Tory and Jonny Long (and Archie) were with us to present the Stovold cup and prizes.
Mike Olizar, first in and first out, was victorious. Very fitting as Mike always asks very loudly "did I win?" at the end of each race, irrespective of how many swimmers were in front. Tony Schiemann and Anita Goyos achieved second and third place.
Mike Olizar - a man of letters and a man of The Times (read on to discover why).
Memories of an international class high diver, musings on Tory and Jonny, plus some information on previous Serpentine eating establishments.
Past president Mike - "did I win?". President Alan - "yes, by a country mile!"
Man of letters, man of The Times
We were met by an autumnal, misty and evocative scene on the lake
A happy winner
Mike Olizar was very happy and honoured to win the Stovold cup. Though never to meet Sidney, who died suddenly in 1962 aged 51, he would often give a lift to Gladys on the morning of her race.
At the presentation President Alan Mitchell recalled club memories of Sid and Gladys, with enthusiastic additions and embellishments provided by past President Mike Olizar.
Sid was a high diver of national standard, being a member of the Highgate London Diving Club. Sid had an incredible sense of balance and there are stories of him walking out from the changing room on his hands, onto the Serpentine diving board and then gracefully entering the water. On their seaside honeymoon in 1955 Sid performed his handstand act on a cliff edge. Gladys recalled that she did not react as her normal quiet and graceful self. It is safe to say that Sid never repeated it again (at least not on a clifftop).
Though their marriage was tragically cut short, Gladys continued to support the club right up to her passing in 2011. Gladys unexpectedly left a very generous bequest to the club in her will. This helped enable various improvements to the changing room in the "20 teens". When we get back in the changing room and you make yourself a hot drink, quietly think of Gladys and Sid whilst you sip your sustenance on a frosty morning. Tory Long (nee Thorpe) has sponsored the race since 2011.
The Stovold cup was one of the first in the "race we missed" website series reported during the Covid19 suspension of races. This link will take you to the story, which includes details of Tory's 2013 successful English Channel swim.
Jonny post race, watched on by Hayden Turner
Tory joined us in 2008
Tory is quite private when it comes to talking about herself and doesn’t like a huge fanfare. A "close friend" however did not hold back -
"Tory joined the Serpentine Swimming Club in 2008. She had moved to London and was looking for somewhere to swim. She stumbled upon the Serpentine and her open water career started. The first person she met in the club was then President Eric Carter, but that did not put her off! Tory had not always been a massively keen mid-winter swimmer, but since (then fiance) Jonny joined the club the rivalry keeps her going as she never wants to be left behind (and likes to win :)
"She says she was so lucky to find the Serpentine and she feels privileged to not only be able to sponsor the Stovold cup, but be a member of the Serpentine family. The club and it’s members have always felt like family and she is now so excited that her own little family are growing up with the club in their lives.
"Some brief detail of Tory’s swimming accomplishments:
-Joined Serpentine in 2008
-Swam Lake Zurich in 2011
-Swam the English Channel on the 13th August 2012 in a respectful 12 hours 14 minutes and 10 seconds
-Swam the Rottnest Island swim (Australia) in 2015
-Looking forward to another ‘challenge’ in the next couple of years, as if becoming a mother wasn’t challenging enough :)"
Anon ("close friend")