Talking Sport with Stephen Glennon
HAVING scooped Swim Ireland’s Connacht Club of the Year award last November, Shark Swimming Club will celebrate another milestone when they host a special function at Galway Rowing Club on Woodquay to celebrate 40 years in existence on Friday, June 22.
Ahead of that function next month, officials are calling on past swimmers, former coaches and retired committee members to make contact with the club so they can add them to the guest list for what promises to be a momentous occasion.
To the forefront of organising and planning the event is Chairperson Seamus Lennon who has been rummaging through the Tribune archives and researching the history of the club for his presentation on the night.
“One of the founder members was Maura Kelly and she is still alive and her son Brendan is one of our coaches,” notes Lennon. “So, that is a nice link. When you go through the years to find out who was on the committee, there were hundreds of people, along with thousands of swimmers and lots of coaches.”
In a press cutting from the Connacht Tribune, dated November 11, 1977, it was reported that ‘swimming has been given a much-needed boost with the launching of a new swimming club in the city’. The Acting President, Bill Connell, who sadly passed away recently, had highlighted the development of young talent was the main objective of Shark SC.
That mantra still holds true and since those early weeks and months when membership numbered at 50, it has now risen to 125 today. As healthy as that figure looks, Lennon outlines it has exceeded that total in the past but it subsequently dropped all the way back to 50 again when Leisureland was forced to close for a year due to storm damage in early 2014.
“When it closed down, we had to find space in other pools and the times weren’t great. We were up in Renmore (Kingfisher) a lot and most of us lived the other side of town in Knocknacarra and Salthill.
“With the location of the other pools and the times, which we couldn’t really control, and because they were in short supply, we lost a lot of members. We went down to close to 50 members but when we eventually got back in to Leisureland, we grew back up to 120 or so again,” recalls the Monaghan native, who is Head of the Science Department at GMIT.
For more, read this week’s Galway City Tribune.