The West’s Past – Diving

Extracted from “100 Years of Scottish Swimming” – Peter Bilsborough (1988)

Diving was introduced into the Olympic Games in 1904, but before this time graceful diving competitions were commonplace at club galas.
The first Scottish Graceful Diving Championship took place in 1889.
Between the wars Municipal authorities played an increasingly important part in recreational facility provision. They built public halls, libraries, parks and swimming pools to provide people with new recreational opportunities.
Public provision was at its height in the seaside resorts. Municipal funds were spent on promoting local leisure and recreational schemes to sustain a healthy local economic and social infrastructure and, in some cases, maintain civic pride.
A popular form of provision was the large open-air swimming pool in which diving facilities were often provided. Most were built in the thirties and by 1940 there were ten open-air pools with three metre diving boards.

During June 1954, S.A.S.A. organised a national course for swimming, water polo and diving coaches at Butlin’s Holiday Camp, Ayr.
Twelve candidates were awarded the Diving Instructors’ Certificate.
The results of all this activity were two fold. Firstly, by the early sixties there were enough good divers around to expand the domestic competitive programme.
Secondly, the standard of Scotland leading divers had improved considerably.
In 1951 James Amos had complained about ‘the serious lack of indoor diving facilities in the central Scotland districts’ and although a first class, self-contained facility
was built Edinburgh in 1970.
In 1973 Bill Black, the Association’s Secretary, wrote, ‘the diving fraternity are few in number and have an uphill task seeking facilities outside the Royal Commonwealth Pool.’
They still have cause for complaint.

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