880 yards (800m) for the Sid Levy cup, presented by the Adams family

Still no speeches, but young Chloe made

Sidney Levy joined the club in 1923 and served as President 1962-65, covering our 1964 centenary celebrations

Sidney Levy joined the club in 1923 and served as President 1962-65, covering our 1964 centenary celebrations

December 1954. Sid was a strong and steady breaststroker.

Sid the centenary president with deft political nous

Sid joined in 1923 and faithfully served the club for over 60 years, celebrating his membership diamond jubilee in 1983.  In 1955, following the death of Albert Greenbury the Club's President for twenty years, the committee decided to limit the number of years served in office. A term of three years was instigated and agreed with great political skill and foresight by Sid, whose presidential term quite “coincidentally” covered the club’s centenary year in 1964.  Perhaps Sid’s nous stemmed from being a long-serving representative on Holborn borough council, where he was credited with rejuvenating a derelict World War 2 site into the Oasis Swimming Pool.

Writing in the mid-2000s, Alan Titmuss recalled Sid as a popular member who was unable to give less than 100% effort to anything he undertook, including the photographic shop he owned in Leather Lane. His boast was that “it was the best shop in town” and nobody would ever disagree.  Committee meetings were held there, with beer and sandwiches followed by cine films of Sid's latest trip.  Sid had walked into a plate glass window and his optician recommended he see a bit of the world before he lost his sight totally.  He might have been good at selling cameras but not at using them. He didn't believe in keeping the camera still and letting the subject move.  The committee was treated to reel upon reel of Sid on safari with herds of wildebeest trekking across the plains, all going in the opposite direction to Sid's camera.  The result being that most of the committee dropped off to sleep!   AGMs were held at Sid's Willesden home where his dining room was large enough to seat the whole club (in the late 1960s).  Down the length of one wall was a large black trophy cabinet, which wouldn't have been out of place in a top-flight football club’s trophy room.  Rumour had it that an RSJ had to be installed to support all the silverware he had won over the years.   Although his eyes were deteriorating fast he still drove to the lake, going miles out of his way to follow a carefully chosen route of one-way streets around London. 

Sid died in 1984.  His daughter Ann continued to visit the club to present both cup and prizes for many years.  Sadly the club lost contact with Ann and the Levy family in the late 1990s.  Nick Adams and Sakura Hingley (now Mrs Adams) have sponsored the race since 2011.

Lucy Harris won her first club silverware, presented with pride by Chloe Adams

Lucy Harris won her first club silverware, presented with pride by Chloe Adams

Lucy's grandfather Albert and his two brothers joined the club in 1909. Lucy has been racing with us since 2017.

Cup winner Lucy with the Adams family - Chloe, Sakura, twins Ben and Seb, Nick, and not forgetting Poppy the Pointer

Cup winner Lucy with the Adams family -   Chloe, Sakura, twins Ben and Seb, Nick, and not forgetting Poppy the Pointer

Lucy and Jeremy, aquatic soul mates

Lucy and Jeremy, aquatic soul mates

Jeremy came in a gallant second in the race

Nick and Sakura - a long distance swimming pair whose 2013 wedding (by pure coincidence?) was on the 138th anniversary of the day Captain Matthew Webb left Dover to become the first to swim the English Channel

Nick joined the club in 1992, aged 14  and has proved to be one of the UK's most formidable long-distance swimmers, completing numerous Channel crossings and many other amazing swims -  Catalina Channel (California), Robben Island (South Africa), Strait of Gibraltar, Manhattan Island (New York) circumnavigation to name but a few.  Nick was inducted into the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame in 2013.

Sakura joined us in 2002 whilst studying medicine at Imperial College.  She was captain of the IC swimming team under coach Norman Jones.  With such a coach Sakura had no option but to agree to swim with us in the Serpentine, come wind, rain and shine.  The waters of the Serpentine gave Sakura the long-distance bug and in 2005 swam the Channel in a very respectful 11 hrs 08 mins.  Like Nick, Sakura has also completed the 28.5 mile Manhattan circumnavigation, Catalina Channel (20 miles), Strait of Gibraltar (9 miles) amongst other achievements.  Sakura has also completed a number of marathons and the Bolton Ironman (1.2 mile swim, 56 mile cycle, 13.1 mile run) which Sakura described as "tougher than the English Channel".

Late autumn, 1925. Sid first on the left.

Late autumn, 1925.  Sid first on the left.

President Sid speaking at the 1964 launch of the "Breaking the Ice" book

President Sid speaking at the 1964 launch of the

1977, Sid was victorious in the Veterans' race

1977, Sid was victorious in the Veterans' race

1981, Sid presenting the Fred Houghton cup to Ashwin Pandya

1981, Sid presenting the Fred Houghton cup to Ashwin Pandya

For many decades Sid sponsored a half mile race for the Fred Houghton cup, a long serving member who was club handicapper 1914 - 1933.

1912, Fred Houghton on the left.

1912, Fred Houghton on the left.

Fred and fellow club members. Look closely and you will see that Fred is holding his small dog "Check" on his right knee.

For those wondering why we are going off on a tangent .... third from the left, next to Fred Houghton is Albert Greenburg, grandfather of today's winner Lucy Harris

For those wondering why we are going off on a tangent ....     third from the left, next to Fred Houghton is Albert Greenburg, grandfather of today's winner Lucy Harris

This photo is from 1913, prior to the "undressing in deep water" race.

Sid celebrated 50 years with the club in October 1973

Sid celebrated 50 years with the club in October 1973

Some interesting hair styles on show.... we were a trendy bunch back then! (L to R Sean Kelly, Brian Thomas, Dave Williams, Sid Levy, Bill Harman, Jack Peckham (making presentation), Tony Radford)

As reported in Sid's local paper, the Willesden and Brent Chronicle

As reported in Sid's local paper, the Willesden and Brent Chronicle

In 1983 Sid celebrated 60 years swimming in the Serpentine and was presented with a silver tray hand made by our own Bill Phipps

In 1983 Sid celebrated 60 years swimming in the Serpentine and was presented with a silver tray hand made by our own Bill Phipps

Mario McClarnon piped Sid onto the floor. Senior club member Arthur Goffrey made the presentation.

Sid joined us on Christmas morning 1983 (second from the left)

Sid joined us on Christmas morning 1983 (second from the left)

He did not swim though - summer only by then

Sid died in 1984. For many years his daughter Ann presented the cup for Sid's half mile.

Sid died in 1984.  For many years his daughter Ann presented the cup for Sid's half mile.

1986 winner Bill Thompson. Though Bill no longer races he is very much still an early morning regular.

A dedicated Sid Levy cup was introduced in the early 1990s

A dedicated Sid Levy cup was introduced in the early 1990s

1993 winner, silversmith Bill Phipps

Nick Adams - first Channel swim of many, 1993

Nick Adams -  first Channel swim of many, 1993

In 1995 Nick, aged 19, became the youngest person to complete a two way Channel swim. His time was 27 hrs 28 mins (split 11:40/15.48).

Nick won the Christmas Day race for the Peter Pan cup in 1995

Nick won the Christmas Day race for the Peter Pan cup in 1995

Nick followed up with another Peter Pan win in 2002

Nick followed up with another Peter Pan win in 2002

Nick pipped Yoko across the line in a club record 57 seconds for the 100 yard race

December 2003, Nick with club favourite Bill Phipps made it into Time Out

December 2003, Nick with club favourite Bill Phipps made it into Time Out

Shame they misspelt James Barrie's name.

Not to be outdone, Sakura won the Peter Pan race in 2018

Not to be outdone, Sakura won the Peter Pan race in 2018

Big hug for piper Lachlan, whose playing spurred on Sakura

Big hug for piper Lachlan, whose playing spurred on Sakura

Albert Greenbury and family took over the Christmas Day presentation of the Peter Pan cup from Sir James Barrie in 1933. Lucy is a Greenbury.

March 2011, Sakura in the sun bleached grip of Tony Cuthbert

March 2011, Sakura in the sun bleached grip of Tony Cuthbert