The Yeovil Men’s Swimming Club was formed in 1889. From Somerset County records it is known that the Water Polo section of the men’s club was a member of the County Water Polo Association in 1901 as its team was drawn against Weston super Mare in a Junior Championship in that year.
A Mr AJ Wright was elected to the County Executive in 1904. The Yeovil Ladies SC was formed on May 13th 1908 at the Boro Restaurant.
From minutes dated 1909 it elected two members of the Yeovil men’s club to assist in running galas in 1909. The men elected were Mr P Gaylard and Mr Perry. From that date there were 2 joint galas each year in the initial swimming pool in Felix Place (now the car park adjacent to Tescos).
The first record of the Yeovil Ladies Club being affiliated to the County is at the County AGM in 1920 when this Club was shown to have paid the affiliation fee of 12 shillings & 6 pence.
On 13th October 1962 the two Clubs celebrated the opening of the new Huish pool in the same area of the original pool with a grand gala involving an inter-county contest, the Somerset County diving championships and a junior water polo competition between Somerset and Dorset.
Families who were prominent in various positions within the Club, County and District since the second world war until the 1980’s were the Halletts, Hambletts, Wilson-Chalons, Whites, Pitkins, Cookson and Vincent.
Peter Wilson-Chalon took over as Chief Coach of the Men’s SC in the 60’s until the clubs amalgamated in 1974 when he became Chairman and President. In the 1980’s When Pete moved onto other involvement within swimming, the club made him an Honorary Life member. He served on the ASA Swimming Committee and ASA Selection Committee. Pete was also the ASA Intermediate Team Manager and took 2 GB Junior teams to the European Championships. He has successfully coordinated the ASA South-West Swimming School at Bryanston for over 25 years. 2010 was Pete’s last year at Bryanston.
In 1974 the inaugural meeting of the Yeovil District Swimming Club (YDSC) took place at Fairmead School when the mens and ladies Clubs became one. Had the two original clubs remained separate then they would have celebrated their centenary in 1997.
After the two clubs amalgamated it was the opinion of the committee that they should look to other areas to improve the standard of swimming. A team with supporting staff therefore were guests of the Club Nautique, Le Harve 1970 and then guests of the club ESMGO Gonfreville L’Orcher. This proved a great success as there were home and away visits for five years. The club had Diving, Water polo and Synchronised Swimming sections alongside the normal teaching and competitive sections. The club’s first Chief Coach was Maureen Pitkin.
Derek White took over as Head Coach 3 years later and remained in the post until 2003. His wife Doreen was the clubs’s secretary for 25 years. The new club matured into a strong swimming force in all disciplines and the competitive swimming section really took off.
One of the clubs ventures was to run an open meet at the Huish Swimming Pool held over the Friday, Saturday and Sunday of the Easter weekend and became recognised as one of the best open meets in the country with international swimmers such as Sharon Davies and Duncan Goodhew attending.
The seating gallery of the Huish pool held over 350 spectators and the club entertained over 1200 swimmers with many of them getting National qualifying times. Teams of enthusiastic parents and officials supported by Derek White managed the event. The club held 13 Easter Swim Festivals before the Huish Swimming Pool had to close and the current one at Goldenstones was built. Unfortunately, with the closure of the Huish pool, diving, water polo and synchronised swimming also came to an end along with the Easter Swim Festival.
In 2005 YDSC entered into exciting partnership negotiations with SASP (Somerset Acitivity and Sports Partnership) and SSDC (South Somerset District Council). All 3 partners committed to employing a full-time swimming professional to develop competitive swimming in the area whilst based at YDSC.
Alex Pinniger became the clubs’ first full-time professional head coach in 2006. The new programme has grown quickly and strongly performing excellently at regional and national levels. New initiatives include an annual training camp to Mallorca. In December 2010 Alex left YDSC to take up a new role at the City of Norwich SC, so YDSC in partnership with South Somerset District Council began their search for a new head coach; a process that took six months to complete.
Mark Rawle was appointed to the Head Coach position in September 2011; restructuring of the club took place with new initiatives set. YDSC joined the Swim21 network group and for the first time began actively working with other clubs in the area with the aim of producing fitter and better prepared young swimmers. Mark left YDSC to take up a full time role at Sherborne Girls School in the summer of 2016.
Rebecca Richards became the club’s third full-time coach with effect from September 2016 and instigated a rigorous programme of training schedules and selected swim meets along with club championships and time trials. Rebecca left in February 2018 to take up the role of Head Coach of Southampton Dolphins.
In April 2018, Waterpolo was restarted with the passion of Rachel Middlemast and Hannah Taylor. Rachel, is the Director of Sport at Westfield Academy and has been playing at a high level for over 25 years. Hannah, a local shiatsu practitioner, has participated in the sport in both the UK and Australia for over 30 years. Both are on a mission to bring the game to the local area and spread the word about the many benefits of this exciting sport.
Ian Angell became the club’s fourth full-time coach in May 2018. He came to the club as Assistant Head Coach in January 2018, after Rebecca Richards left he took up the reins as Head Coach.
Ian started his swimming career as an assistant teacher with Frome in 1995 before moving to Yorkshire and completing his swimming teacher qualification working in Harrogate. Whilst there he completed his Club coach qualification and became head coach of Thirsk Swimming Club in 2004. After some time overseas he worked as Head Coach at Street and Wellington clubs before coming to Yeovil. He also has a diploma in sports psychology and has recently completed his senior coach qualification and is a trainer assessor for the Royal Lifesaving Society.