The Sidney Stovold cup 2021

A cup in memory of Sidney and Gladys Stovold, first raced for 59 years ago

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!"

Past president Mike -

First in (off at "go")

First out - a worthy winner

Man of letters, man of The Times

Man of letters, man of The Times

As if winning a cup on Saturday wasn't enough, Mike also appeared in the letters page of The Times the same morning

We were met by an autumnal, misty and evocative scene on the lake

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.

Alan Mitchell recalling club memories of the Stovolds, and Tory and Jonny Long

Having been presented with the cup by Tory, Mike recalled stories of Gladys - a lovely, traditional English lady

Second home, Tony Schiemann

Third place for Anita Goyos, who recently broke the Jersey to France record

Jonny post race, watched on by Hayden Turner

Jonny post race, watched on by Hayden Turner

"Tory married Jonny Long in January 2018 and they now have a son Archie. Jonny is very technically proficient, having flown helicopters with the Army Air Corps and now pilots passenger airliners. However, he is often as flummoxed as the rest of us when it comes to the weird and wonderful workings of the payment metres in the Serpentine car park."

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")

The start

The start

Gathering round, watching the early markers

Sir Anthony takes the plunge

A bit of a splash, whilst birthday girl Deirdre contemplates her toes

The back markers

Club champion Jesse Kelly finally gets the call from the starter, observed by Olympic photographer Anthony Wood

Race underway

Race underway

The 100m (110 yard) turn. The wildfowl feigned indifference.

Ellie taking time mid race to chat to Paddy

The finish

The finish

Mike, photobombed by a couple of non-racers

Birthday girl Deirdre (green costume) making her way out of the water

Looks like Natasha will soon be introducing another new member to the club

Eyes scanning the horizon for the final finishers

Jeremy and Lucy, finished at last

Rob Ouldcott and Alan Mitchell comparing notes at the finish. The big question of the morning - why is Rob still wearing his bicycle clips?

Sid Stovold died in 1962. Gladys returned every year up to 2010 to present the cup in his memory

Sid Stovold died in 1962.  Gladys returned every year up to 2010 to present the cup in his memory

1990, Gladys presenting the cup to winner Bill Phipps.

1994 winner Bill Deeley. On 28 September this year Bill became Grandfather to Sebastian and Theodore

In 1996 Gladys was joined by her sister. With Yvonne Wood, Yoko Reid, Cyril Wood, Bill Phipps, John Sextone, Mike Olizar, Frank Simms, Peter Larrad and Alan Lacy

2001 winner, Yuriko Sato. With handicapper Frank Simms, Gladys, Bill Phipps and Roy Wrey

The eagle eyed amongst you will have spotted the temporary structure of Prue Leith's short lived Serpentine Restaurant in the background of the 1990 photograph of Gladys with Bill Phipps

The eagle eyed amongst you will have spotted the temporary structure of  Prue Leith's short lived Serpentine Restaurant in the background of the 1990 photograph of Gladys with Bill Phipps

Opened in 1990 sadly it was not a success, especially outside of the summer season

It was dismantled in 1992

The Prue Leith restaurant replaced the Trusthouse Forte complex opened in 1964

The Prue Leith restaurant replaced the Trusthouse Forte complex opened in 1964

The THF restaurant was situated between the car park and the lake, overlooking Rennes' Bridge. Shut 1989, demolished soon after.

And finally - we were graced this morning by a visit from long term club member Alix Christie, who had just popped over the pond from California, via Germany

And finally -  we were graced this morning by a visit from long term club member Alix Christie, who had just popped over the pond from California, via Germany

By the time of the presentations and prize giving it seemed that San Francisco Dolphin Alix had brought the Californian sunshine along with her