Vancouver Amateur Swimming Club

Vancouver Amateur Swimming Club group photograph, about 1910, Vancouver City Archives; CVA 1029-6; https://searcharchives.vancouver.ca/vancouver-amateur-swimming-club-group-photograph.

Vancouver Amateur Swimming Club group photograph, about 1910, Vancouver City Archives; CVA 1029-6; https://searcharchives.vancouver.ca/vancouver-amateur-swimming-club-group-photograph.

Henderson’s Greater Vancouver City Directory, 1917, page 816.

Henderson’s Greater Vancouver City Directory, 1917, page 816.

The Vancouver Amateur Swimming Club provided training for swimmers. It also organized water-based sporting competitions and social events.

Although the club started in 1905, it did not appear in the Vancouver directories until much later. The club was at 1885 Beach Avenue in 1917 and 1918. E. W. Dean was the president. Richard A.P. Margetson was the secretary.

From Vancouver’s early days, swimming was a popular sport. The most famous early swimming instructor was Joe Fortes.

Joe Fortes with two young girls in water at English Bay, about 1910; Vancouver Public Library, VPL Accession Number: 83598; https://www3.vpl.ca/spePhotos/LeonardFrankCollection/02DisplayJPGs/331/83598.jpg.

Joe Fortes with two young girls in water at English Bay, about 1910; Vancouver Public Library, VPL Accession Number: 83598; https://www3.vpl.ca/spePhotos/LeonardFrankCollection/02DisplayJPGs/331/83598.jpg.

In 1902, a group of swimming enthusiasts formed a club.

Vancouver Daily World, July 21, 1902, page 4, column 2.

Vancouver Daily World, July 21, 1902, page 4, column 2.

By 1905, a new English Bay Swimming Club was holding practices at English Bay.

Vancouver Daily World, August 18, 1905, page 11, column 2.

Vancouver Daily World, August 18, 1905, page 11, column 2.

In August 1905, the English Bay Amateur Swimming Club changed its name to the Vancouver Amateur Swimming Club. (Sometimes it was known as the V.A.S.C.)

Vancouver Daily World, August 19, 1905, page 15, column 4.

Vancouver Daily World, August 19, 1905, page 15, column 4.

One of the club’s specialties was water polo.

Vancouver Daily World, May 2, 1908, page 48, column 3 (first portion of article).

Vancouver Daily World, May 2, 1908, page 48, column 3 (first portion of article).

Many of the club’s swimming events took place in English Bay and in other open water areas.

Vancouver Daily World, July 2, 1915, page 10, column 6.

Vancouver Daily World, July 2, 1915, page 10, column 6.

Other swimming facilities appeared in Vancouver, including the Crystal Pool.

Crystal Pool, interior, 1929; Vancouver City Archives, CVA 99-2213 [cropped]; https://searcharchives.vancouver.ca/crystal-pool-interior-2.

Crystal Pool, interior, 1929; Vancouver City Archives, CVA 99-2213 [cropped]; https://searcharchives.vancouver.ca/crystal-pool-interior-2.

In the 1930s, the swimming club still had a presence at English Bay.

Vancouver Amateur Swimming Club, 1932 swimming season; Vancouver City Archives CVA 99-4182; https://searcharchives.vancouver.ca/vancouver-amateur-swimming-club-swimming-season-1932.

Vancouver Amateur Swimming Club, 1932 swimming season; Vancouver City Archives CVA 99-4182; https://searcharchives.vancouver.ca/vancouver-amateur-swimming-club-swimming-season-1932.

The club produced many talented and successful swimmers, and it was a dominant force in swimming competitions in the 1940s and 1950s. Its successors in Vancouver include the Dolphin Swim Club.

 

Sources

Speed Swimming, The Canadian Encyclopedia; https://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.ca/en/article/swimming-speed.

Local and Global Mermaids: The Politics of “Pretty Swimming,” by Laura Michelle Thomas, M.A. Thesis, University of British Columbia, 2001; https://open.library.ubc.ca/collections/ubctheses/831/items/1.0055492. Includes historical background of swimming in Vancouver.

“Fluid Dynamics; Water Theme Inspires Ladner Author to Organize Young Writers Contest,” by Philip Raphael, South Delta Leader, January 21, 2011, page 11; https://issuu.com/southdeltaleader/docs/jan212011. Describes a selection of Laura Thomas’s writings on synchronized swimming. Includes a photograph of Laura Thomas.

Canadian Dolphin Swim Club; https://www.teamunify.com/About.jsp?_tabid_=83256&team=cancdsc.