Brilliant sunshine for the third leg of the club championship - to the end and back for the Ouldcott's Holliday Furlong

1/8th of a mile, one furlong, 220 yards, 200m (or even, as Robin informed us, 10% of a nautical mile) - it was down and back under a clear blue sky.

Prizes by Rob and Sarah Ouldcott.

Memories of previous sponsor Dave Holliday.

Big birthday surprise for James Lythe.

And thank you to our warden for the morning.

Third leg of the five race club championship series

Another beautiful spring morning witnessed the third leg of the club championship when the Luckhurst brothers again battled for club and family honours.

Rob Ouldcott was away tumbling down Alps getting wet in the snow, but heads-up breaststroker Sarah was with us to present the prizes for the first swimming of the race since they took on its sponsorship.

Past president Robin introduced Sarah and spoke of the Ouldcott's 10 years with the club.  He also recalled tales of the ever-companionable Dave Holliday, who sponsored this race since the 1990s until his sad death at the beginning of the covid pandemic.

Robin also announced that James Lythe was today celebrating a very big birthday.   The crowd marvelled at how young James looked for the reported sixty years, many thinking he didn't look a day over 55.  Robin's proclamation was indeed a massive birthday surprise for James, who according to his own calculations was only 50 years old!

Plus a big thank you to Ariane for wardening this Saturday.

The championship race underway

The championship race underway

The field still bunched as the contenders move past the 50m mark

Past president Robin told us of Rob and Sarah's past decade with the club

Past president Robin told us of Rob and Sarah's past decade with the club

Sarah spoke confidently to the gathered Saturday morning masses ..... as a teacher she is well versed in addressing a bunch of unruly children

The Oulcott's joined us 10 years ago, desiring to swim in non-chlorinated water. That summer Rob completed an English Channel solo crossing.

Rob, Sarah and daughter Lily joined the club in 2012 to swim outdoors in non-chlorinated water.   Said Rob with respect longer distance achievements - 

"It was only when I arrived and heard about the Channel swimming that I became interested. I blame Boris (Mavra) as he had a chat with me about it.  Nick (Adams) also persuaded me to sign up.

"Lily’s Channel relay swim was because she was crew on my solo and in her words “that didn’t look too hard”.  So I signed her up for a relay.

"Sarah is a devout heads up breaststroke swimmer who does not race, so perfect for the Serps"

Never one for the "usual", Rob was part of a 2015 Serpentine team that completed the first-ever butterfly relay of the English Channel.

Rob was elected onto the club committee in 2018 and this year succeeded Alan Mitchell as club President.

Dave Holliday had presented "inventive" prizes for this race since the mid1990s.

Dave Holliday had presented

The 2012 race, the year the Ouldcotts joined

Dave Holliday joined the club in 1980, one of a number of swimmers from South London Swimming Club who enjoyed the pleasures of the Serpentine whilst Tooting Bec Lido was under refurbishment and stayed.

Sadly Dave died of covid on Saturday 28 March 2020, ironically on what would have been the day of his race if the club fixtures had not been cancelled.

The Ouldcotts took on sponsorship of the race for 2021.  As our fixtures did not resume until May last year this was the first time they were able to present prizes.

For more detail on Dave Holliday (a true Serpentine "character") and also of Rob and daughter Lily's Channel exploits please follow this link to the "race we missed" report from last year -

http://serpentineswimmingclub.com/news/51088/the-dave-holliday-furlong-2021

Rob was quick off the mark in collecting silverware

Rob was quick off the mark in collecting silverware

Rob won the Sgt Thomas memorial cup on a bitterly cold and wet mid March morning in 2013

Two races. The first for those who fancied a private battle/mild plod. The second for the contenders of the "no-holds-barred" club championship.

Two races.  The first for those who fancied a private battle/mild plod.  The second for the contenders of the

First race underway

Gently gliding to the finish

Gently gliding to the finish

The fast race starts

The fast race starts

The view from the grass bank

The view from the grass bank

A bunched field

A bunched field

Towards the turn

Towards the turn

Will touched first; brother Alan a close second

Will touched first; brother Alan a close second

Though on the board for the off, Leanne and Andy held their own walking whilst talking event

Though on the board for the off, Leanne and Andy held their own walking whilst talking event

Time to get out

Essential cold water kit awaiting claim by competitors

Essential cold water kit awaiting claim by competitors

First home in the contenders' race, Will Luckhurst

First home in the contenders' race, Will Luckhurst

Second home, Alan Luckhurst

Second home, Alan Luckhurst

Some watched the presentations from on high

Birthday boy James with Robin, who had announced just what a "big milestone" birthday James was celebrating (a decade in advance).

Birthday boy James with Robin, who had announced just what a

Jon Benton joined the photo

A big thank you to Arian, our super efficient warden this morning

A big thank you to Arian, our super efficient warden this morning

"Yes, that's you"

Wardens are vital for the club

Helping them is also vital - many of us who have been members for decades can set an example by readily showing our pass even if we think anyone and everyone should recognise us

As recently explained by our Hon. Secretary Laure Latham in her email to all club members -

"The club has a responsibility to ensure that the only people who are swimming during club hours are members of the club. There are three reasons for this.

  1. Firstly, checking that swimmers are members is a condition of our licence with the Royal Parks.
  2. Secondly is the insurance of people swimming. Only members and their guests are insured in the event of injury.
  3. Thirdly is that we are a members-only club. It is our club.

"Each member will have received an electronic membership card which has their photo and a QR code. (Note that we are not currently checking the QR code.) If you still have card issues, please contact Tom (Elliot), our Membership Officer. 

"Until you receive your membership card, you need to show any confirmation that you paid to become a member this year; this includes a confirmation email of your membership renewal/application, a printed email of this or your pass if you are not using a smartphone.

"The wardens’ duty is to check that the photo matches the member and that it is this year's card (last year’s card had a blank background). The wardens’ other duty is to welcome the members and to ensure that new members understand the ethos and rules of the club.

"It is important to state that without the dedication and help of all the officers and wardens, who are all volunteers, there would not be a club. If we do not check membership, the Royal Parks have every right to revoke our licence and the club will have to close.

"Wardens are vital to the running of the club. We need wardens. You need wardens."

A link to the wardening diary has been sent to current club members.  Please sign-up to help the club.  Even if you can make only one session a month it will be greatly appreciated.

And finally. When Hugo met Dotty, the sequel.

And finally.  When Hugo met Dotty, the sequel.