In 1973 a group of parents were approached by Penketh Parish Council to ask for their help in starting a swimming club for the children and people of Penketh and surrounding area's. The parents who all had children aged between 0 – 16 years were also involved in other group associations such as Cubs/Scouts, Brownies/Guides and local church groups like the Boys Brigade & Ladies Club. All groups had close links to the Penketh youth and community association of St Josephs Church.
After a slow start to the groups' development, twelve months later the group had established a regular weekly attendance and it was seen that the founding committee needed to take action to organise the group more effectively. In November 1974 Penketh Swimming Club was born.
Operating weekly and being taught by parents and other local volunteers, none of the coaches were professionally qualified. The club has always held the objective that we are a non competitive voluntary teaching club; teaching swimming and safety skills and also allowing children to develop social skills and have fun in a safe environment.
Throughout the 1970's and early 1980's the club had many rocky moments such as pool closures for many months on numerous occasions due to old boiler problems and building issues. There were also financial problems with inflation throughout the year which meant that the clubs treasurer had to ask for additional fees mid term due to the prices being too low to cover all basic operational costs.
Towards the end of the 1980's the club classes were restructured meaning there was finally an organised format for swimmers to move through the club. This format based on timed swims over 1 and 2 lengths also took in to consideration a child's age & ability and this in turn simplified the choices of skills awards studied by a particular group. This format is still in use today and has been changed only slightly due to some awards being discontinued.
Today poolside coaches are still recruited from parents of current swimmers and adults who learnt to swim with the club over the years. Some swimmers upon reaching the age of 16 request to stay on with the club to become trainee teachers; in return, should any of the coaches wish to gain a recognised qualification in teaching swimming, the club can help towards the overall coast of courses in return for a minimum coaching period. This allows the clubs' current members to benefit from the contribution. As we are a voluntary not for profit organisation with a structured lesson plan, it is not necessary for every member of the coaching team to be qualified; we just need people who have the ability to assist groups of swimmers to progress whilst under close supervision.
Over the years the club has enjoyed many Christmas pantomime trips, Penketh carnival walking tableaux with the Penketh Swimming Club float, club carol singing linked with St Joseph's Church, leisure centre trips to Fordton Leisure & Broomfields and swimming galas with the former Greystead Heath. We've had quiz nights and race nights, birthday celebrations and even new years' eve parties. All events have been organised by volunteers of the club committee and additional help from parents of swimmers and all with one thing in common, preserving the future of the club.
Today, while the club continues to run successfully, there is a great change in the format of the committee to ensure it can survive in the modern twenty first century.