Daughter Theresa travelled up from South Wales to present the Bill Phipps cup the winner and to soon-to-be committee member Ilyan Kovatchev.
President Rob spoke of a man loved by fellow swimmers who sadly left us in 2009 but whose incredible life story lives on in "club collective memory".
An awful lot of the club's marathon swimmers were also present, ready to take part in a photoshoot to celebrate the club's induction into the International Marathon Swimmers Hall of Fame at a ceremony in Naples on the 7th May.
Bill's daughter Theresa, with President Rob, cup winner Ilyan and a table full of prizes
Bill Phipps, 1936 - 2009. Club member 1982 - 2009
Bill joined the club in 1982 and soon had us all in fits of laughter and merriment with his musical virtuoso performance on the nose flute and bicycle pump as well as his unique diving style (sideways-on, preceded by two or three stutters). He was never one to brag or embellish his background, but the more you spoke to him over the years the more you began to slowly understand the fantastic history that built this fantastic character. A character that, unsurprisingly, fitted in seamlessly with the Serpentine Swimming Club.
Please follow this link for further tales of Bill, his fascinating life story and of the smiles he brought to the faces of club members across three decades. This includes the tale of the wrong trousers - a tale never to be repeated, until it was!
Multi-tasking Bill had the 2002 Christmas party in stitches with his unique nose-flute and duck quack performance
A chilly, overcast St George's Day morning. Warmer in than out - water 13.6c; air 11c.
Rob Ouldcott recalling the legendary tales of Bill Phipps
An additional presentation - a very nice bottle of gin was received by Tony Schiemann as a thankyou for his six years service as Hon. Treasurer
In November it was announced that the Serpentine Swimming Club had been inducted into the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame
In readiness for the ceremony in Naples on 7 May many of the club's marathon swimmers (10,000m and more) were present for a photoshoot. Professional photographer and club member Anthony Wood gave up his time to capture the moment.
Announcing the news in November, Nick Adams wrote: "The Mission of the IMSHOF is to promote the benefits and importance of traditional and competitive marathon swimming as a key to fitness, good health, quality of life, and water safety.
"With 82 successful solo Serpentine SC, English Channel swimmers (between 1957-2021), and an abundance of swimmers who have successfully swam other stretches of water, we can feel happy that our club’s values are recognised and appreciated by the IMSHOF. "
Follow this link for the November announcement -
English Channel or Bridge to Bridge - what puffs the chest out furthest in front of your 7 year old?
The Bridge to Bridge has been an inspiration to many
In 1957 Gerald Forsberg, RN, was the first of the 82 Serpies to complete a successful solo swim of the English Channel. Forsberg's is one of several names from the Serpentine SC who are individual swimming honorees of the IMSHOF.
Despite Gerald's many marathon exploits, the Serpentine's Bridge to Bridge race always had a special place in Gerald's heart. Writing in 1963 ready for the club's centenary year, Gerald recalled -
"A week ago I was driving over the Serpentine Bridge. Nodding towards the other end, I casually told my children that this was my very first long-distance swim. 'Daddy,' said the 7-year-old daughter, 'did you really swim all that way?' Out went my chest and a glow of satisfaction spread through my being, “Yes!” The old magic is still there. And it always will be."
The Bridge to Bridge continues to inspire Serpentine swimmers onward to longer and greater things.