50's, Liam Loughman and Grainne McManus in the 60's, Eileen Gallagher, Deirdre Kenny, Grainne Friel, Catherine Owen, Valerie and Christine Fulcher and Pat Crowe in the 70's and 80's all contributed to Dublin's success at Irish level. 
 
Annual membership booklets were provided to members in times past, and some are in the photo below, as is a Dublin hat from more recent times - the 2000s.
 

 
Water Polo
 
It would appear that Dublin SC first competed in the Leinster Water Polo Cup in 1895 as there is a newspaper report stating that the club had taken a decision to enter a team. Prior to 1895 the Blackrock Aquatic Polo Club (BAPC) was the waterpolo arm of Dublin SC and the Annual Gala was organised conjointly under the joint auspices of DSC and BAPC.  
 
Dublin SC were Leinster Cup Champions in 1900 (Irish and Scottish Water polo champions), click here for a photo of that team. Another photo from that period is below.
 
 
See also the 1920s section above.
 
Later the Water Polo part of the Club was also successful. Pat Crowe, Martin Bowers and Gerry Bohan were capped for Ireland and our Ladies Team consisting of Eimear and Isolde Goggin, Paula and Catherine Murphy, Catherine and Madeline Connolly, Eileen Davis, Sandra Trappe, Anne Bergin and Geraldine Dunleavy were supreme in Leinster.
 
Development of Masters Swimming
In 1977 a Committee consisting of Gay Maloney, Peader Hyland, Neil Kennedy, Harry McEvoy, Des O'Dwyer and Fergus Barron introduced Masters swimming to Ireland and Dublin's Claire O'Dwyer has proved to be Ireland's most successful Master swimmer with both European and World Championship records to her credit.
 
Claire O'Dwyer

In 1991 she competed in the 50 - 54yrs age group in the European Masters in Coventry, winning the 50Free, 100Free and 50Fly and setting European records in the 50Free and 50Fly. Since then, Claire has competed across the globe: from the USA to New Zealand, medalling frequently in World and European Championships in both the Pool and Open Water events. In particular she won Gold in Montreal and Sheffield.  Claire in 2014 remains the only Irish swimmer, young or old, to have set a FINA swimming world record and continues to hold c50 Irish records in four separate age categories. She was honoured for her achievements by Swim Ireland in 2013.

Club Gala - Blackrock

The galas covered every distance from 50 yard sprint (Blackrock Baths was a 50 yard pool), to 800 yards and included a swim outside of the Baths to the Pole and back. This is believed to have been the start of the Club Open Sea race which we have today. Dublin SC also ran springboard diving 1 metre and 3 metre competitions which were held as part of the overall galas in Blackrock Baths. Click here for a photo of the famous Eddie Heron diving in Blackrock. 

A video here from 1942 IASA competition at Blackrock shows both diving and swimming competition and makes reference to Dublin members M O'Kelly and M Coyne in t12 Julyhe final of the ladies 220 yard championship.

On July 12 1957, at the club's first international gala for many years, held in Blackrock Baths,"we introduced Ireland to two Dutch wonder swimmers". Mary Kok - between 1954 and 1957 she set nine (mostly short course) world records in various freestyle, butterfly and medley events, six of them within one year (1955). Incredibly at the Dublin SC gala she broke the 100m freestyle world record. Lenis De Nijis was the 220 yards and 200m backstroke world record holder and set a new world record at the gala for 100m backstroke.

 Club Open Galas - Pool

The first (1977) and second (1978) Dublin Masters’ Galas were held in Dublin’s Iveagh Baths before the move to Sportsco in Ringsend in 1979. The club had previously held galas in the Iveagh Baths also, and there is a gala ticket in a photo above from the 1933 event. Galas were held in Sportsco until 1992 when the I.A.S.A decided that membership fees should be collected from Masters in 1992. This decision led to considerable heated debate within the club and the decision was made not to run that year’s gala. It turned out that would be the last such open gala organised by the club though there were subsequently some inter club galas (e.g. with Limerick) and the Club did run a Relays gala (pre 2000, to add date). It should be noted that an outstanding achievement by Fergus Barron, who organised these open galas, was to get the David Wilkie, the 1976 200m breaststroke Olympic champion (and silver in the 100 b/s) to take part in 1980. Wilkie was the 200m b/s world record holder at the time also.

The club ran a Master’s Relay Gala in Newpark Swimming Pool, Blackrock as part of the celebrations for the centenary year. This took place on May 16, 1981.  Neil Kennedy, the Club President, welcomed swimmers and thanked all present for making the gala possible. The trophy pictured below was presented to Dublin SC to mark the club's centenary by the ASAI, the precursor to Swim Ireland on May 19 1981.

 

The following is the cover and back of the club's gala brochure from 1985 in the ESB Sportsco pool in Ringsend, Dublin 4.

Head Coaches

Fergus Barron was also head coach and oversaw the development of the junior club. Many masters swimmers in a variety of clubs still credit his commitment to their success and continued passion for the sport. Among the top swimmers then was Louise Keogh who swam for Dublin for years in early 80s, and won Leinster and Irish titles in breaststroke.

Maeve Dunne took over as head coach in 1990 (confirm exact date) and the success of junior swimmers continued, among them ? Church; ? Byrne; Mark, Niamh and Michelle Dunne and others (other names to be added). Eileen Conway coached the juniors for many years until the junior training sessions ceased in 2014.

Dublin SC began its coaching for masters’ sessions in the late 1990’s. Jack Meade was succeeded by Fergus Barron c2005 and later Paul Collins took over from c2008 to 2013. The club took the decision to increase the number of sessions and pay masters coaches in 2013. Ewa Warzycha and Sinead McBreen came on board as a result. In late 2015 Jack Meade returned to Dublin's Coaching set-up, taking over from Sinead.

1970s - 2000s

The Dunne, Kenny and O’Driscoll families have been big contributors to the Club as competitors and administrators. Pat O’Driscoll was President of the Club and his wife was also Treasurer for several years and their children represented the club in competition. Noel Dunne is a former president, Maeve his wife has been a competitor and head coach, son Mark has been President and their children, including Mark, Michelle and Niamh have competed at junior and masters level successfully for the club. Eithne Kenny and Dolores Kenny (sisters of Maeve) have also been competitors and were very involved on the committee front for many years while Matt Kenny (a brother) and Deirdre (sister) also competed successfully for the club.

Another big family name in Dublin SC is the Pickerings and they have the unusual distinction of providing three generations of swimmers at the same Liffey Swim event (2011?) - John, his daughter Sharon and her daughter Hayley. John won the vets prize for several years at the Liffey Swim and was also a very good competitor. Indeed he also won a race in Wicklow in the 2014 open water season.

In the 1990s and 2000s there was a greater focus at Dublin Swimming Club on open water swimming. The women's team won the team award for the Leinster Open Sea league in 2007 and remained in second place for consecutive years until winning again in 2013. The men's team fared less well in this period but improved to second in 2013. Charles Harper won the 2008 Liffey Swim while Maria Quintanilla won in 2011 for Dublin SC.

On May 18, 1981 the club held a 100 year anniversary celebration in Blackhall Place. In 2006 the club held a 125 year celebration at the Davenport Hotel in Dublin at which many generations of the club's friends and members attended.

In 1998, there were numerous Irish record holders among our masters swimmers:

Claire O’Dwyer held 21 records at the time

Zandra Ball – 3 records

John Bailey

Cyril Hardy – 9 records

Jackie Kearney – 9 records

Paul Emmett – 2 records

Jack Meade

In the pool competition between 2000 and 2017 the following club swimmers are among those who have held Irish or Leinster records:  

  • Claire O'Dwyer - Irish and Leinster
  • Jack Meade - Irish and Leinster
  • Mairín McDevitt - Leinster
  • Jackie Kearney - Irish and Leinster
  • Maeve Dunne - Leinster

  ... and a ladies relay record for the 200 medley.

 Other Leinster record holders from Dublin Swimming Club in 2014 / 2015 included:

  • Eleanor O'Connor
  • Ceall O'Dunlaing
  • Niall O'Sullivan

The Open Water 'Classics'

Members have won The Liffey Swim on twelve occasions (so far). Of interest also is the fact that J.A.(Jimmy) Markey was one of two swimmers who have won the race doing backstroke. Though not a winner of the event, mention must also be made of Jackie Kearney for his record of the most Liffey Swims swum (along with Paul Emmett of Half Moon though exact numbers disputed, though c50). Jackie first competed in the Liffey Swim in 1951. See link here for Jackie at the end of the 2004 Liffey Swim when he came second. The youngest ever female winner of the Liffey Swim was Mairéad Doran of Dublin SC who on 11 September 1979, at age 10, won on the Islandbridge course. The club won the double in 2017 - the first time this has ever been achieved - and also took ladies team prize that year.

Men

Women

2017 Colin Monaghan

2008 Charles Harper

2017 Anne Marie Bourke

2011 Maria Quintanilla

1962 T. Byrne

2005 Molly Molloy

1954 J.A. Markey

2003 Sandra Trappe

1942 C.P. Cloake

1993 Jill Donaghey

 

1994 Mary McDermott

1979 Mairead Doran (old course)

Dublin City Liffey Swim Team Wins

Men 1975, 2005

Ladies 2005, 2006, 2008, 2012, 2014, 2016, 2017

We have had 13 individual victories in the other classic, the Dun Laoghaire Harbour Race.

Men

Women

1933 Diarmuid Murtagh

2004 Niamh Dunne

1934 Diarmuid Murtagh

1995 Claire O’Dwyer

1935 Diarmuid Murtagh

1991 Sandra Trappe

1962 Nicholas Smith 

1990 Sandra Trappe

 1949 William Patrick Hawkins

1984 Mairead Doran

 1947 William Patrick Hawkins

1983 Jacqueline Whelan

 

1977 Deirdre Harkness

Sandra Trappe has the added distinction of having won both the Liffey and the Harbour races, indeed having won the Harbour twice. William Patrick aka Bill Hawkins, was successful twice in the Harbour and though not a Liffey winner, was the fastest swimmer in 1943, 1944 and 1948. Diarmuid Murtagh who won three in row in the 1930s is credited as swimming for Dublin SC & Pegasus. Indeed, between 1932 and 1936 his affiliation is described variously as Dublin SC, Dublin University SC, Pegasus SC, the latter two also with Dublin SC and even Athlone SC (the family was from Athlone). The club has won the men's team prize just once thusfar, in 1980.

In the early years the course took the swimmers underneath and through the Carlyle pier and along the Coal Harbour pier. Club stalwart, George Sommerville, was one of Dublin's representatives in those races. Indeed there was also a men's Dún Laoghaire Harbour Swim Sealed Handicap from 1937–1963 and George was the winner in 1956 with the club's only other winner being E English.

To read more about this great race see http://www.leinsteropensea.ie/harbour-race/

The open water league also has an annual 'Swimmer of the Year', competition. Notable recent achievements include:

Men

Women

2017: Niall O'Sullivan - Vets prize

2016: Niall O'Sullivan - Vets prize

2015: Niall O'Sullivan - Overall winner

2013: Ceall O'Dunlaing - 3rd

2017 Jessica Lamb - Overall winner

2017: Sandra Trappe - 3rd

2016 Jennifer Murrin - Overall winner

2016 Christine Mahoney - Super Master

2015: Claire O’Dwyer - Super Vet

2014: Mairin McDevitt - Super Vet

2012: Sharon Pickering - Overall winner

2013: Niall O'Sullivan - Vets prize

2010: Claire O’Dwyer, same points as winner, but given joint 2nd

2005: Matt Kenny - Vets prize

 2009: Sharon Pickering - 2nd

 2004: Mark Dunne - Overall winner 

2007: Orla Doyle - 2nd

 1996: Pat Aherne - Overall winner

2006: Hayley Pickering - 3rd

           1993: John Pickering: Vets prize

2005: Deirdre Harkness - 2nd

 

 1998: Sandra Trappe - 2nd

1997: Sandra Trappe - Joint winner

 

1995:  Sandra Trappe - Overall winner

 

1983 Louise Keogh Overall winner

 

 1982 Louise Keogh Overall winner

 

Club of the Year - Leinster Open Sea Competition

Year

Men's team

Women's Team

2017

2016

2015

2014

2nd

2nd

7th 

10th

 Winners

Winners

Winners

2nd

2013

2nd

Winners

2012

7th

2nd

2011

10th

2nd

2010

10th

2nd

2009

7th

2nd

2008

8th

2nd

2007

8th

Winners

2006

6th

Winners

2005

2nd

Winners

 

Christmas Swims

Fergus Barron also initiated the an annual club Christmas Swim / Race in 1957 when it was held "in a small private cove in Seapoint". It then moved to Blackrock Baths in 1964 where it continued until the baths closure in 1993. Former Olympian and swimming commentator Gary O'Toole took part in 1990. The Dun Laoghaire Baths was the venue from 1994 until 1996 when it was also closed. The annual swim has been an integral part of Club activity, both socially as well as competitively. The race is now held annually at Sandycove, but on St Stephen’s Day – due to the huge crowds that now go to the 40 Foot each Christmas Day. At its peak in 1977 39 men and 22 women took part. Claire O'Dwyer won the inaugural women's race in 1964 and participated each year for the next thirty years and more - "Its one way of getting out of making Christmas lunch I suppose" she told The Irish Times in 1996. The event has also helped to raise funds for the charity Rehab in the past. The trophy curiously for the men's race is called the Player Wills cup - times have changed in many ways, but the tradition continues on. 

Channel Swims (English Channel) and Other Long Distance Swims

Before joining the club, Charles Harper swam the channel as part of a four person relay in 19xx. He joined the club in 2003. He undertook a solo successful crossing on August 9, 2009, completing the crossing in 14 hours 15 minutes.

On August 18, 2016 a four person team made up of Una Ann Ryan, sisters Sharon and Tara Smith and Ger Devin completed the crossing. More info at http://www.channelswimmingassociation.com/swim/4536/well-able

Therese Molyneux and Róisín Kelly (also aka Team Well Able) made a successful two person relay crossing on June 30, 2017

Caitriona Kehily and Eilish Leader were part of the four person relay team (aka Myrtle Turtles) which landed in France on 14th July 2016 (Bastille Day). They completed it in 12 hours 7 mins.

Barry O'Sullivan and Deirdre King made a valiant but unsuccessful two person attempt on 23 Sept 2017. They left Dover that morning, and after a very strong start only bad weather prevented them from reaching the French coast.

Lough Erne

2009: Charles Harper (19km)

2009: Rachel Doyle (10km) (has since swum the channel, but with another club)

2015: Jody Clarke (17km)

Galway Bay

Roisin Kelly 2015

24 Hour Swim, London: In 2017 Ger Kennedy swam a mile every hour for 24 hours at a lido in London. He had completed a mile every hour for 12 hours at the Forty Foot in part preparation in April 2017 also.

Cleggan ro Inisharc

2003: Charles Harper

 

Club Patrons

Gay Maloney 2014 - (2017) - (for a second time)

Fergus Barron c1990 - 2014
Gay Maloney ? - c1990
Mr Maurice Dockerell, former Lord Mayor of Dublin 1982
None elected 1974-1978
Mrs G Schorman 1966, 1966-67,1967-68, 1970, 1970-71, 1971-72, 1973-74, 1974-75
Dr. W.H. Sexton 1957, 1958, 1960-61
Senator H.M. Dockerell 1951,1953, 1955
H.M. Dockerell Esq., T.D 1942, 1943, 1945
W. Findlater Esq. 1939, 1940
W. Findlater Esq. and E.H. Andrews Esq. 1927, 1928, 1929, 1930, 1931, 1932, 1933, 1934, 1935, 1937
E.H. Andrews Esq. 1925
Marquis of Ormonde 1881 - 1919

Club Presidents (in more recent years based on year October - September)

? 2017 -

Ceall O'Dunlaing 2015 - 2017

Niall O'Sullivan 2011 - 2015

Mark Dunne 2008 - 2011

Paul Collins 2005 - 
Elva Nic Phaidin 2007 - 2008 (confirm dates)
Noel Dunne 2001 - 2006
(Add others here)
Pat O'Driscoll 1998
Neil Kennedy 1981, 1982
W. McNally 1979-80
Mrs Connolly 1979-80
Tom Goggin 1976-77, 1977-78
Mrs O'Driscoll 1977-78 - Ladies
Mrs. Grealey 1976-77 - Ladies
J. Byrne 1974-45, 1975-76
S. Soden 1972-73, 1973-74
Mrs L Dunleavy, 1972-73, 1973-74, 1974-75, 1975-76 - Ladies
Peadar Hyland 1970-71, 1971-72
Mrs S. Loughman, 1971-72 - Ladies
Mrs O Downes 1970-71 - Ladies
Mrs M Davis 1970-71 - Ladies
Gay Walsh 1967-68
P. Whelehan 1966-67
Mrs D. Walsh 1966, 1966-67, 1967-68 - Ladies
W. Hawkins 1960-61
M. Hawkins Esq. 1958
J.K.  Pettit Esq. 1957
Dr. W.H Sexton 1956
P. O'Byrne Esq.1955
Mrs. W.H Sexton 1951, 1958 - Ladies
Mr W.H. Sexton 1945 and 1957 - Ladies
K.L. Schorman Esq 1951, 1953, 1954, 1953
Mrs K.L. Schorman Esq 1934, 1937, 1953, 1955, 1956 - Ladies
Miss M. Demery 1945 - Ladies
Dr. R.M. Corbett, M.A.O., F.R.C.P.I. 1942, 1943
Mrs. J.F. Kenny 1942, 1943 - Ladies
H.M. Dockerell T.D. 1935, 1937, 1939, 1940
Mrs E.M. Cody 1939, 1940 - Ladies
L.H.S. Beatty Esq. 1931, 1932, 1937 
H.M. Dockerell Esq. 1933, 1934
L.H. Beatty Esq 1925, 1927, 1929, 1930
Mrs N.M. Purcell 1930, 1931, 1932, if F up 1933 - Ladies
Mrs. Noel Purcell, 1929 - Ladies
Mrs H.M. Dockerell 1925 - Ladies
Edward Henry Andrews 1881 - 1918
In precious years there were separate Presidents and committees for the ladies and men's sections of the club

Information about Early Dublin Swimming Club Members

  • Anthony Traill, FTCD 1865, Provost TCD 1904–1919, ‑Chairman world's first electric tramway Portrush to Bushmills 1883 (1 November 1938–15 October 1919)
  • James Edward William Theobald Butler, The Most Honourable 3rd Marquis of Ormonde, KP, PC, Order of the Crown of Prussia (First Class) (5 October 1844 – 26 October 1919)
  • Field Marshal Garnet Joseph Wolseley, 1st Viscount Wolseley, KP, GCB, OM, GCMG, VD, PC (4 e 1833 – 25 March 1913)
  • Richard M Peter, first Hon Secretary I.A.S.A. (Born Co. Dublin c.1853–Died 6 March 1909)
  • Sir Henry Cochrane, 1st Baronet Cochrane of Woodbrook, Bray, Co. Wicklow ,  Governor Director Cantrell & Cochrane Ltd, Alderman of Dublin (21 December 1936–11 September 1904)
  • James MacGregor Millar, Hon Sec DU Rowing Club 26 years, Adam Millar & Co, Thomas Street, Licensed Grocers & Vintners Association  (27 September 1849–30 April 1891)
  • Joseph Hume Dudgeon, stockbroker - his father Henry James Dudgeon was also a stockbroker (4 January 1855–31 August 1923)
  • Charles Barrington, Irish Mountaineer (1834 - 20 April, 1901); replaced on his death by Gerald P O'Leary as a Vice-President [Irish Times June 1, 1901, page 4]
  • Sir Maurice Edward Dockrell, Irish businessman and politician (21 December 1850 – 5 August 1929)
  • Rt Hon Colonel Edward R King-Harman, MP, Irish Nationalist and Unionist politician, MP Dublin County 1883, Under-Secretary for Ireland 1887 (3 April 1838 – 10 June 1888)
  • Thomas Vance JP (8 Nov 1860), Merchant, Blackrock House, Dublin (24 August 1812–16 October 1889)
  • Edward H Andrews, JP (1914), President Dublin Chamber of Commerce 1918, Andrews & Co Tea Merchants, DL Dublin (1917), Senator 1920-22 (15 November 1858–23 October 1937)
  • Joseph V Lahiff, Solicitor (died 7 September 1940, St Stephen's Hospital, London)
  • Gerald P O'Leary, Bank Clerk (Born Co. Galway c.1862)
  • William Frank Beckett, quantity surveyor, father of Samuel Beckett (Nobel Laureate) [22 July 1871–26 June 1933)
  • Lewis HS Beatty, Merchant (Millar & Beatty, House Furnishers), died of influenza, Treasurer of the Memorial Park Fund to honour the fallen in WWI (Born Co Dublin c. 1869–13 January 1933)
  • William Randal Cecil Richardson, Solicitor (Born Co Antrim c. 1852)
  • Harold Percy Hodges emigrated to Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada in 1892
  • Michael Joseph Bulger (Born Kilrush, Co. Clare 15 May 1867-20 July 1938), was the Chief Medical Officer for the Marathon at the 1908 London Olympic Games and was famously involved in the disqualification of the Italian Dorando Pietri, who became an international celebrity as a result
  • Margaret Dockerell – first female Olympic swimmer for Ireland

For further information about Officers of Dublin Swimming Club 1881-1905 click here

This club history has been put together with contributions / sources from Fergus Barron, Cyril J Smyth, Fellow Emeritus, Trinity College Dublin, Paul Collins, Niall O'Sullivan, Sandra Trappe. It is in part thanks to archived materials provided by Mairin McDevitt and Robert Dunne in 2016, and a combined archive of materials from the late Neil Kennedy and Peadar Hyland, donated in 2017 by Mary Hyland.

Click [ here ] to hear a 2013 radio interview on Newstalk's 'Talking History' about open water swimming and Dublin SC.

Click here for the excellent Liffey Swim Wikipedia page which features a detailed history of this great event.

In 2016 Dublin Swimming Club established a club archive in Ireland. Newspaper clippings, gala programmes and more from the very early years had been kept in a scrapbook by an early member. This was passed down through a number of generations of club committees and to ensure its continued survival, the information is now located in the Dublin City Library sports archives at http://www.dublincity.ie/pearse-street-library. Those interested in viewing the archive can do so there. If you have old information or memorabilia we would love to hear from you also. Please contact the club at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . With the 100th Liffey Swim fast approaching, the club is especially keen to identify Liffey related materials and stories involving past members.

If you (re)joined Dublin SC in 1966-67 you would have read the following on your membership card:

Dear Clubmate,

You are now a member of the oldest and finest Club in Ireland.  You are asked to uphold its traditions in every way possible.

Your club colours are dark blue, light blue and white.

All Swimming Costumes should be of standard design and blue in colour.

All tracksuits should be dark blue in colour and bear the Club Badge.

Club blazers and scarves are also available.  You are requested to wear the Club colours whenever possible and to support all Club functions.

If you are a competitor in a race or a member of a water polo team you should arrange to be in attendance at least 10 minutes before the scheduled start in time.

The services of an expert coach or available to you every Saturday morning and you should avail of them.

Your attendance in Blackrock baths and your participation in the club races is particularly requested.  If you are a non competing member you are especially welcome.  If you are willing to help we have plenty of work for you to do.

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