The West’s Past – Synchronised Swimming

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

The United States and Canada have played a leading role in the development of synchronised swimming.
During the twenties, groups of American and Canadian women developed aspects of life-saving and graceful swimminginto artistic activities.
It was 1963 before the S.A.S.A. established a committee to ‘explore the question of synchronised swimming’. Unfortunately, no meetings were held and the Association gave the sport little attention.
At Club level, however, there were some enthusiasts.
Mary Black at Clydebank A.S.C. showed a particular interest.
In the early sixties she attended several A.S.A. synchronised swimming courses at Crystal Palace where she was able to study the latest techniques and developments and forge links with English coaches and teachers.
She brought a lot of new ideas back to Clydebank and tried them out with her rhythmic swimming team.
The Association resurrected its interest in synchronised swimming in 1968 partly because of an expanding grass-roots interest and partly because it wanted to add a little variety to some of the ‘rather light’ and monotonous swimming sessions at the 1970 Commonwealth Games.
Arrangements were made to train a team for the Games and a Synchronised Swimming Committee was constituted to organise and promote the sport.
Mary Black was asked to take charge of both. Her ‘synchronised swimming girls’ trained on a regular basis and gave some delightful performances at the Games.
In 1976 a trial Inter-Club event was arranged and the following year it became an annual Inter-District event. Initially it was for holders of Award Grades 1 and 2 but in 1978 another competition for Grades 3 and 4 was added.
At the same time an Inter-Club Championship for the Mary Black Rosebowl was started.

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