In the beginning….
In 1936, Haslingden A.S.C. was formed with its constitutional aim of promoting the teaching and training of swimmers; to organise competitive swimming; and to teach methods of life- saving.
The chairman of Haslingden A.S.C was Mr. R Halstead, Mr. H Scowcroft was the club treasurer and Mr. J.R. Cronkshaw was the club secretary.
The opening Gala took place on Saturday 7th November 1936 and was opened by the Mayor, Councillor W.F. Thacker. According to the programme, which cost two pence, each competitor received a cup of HOT BOVRIL by courtesy of the sponsors Bovril Ltd, to ‘prevent that sinking feeling’.
The first club members were reminded that all competitors must touch the bath wall when finishing and wear Regulation costumes.
The programme included exhibitions by Oldham Police A.S.C. and the ornamental swimming club by Mr. Gerrards’ Troupe of Young Ladies, from Blackburn and of course a water-polo match to complete the action-packed evening.
It was not unusual for these festive and fun-loving galas, in the early days, to continue until 11′ o clock at night.
Then came the Second World War………………….
The only time that the Club’s activities were suspended was during the Second World War 1939-45.
1949 veteran’s race
‘Great cheers greeted the entry of four agile specimens of manhood, two of which proved their fitness by swinging Tarzan-like from the frame work of the diving board’.
… a Water Polo Match was brought forward on the Gala programme, to give the Colne players time to catch their train…….or was it time to buy the fish ‘n chips? In the fifties also, a professional paid coach was employed for a time….
In early 1970, the Club decided to enhance its professional image and chose purple as the Club colour. Following further adventures in Open water distance swimming such as Morecambe Bay and River Wharfe swims, the Club colour was changed to bright blue!
In the interest of safety the diving boards disappeared in the early 1970’s, but the fun and enthusiasm for swimming was well established in the Club.
In 1976, the 10 week lesson programmes for beginners and improvers began. This resulted in Club swimmers becoming younger and younger, so it was decided that races for the under 10yrs and under 8yrs should now be included in the Gala programmes.
1985 – This was a very good year for swimming, the annual Gala saw 20 records broken and high standards attained.
1986 – Saw the introduction of a more varied age group to the club, with the first ever break through into Masters Competition Swimming. In these events, swimmers ages ranged in 5-year bands from 25 years old up to 75+ years old for both men and women.
The annual Gala saw five long standing records broken by swimmers young and old!
A few years on from our anniversary year, HASC is competing in the North East Lancs Friendly League and this year we will be competing against Accrington, Pioneer79 Todmorden and Clitheroe, building on our past experiences, we should see some fine competitive swimming in 2013.