The race we missed, Saturday 1 May - Mike Olizar's 440 yard race for the Maurice Ferris cup

Hopefully the races will soon be found and no longer be considered missing

Saturday's race would have been over 440 yards (400m) for the Maurice Ferris cup with prizes presented by past President and club Archivist and Historian Mike Olizar.

Plus a little bit on the Polish history of the club.

Maurice Ferris joined the club in 1926 and was club President 1968-1971

Maurice Ferris joined the club in 1926 and was club President 1968-1971

June 1939, Maurice second swimmer from the left

Richard Maurice Ferris joined the club in 1926.  He won the 1938 Christmas Day race and the 1966 Bridge to Bridge.  Maurice was club President 1968-71.  He was always affectionately known as part of the "Harrow Mob", along with Alan Titmuss, Teddy Bennion, Arthur Goffrey, and Jack Baker (Alan Titmuss’s uncle).  Before retirement Maurice worked at the Heinz factory in Harlesden and provided a plentiful supply of unwanted, dented tins of food to Alan Titmuss.  Alan always joked that though this was great, the tins did not have any labels so he and wife Paulette would never know whether they were opening baked beans, pilchards, peaches or treacle pudding!

Maurice's 1963 Stoter cup victory made the local press

Maurice's 1963 Stoter cup victory made the local press

Ted Stoter was the first Lido Superintendent when the Lansbury Lido opened to the public in 1930

Maurice with Sid Levy and Alan Lacy at the 1964 "Breaking the Ice" book launch

Maurice with Sid Levy and Alan Lacy at the 1964

Three club Presidents - Sid, 1962-1965; Maurice, 1968-1971; Alan, 1974-1977 and 1998-2001

Seven wise men and true gents of the club, 4th May 1968 (after the Clary Reed cup race)

Seven wise men and true gents of the club, 4th May 1968 (after the Clary Reed cup race)

L-R, Bill Reed, Tommy Carmody, Sam Youlton, Sid Richardson, Arthur Goffrey, Sid Levy, Maurice Ferris

Mike Olizar has been a valued club member since the "summer of love",1967

Mike Olizar has been a valued club member since the

Mike must have been quite camera shy in his first few years with the club as the earliest photo found is from July 1972 (with Jack Peckham and Arthur Goffrey)

Mike joined the club in 1967, aged 20.  Working in Victoria he would have a summer evening swim in the Lido on the way home.  It was the Lido Superintendent and club member Jock Fee that encouraged Mike to join the club and swim all year round.

Though Mike won the 1981 Peter Pan cup, he has never won a Christmas morning race.  The lake was frozen on the 25 December that year so the race was held the following February.

Mike has the honour of being one of the club's youngest Presidents (perhaps the youngest?).  He had just turned 42 when elected at the 1989 AGM.  Mike's professional career was in Highways Engineering.  He spent many years at the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham where, amongst other things, he was responsible for crowd safety at the annual Oxford v Cambridge boat race.  Mike is currently the club Archivist/Historian and is a font of historical knowledge regarding past club members and also Hyde Park.

Clary Reed cup winner, 1977

Caledonian Polish ancestry

Mike was born in Aberdeen to a Polish father and Scottish mother.  Mike writes:  "When in September 1939 Poland was partitioned between Germany and the Soviet Union several thousand Poles managed to escape via still neutral Roumania and Hungary to make their way to France where a Polish Government in Exile was forming and Polish forces formed to continue the fight.  In June 1940 France surrendered to Germany these Poles escaped again. Picked up from the coasts of France (long after Dunkirk ) by units of the Royal Navy and merchant marine and Polish ships some 30,000 Poles, my father amongst them, made it to Britain, the last bastion of freedom. The Polish Government in Exile now based itself in London.

"Most of the rescued soldiers would be sent to form the defence of a long section of the east coast of Scotland against a potential German incursion. This is where my father was stationed in late 1940. He would be one of some 3,000 Polish soldiers who married Scots girls. As a result, I was born in Aberdeen."

1981 Peter Pan cup, swum on 27 February 1982

1981 Peter Pan cup, swum on 27 February 1982

Worth the wait. Mike won our other Blue Ribbon event, the Bridge to Bridge, in 1997

Mike has been (almost) ever present on Christmas mornings since 1967

Mike has been (almost) ever present on Christmas mornings since 1967

No, not the All Clothes Race - after the Saturday race Mike headed off to the Trooping the Colour, June 1983

No, not the All Clothes Race -  after the Saturday race Mike headed off to the Trooping the Colour, June 1983

Maybe not morning dress, but Mike is always well presented for the All Clothes Race

Maybe not morning dress, but Mike is always well presented for the All Clothes Race

1985, with Bill Phipps

1989, with friends

Mike has always had strong family support (so strong they stay well wrapped up whilst daft Dad has a dip)

Mike has always had strong family support (so strong they stay well wrapped up whilst daft Dad has a dip)

January 1986. Daughters sensibly well wrapped up

1993, Christmas morning support from Sally and the gang

In March 1991 President Mike led the Serpentine's chilly participation in that year's BT Swimathon charity event

In March 1991 President Mike led the Serpentine's chilly participation in that year's BT Swimathon charity event

Under orders from Olympian Duncan Goodhew (plus random penguin who happened to be passing)

Duncan's helping hand. Serpentine SC member Duncan Goodhew has continued to be heavily involved with the charity and is Swimathon President

Serpentine SC has for many decades had a strong Polish connection

Serpentine SC has for many decades had a strong Polish connection

Mike's 1991 proud letter to a Polish magazine

In November 1994 Mike put the Daily Telegraph to rights regarding the history of brown bear Voytek, a member of the Polish army (22nd Transport Company of the Polish 2nd Corps.)

In November 1994 Mike put the Daily Telegraph to rights regarding the history of  brown bear Voytek, a member of the Polish army (22nd Transport Company of the Polish 2nd Corps.)

For many years Mike arranged for the club's AGMs to be held just across the park at the Polish Institute

For many years Mike arranged for the club's AGMs to be held just across the park at the Polish Institute

Mike is on the board of trustees

Many Polish memories

The club has, since the end of WW2, included many Poles within its membership.  Mike recalled a number of them:  "Stan Zoladz was an early morning swimmer from the early 1950s. He would share a 5am cup of tea and a cake with Lido Superintendent Jock Fee. Stan's wife worked in the bakery at Harrods. In those days staff were allowed to take home unsold cakes at the end of the day. Stan was captured by the Soviets in September 1939. When Germany turned on the Soviet Union in June 1941 some 70,000 Polish prisoners were released, allowed out of the Soviet Union, and were to form the Polish 2 Corps which fought in the Italian Campaign at Monte Cassino.  Wacek (pronounced Vatsek) a housekeeper just to the south of Hyde Park was another early morning swimmer. He was in the Polish underground during the War."

Many of our current, longer term, members will recall Chester Kozlowski, who continued to swim well into the 1990s.  Chester had served in one of the RAF's 14 Polish squadrons during WW2, flying many missions in Wellington bombers. Prior to escaping the Nazis Chester competed for Poland in the Olympic games (1928 and 1932?), giving Tarzan (aka Johnny Weissmuller) a good run (or should I say swim) for his money.

1985, Stanislaw Zoladz admires the Ted Stoter cup won by Mike Olizar. A cup also won by Maurice Ferris 22 years earlier, in 1963

1992

Olympian Chester Koslowski swam in the Serpentine well into his 80s

Olympian Chester Koslowski swam in the Serpentine well into his 80s

Chester was also a great coach to many club members, encouraging the likes of Jess Kelly and his brothers when they were very young. Mike Olizar recalls that when he asked for help, Chester turned with disgust saying" I've never seen anyone with less talent for swimming and there is nothing that can be done to help".

In October 1993 the Serpentine SC had its own world record holder

2002, Albert Wojtek won the Rosie George "Mile + 1 metre" race

Marcin Marczak joined us in 2001 when a student. He now lives in Kuala Lumpur, but did find time to visit us a few years ago.

Eric Carter won the Maurice Ferris cup in 2019 and has retained polishing and shining duties for another year

Eric Carter won the Maurice Ferris cup in 2019 and has retained polishing and shining duties for another year

No 2019 photo with the cup, so here is Eric serving at his fruit and veg stall in Queensway

A beautiful spring morning for the 2018 race

A beautiful spring morning for the 2018 race

Blue sky start

Bumping and boring in the fight for glory (of a 9th or 10th position)

Who pipped who?

Tranquility at the finish

The 2011 race saw what we consider to be our youngest ever cup winner. Laura Tomlinson came home first with but one week to go until the due date for the birth of her second son.

The 2011 race saw what we consider to be our youngest ever cup winner.  Laura Tomlinson came home first with but one week to go until the due date for the birth of her second son.

Congratulations from Sally Olizar