In the beginning…
The Club was founded in April 1931 as “Portland Baths Swimming Club” at Portland Baths, Muskham Street, Nottingham. It has a long history of swimming achievement and has operated continuously to the present day, with the exception of the war years from 1939 to 1946. “Nottingham Portland Swimming Club”, as it was re-named in 1968, attracts swimmers from all over the city and county suburbs.
Successful from the Start
The Club’s first Annual Gala was held only 5 months after it was inaugurated and some 420 tickets were sold. During its early years, Portland achieved considerable success, winning the local ladies league on several occasions. In 1936, the ladies team also won an open team race, involving neighbouring counties, at a gala in Skegness.
In 1953, a Portland swimmer raced in the 100 yards junior men’s breaststroke at the National Championships. The boys’ and girls’ teams came third and fourth respectively in the final of the ASA Midland District in 1955. In 1958, a Portland member saved someone from drowning in the River Trent. In 1968 it was actually one of the stated objects of the Club to reward members’ acts of bravery!
Portland swimmers won five out of fourteen races at the Notts ASA Group 1 Championship in 1961; they also achieved two second places and one third. A Portland swimmer also broke the Midland District 100 yards junior breaststroke record later in the same year.
Too Many Members?
In 1967, Portland swimmers were selected for the National Championships; one broke Midland District records and reached the 220 yards butterfly final. During the same year, a former Portland swimmer won a place in the Great Britain University team to swim at the World Student Games in Tokyo. He was also chosen for the Great Britain team to swim against the USA.
At this high point in national, county and local competitions the membership had risen to over 300 and the Club had to close to non swimmers. However, over the next two decades the fortunes of the Club declined; with membership down, there were insufficient members training to sustain gala competition and it was only the unselfish dedicated work of a small number of individuals that kept the Club going.
Over recent years, there has been a significant revival in fortunes. The Club is Swim 21 accredited and membership has grown considerably. Almost double the amount of pool time has been added to the calendar. The Club has maintained its family oriented aims but strong performances and commitment, from coaches and swimmers alike, has enabled the Club to increase the number of galas and compete in inter-club leagues at a higher level.
It is the hard work and care of coaches and parent helpers, along with the swimmers’ enthusiasm and good attitude that makes the Club successful, so long may the excellent teamwork and pride in the Club continue!