Rykneld Swimming Club get 50th anniversary year under way with gala

Rykneld Swimming Club in Clay Cross are celebrating their 50th anniversary with a year of events, which started with a memorial gala and nostalgic get together for its founding, past and present members.

By Mark Duffy
Friday, 11th February 2022, 9:48 am
Updated Friday, 11th February 2022, 9:48 am
The Rykneld SC team at the Midlands Regional Artistic Swimming Championships.
The Rykneld SC team at the Midlands Regional Artistic Swimming Championships.

The Hunt Gala, named after founder member Dr David Hunt, is an annual event in the fixtures calendar for Rykneld Swimming Club.

However, this year past Rykneld swimmers also fielded a team to take part alongside Ripley Rascals, Eckington and the main Rykneld squad, rather than watch from the pool balcony.

Prior to the gala, past members had the opportunity to reminisce over photographs and catch up with their old teammates.

Esmae Irons receives her Derbyshire Junior Grand Prix series medal.

It was a family affair for Margaret Roberts and her daughters Amy and Lucy, still actively involved with the club, who were amongst those who dug out their photo albums for the evening.

The gala proved to be an exciting evening of relay races, with Ripley Rascals coming first and Rykneld finishing second and fourth.

The Hunt Memorial Gala Trophy was presented to the Ripley club captain by the founding member’s daughters Carol and Sarah Hunt.

Sabine and Mark Crook, directors of Technique Learning Solutions Ltd and Rykneld Swimming Club’s new sponsors, presented Esmae Irons her silver medal and David Smurawa gold for second and first position respectively in their age groups at the Derbyshire Junior Grand Prix series.

David Smurawa receives his gold medal for his efforts in the Derbyshire Junior Grand Prix series.

Whilst all the competitive swimming squads and Learn to Swim pupils were celebrating at the home of Rykneld, Sharley Park Leisure Centre in Clay Cross; the club’s Artistic Swimming (Synchro) squad also had a fantastic end to the year by adding to their third place in the Combo Cup National Competition run virtually in December, with a bronze medal for the 15-18 team at the Midland Regional Championships.

Club chairman Mark Gill said: “Amidst the pandemic the entire club is immensely proud of the commitment and dedication of all involved especially the swimmers who continue to work hard and achieve great results in the pool.”