8am Saturday would have seen three scratch races. First for the genteel and gracious, though competitive, gliders. Second for the fair-to-middling who like a challenging splash and thrash. Third for the sharp-elbowed wannabe club champions who expect and show no quarter.
Since 2005 prizes have been presented by the Hunter-Coddingtons. No races in 2021. New prize giver for 2022.
Jeremy and Robin go retro, Christmas 2003
On the board for the start of the 2003 Peter Pan cup
Over the past decade Ingrid and Jeremy have acted as official club photographers on Christmas morning
Jeremy joined the club in 1977. followed by elder brother Robin in the late 1990s and Ingrid (Jeremy's wife) in 2000. They took on sponsorship of the 110-yard scratch races in 2005. Prior to this the club secretary, Alan Titmuss, would rustle-up prizes for the race winners on behalf of the club. (Rumour had it, never denied by Alan, that he had a stash of prizes won in previous races ready to recycle for such occasions).
Robin is our immediate past-President, serving us admirably between 2016 - 2019.
2008 prize giving, with President Eric Carter
Party animal Robin strutting his stuff at the club's 150th anniversary dinner, 2014
2017, Robin delivered his Christmas speech from on high
The club championship
Saturday's 110 yards (100m) event would have been the second of five scratch race distances that decide our club champion.
The championship is swum over a series of five scratch races during winter, spring and summer over varying distances as the water (hopefully) warms up. February 55 yards (50m); early March 110 yards (100m); late March 220 yards (200m); April 440 yards; culminating in the 880 yards (800m) race in July for the honour of winning the Arthur Goffrey cup.
Will Luckhurst, 2020 110 yards winner
A cup awarded, but not for a race.
2006 start of the "slower" race
2020 race start
Since 2009 Jeremy and Ingrid have hosted an August race event open to Serpentine swimmers, amongst others, in the River Nene adjacent to their Northamptonshire home
Ready for the off
The start of the River Nene swim
A very beautiful course
2015, Ingrid presenting one of her own hand crafted mugs to Sarah Legrand
Robin was part of the 2010 "Serpentine Veterans'" Channel relay team
Team member Sir Anthony Cleaver recently recalled the event:
"The idea of doing a channel relay came about as a result of several of us older members chatting in the changing room in 2009. We managed to get a slot in September 2010 and started swimming longer distances more often.
"Under advice from the experts like Nick Adams, we decided to have a reserve in case any of us was unable to swim on the day. The seven members were George Cselko, Robin Hunter, David Mackertich, Alan Mitchell, Matthew Moroney, Geoff Ransome and myself, the oldest at 72.
"Having qualified at Dover Harbour - the 2 hour swim there is still the longest I have done - we were finally called to Dover at 5 am on September 21st 2010. All seven of us turned up and it seemed unfair not to allow our reserve to swim, so we persuaded the official Observer to approve the team of seven, agreeing that we wouldn’t be able to claim a record - never a possibility in any case. When my turn came to swim, the Pilot and the Observer both commented that it was the first time they had seen anyone swimming side-stroke in the channel.
"We were very fortunate with the weather but it was very late that evening when David Mackertich walked ashore near Cap Gris Nez., having taken 15 hours and 12 minutes.
The return trip was enlivened by celebrating Robin’s birthday, with the champagne opened at one minute past midnight.
"The Vets subsequently became part of the club’s establishment, providing a treasurer, a secretary and two presidents but still no winner of the Christmas Day race."