An international morning to celebrate a very significant anniversary in the club's history - our return to racing twelve months ago.
Vanessa surprised herself and stormed home to claim the Doug Smith cup for New Zealand.
Alan Mitchell streaked in second for Scotland, Jaana Tarmar followed-up third for Finland whilst Brian Thomas flew the flag of St George two weeks too late but still squeezed into fourth place.
D-day veteran Doug Smith was a leading figure at the South London SC who swam with the Serpentine Swimming Club from 1956 until his premature death in 1967. During his time with us Doug strengthened the already close ties between the two clubs.
Also, a big thank you to the morning's wardens.
Victorious Kiwi Vanessa Marshall proudly holding the morning's trophy - the Doug Smith cup
The Doug Smith cup emphasises the Serpentine's long standing friendship with South London Swimming Club
Doug Smith joined our club in 1956. He was already an established member of the South London Swimming Club where he was a leading figure. In 1963 he was responsible for organising a gala open to all open water swimming clubs. Only the Serpentine Swimming Club turned up and ever since an annual gala between the two clubs is held in his name.
Doug was a sporting gentleman. He only ever complained about his starting mark when it was too good!
President Rob Ouldcott reported during the presentation ceremony that later this year Tooting Bec Lido (home of SLSC) will close to allow completion of essential maintenance. Rob said our club will do what we can to assist SLSC in completing their own fixture calendar. (Watch this space)
"Carter's Quarter" has been on the fixture card since 1997
Almost three decades with the club, which immediately commenced by being roped-in to train for a Channel relay
Eric joined the club in 1993 and immediately started training for a Channel relay with fellow Serpies Rosie George, Justin Fahy, Paul Hughes, Jeremy Hunter and Norman Jones. Sadly the sea conditions, though calm at the start, turned very rough which meant the attempt was cut short 8 miles off Cap Gris Nez. Not deterred, Eric went on to be part of a successful relay crossing in September 1994.
In 1996 Eric won the Winter Competition for the Fettes cup followed four days later by the Christmas Day race for the Peter Pan cup. A rare "December Double".
Eric has run over twenty marathons, on many occasions accompanying fellow Serpies such as Alan Lacy, Cyril Wood, Gordon Brodie and John Sextone. Eric was elected club President in 2007. Due to the unfortunate passing of Alan Titmuss near the end of Eric's three-year term the club invited him to stay in post for a further year, taking advantage of his strong and ever-present leadership qualities. The requirements of the ongoing management and administration tasks at this difficult time for the club's organisation meant the club AGM of 2011 asked Eric to see through to the end a second three-year term.
For more background on Eric's nye-on three decades with the club, and on the background to the Doug Smith cup please follow this link to last year's report on the race.
President Rob Ouldcott spoke of Eric's contribution to the club. He also told of Eric's many marathon achievements (running 20+) and of how he helped and encouraged many other club members in their distance running goals
Eric himself told tales of how it was, and how it is
And how it should be
Words of advice for future success for Vanessa
Second home, Alan Mitchell
Third place, Jaana
No photos on the morning of fourth prize winner Brian Thomas, so here is one from October 2016. A very young Hugo with sadly missed Hector.
Prior to the presentation Norman and Eric gave Rob last minute background on the cup's history
Mike Harris, too late to take part in the race, managed to capture Vanessa storming to victory
Race over and it is time to chat about tactics, training routines and nutritional advice. Nah! not really. If we were discussing anything to do with racing the topic would be how to try to fool the handicapper!
The first anniversary of our return to racing following the 14-month suspension due to covid restrictions saw the weather much kinder to us than it was last year