Saturday 31 October would have seen us racing over 100 yards for the Louis Schendler bowl, presented since 2001 by his daughter, Bunny. The trophy is swum in memory of Louis, a member from the 1960s through to the new Millenium. The event is normally the last 100-yard race prior to the Peter Pan cup and a chance for some of the more naive racers to "show some slack" and attempt to pull the wool over the handicapper's eyes. Never a good move in the presence of eagle-eyed, scientific-minded Dani Lobo.
Louis, a psychologist dedicated to his patients
Louis was a midweek and weekend regular who joined the club in the 1960s. He was a psychologist who was so dedicated to his patients that he put off a necessary heart operation. Sadly, he died on the operating table when he eventually found the time to attend. It was often joked that Louis had a ready pool of subjects to study in the Serpentine Swimming Club changing room.
Louis was renowned for his baggy roll-neck sweater and open-toed sandals. Fellow members always knew when he was in the water as his clothes were neatly placed on the bench with his glasses sitting on top. Louis will live forever in the annals of Serpentine legend along with Bill Phipps. They were the original "wrong trousers" duo, not realising what had happened until they had both left the lake. This tradition was inadvertently revised in recent years by two current members.
2002 winner Nick Adams
2006, a very wet presentation
2006 winner, teenager Alice Richardson
2006, shouting the marks for the Louis Schendler 100 yards
2013 presentation by President Eric Carter
Eric and Louis were great friends
Louis lived locally (Bayswater?) and most early mornings would walk across Kensington Gardens with Eric Carter on their way to the lake chatting and putting the world to rights. Louis would stroll along in a baggy, roll neck jumper, open-toed sandles with his trunks rolled-up in a towel tucked under his arm. None of these fancy sports bags and dry-robes we see nowadays for Louis!
2011 winner Cyril Wood
2012 winner Cameron Kelly, with dad Sean and sister Caitlin
2012, young Olive takes a dip
Bunny, 2019. A gap between the autumn rains
Bunny and Olive are regular cold water swimmers
Bunny and daughter Olive are no strangers to all-year-round outdoor bathing, following Louis' footsteps. They both swim at the Kenwood ponds which are closer to home than the Serpentine.