The West’s Past – Masters Swimming

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

It is only in the late 1970’s that masters swimming in Britain developed a following.
Several sponsored Masters tournaments were held in 1979. There was one in Gateshead and another in Dublin.
There was also one in Greenock which the sponsor asked Inverclyde District Council to organise.
The Greenock meet aroused a lot of interest amongst swimmers and showed the S.A.S.A. that there was a considerable demand for masters swimming. In addition, it was the only Scottish swimming event televised in 1979 and consequently it appeared to be a potential magnet for sponsors.
The Association responded by organising the first Scottish Masters Championships in 1980.
The second Championships were held in Ayr in 1982 and they have been held annually ever since. They have proven to be very popular.
In 1983 there were 150 competitors, 200 in 1984 and 237 in 1986. There was sufficient interest in 1986 for the Midland and West Districts to hold their own championships.
In the same year Long Course Championships were also introduced.
Some clubs have also actively promoted masters swimming.
Motherwell has been particularly prominent. After an intensive publicity campaign in 1983 it attracted over 45 swimmers who are now known as the ‘Motherwell Masters’.
Under the guidance of Gordon Colman, it has developed into one of the best clubs in Europe.
At the A.S.A. Masters Championships in 1985 Motherwell swimmers won 12 individual titles and in the same year at the first World Masters Games in Toronto they collected one gold and four silver individual medals.

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