learn to swim

History of Our Club

`Reach, Throw, Wade, Row’

The Loddon White Dolphin Swimming Club was officially launched on Saturday 1st September 1975, continuing for a while as a Saturday morning class for 7 – 14 year olds concentrating on stroke technique and life saving skills.

Members were an off-shoot from the then Loddon School Swimming Association which had been in operation for the previous three years, teaching swimming to adults and children. During those three years 1,000 adults and a similar number of children have been taught to swim and survive. The Association was formed by local enthusiasts and Ted White was asked to take over as swimming tutor and chairman. As Ted was then also secretary of the Norfolk Royal Life Saving Society and Water Safety Officer, there was a natural progression from teaching and perfecting of swimming strokes to water safety skills. `Teaching a child to swim without teaching water safety was like teaching someone to shoot without showing them the safety catch’ , said Ted.

`Reach, Throw, Wade, Row’ became the quote of the day. Children were encouraged to practise their skills, the accent always being to make the lessons `fun’ but with a stern reminder of the purpose of the lesson.

The sessions grew in numbers, aged now from 5-20 yrs, the older pupils staying on in the club to compete and help with the coaching of the younger ones. Some obtaining their Assistant Teachers or Teacher qualification.

Ian Moir who was then the Swimming Teacher at the Hobart School where Ted was in charge of P.E helped with classes. Ian was also an expert on deep water survival and went on to become Tutor-in Charge of the Marine School at Lowestoft College.

Eventually, permission was obtained for children of 3 years to be taught swimming in the pool if accompanied by a responsible adult. This was the beginning of the `Tots Survival Swimming Club’ and children progressed naturally to the White Dolphin when they were swimming confidently and aged 5. The Tots, originally on a Saturday in the morning and now on a Wednesday evening became `Parent and Toddlers: Tiny Tots’.

Although not primarily a competing club, there are, and have been previously, extremely good swimmers who have made swimming an important part of their lives, these were able to compete at Club and County levels. The accent has always been on `sportsmanship’ and `doing one’s best’. Winning becomes an added bonus.

The White Dolphins were always popular opponents at other clubs. Any member who wishes to compete and shows the necessary ability and interest is encouraged and is put in contact with Beccles Kingfishers where they can train for competitive swimming. At present many of Beccles’ top swimmers continue to swim at the White Dolphins where they were first taught and encouraged.

Sadly Ted White passed away in 1989 after fighting a long illness. Pam Stone, who was a very close friend to both Ted and his wife Betty, fulfilled Ted’s wishes by taking over the club. Pam’s role as Club President – together with son Mark Stone as Club Chairman – has been made easier by the excellent support of the committee who with the support of the parents have been able to keep the `fun’ element in swimming. The support of the committee has been very important as the club continues to grow with at present approximately 420 children in the club and an ongoing waiting list.

Yes, we do have other activities including a Christmas party and disco and sponsored swim. Every year club galas are held, where club trophies are awarded for Sportsmanship, Tenacity, Good Effort, Positive Attitude and Determination to name but a few. Some of the trophies are to be retained by the winner for one year and other trophies in the form of badges, ribbons, medals are awarded to be kept permanently by the winner. Every child that enters the galas receives a ribbon, irrespective of where they finish.

One of the proudest moments in the clubs history was when it was awarded the Brumhead Trophy in 1984. This is an award given by the Royal Life Saving Society annually for the club which contributes most to life saving work and examinations over the year and is almost always awarded to large sports centres. However the club was awarded the trophy in 1984 with 2,234 points – 354 points more than the runners-up Breckland Sports Centre.

The club is non-profit making, with Ted always feeling that one’s pleasures should be shared by those less fortunate and to this end donations to charities have been made at regular intervals. As a result NSPCC, Rheumatism/Arthritis Dept, Priscilla Bacon Lodge, Big `C’ , Guide Dogs for the Blind, Loddon Day Centre, Greenpeace, Addenbrookes, Matthew Green Memorial Fund (Royal Marsden Hospital), East Anglian Air Ambulance, Ted Ellis Trust, Loddon Fire Brigade, Loddon Surgery and others have been the recipients of generous donations over the years.

Ted’s tradition continues and in 2009 White Dolphins began actively fund-raising for the Hobart Pool Appeal towards the approx. £460,000 badly needed for major work to replace the pool building, heating/ventilation unit and changing facilities. Fantastic support from White Dolphin’s parents, local organisations and past swimmers resulted in a total of approx £28,000 being raised. Hobart High School has always been supportive and has encouraged the Club’s activities and aims – and we are very grateful for 4 ½ years of tireless work by Ex-Head Teacher Mr Robson and Hobart Governors to secure funding and permission for the work which was completed in May 2011 and resulted in a superb, environmentally friendly, pool environment.

January 2010 saw White Dolphins affiliated to ASA (Amateur Swimming Association) giving the club benefit of access to the national swimming body and an opportunity to work towards Swim Mark: a nationally recognised standard of quality service; Sport England recognition of a safe, effective and child friendly club and use of best practice resource materials to enable us to help swimmers achieve their full potential.

At the end of 2021 the club were proud to have been awarded Swim Mark – a further recognition of all the hard work the club put in to ensure they provide the very best experience for all swimmers. 

The club is very proud of its history and with the on-going support of the committee and parents the club continues to go from strength to strength.