If you have not already read the KM news article with historical pictures.
Kent Messenger Black Lion
Rainham News Interviewing the Oldest Club in Medway Towns
Our Former Black Lion Club Captain
The Club was first established circa 1887, as Gillingham Invicta Swimming Club, and originally trained at the Strand Open Air Lido.
In 1891, the club held its championships at the pier in Gillingham, and have since held a multitude of galas every year. These galas are a lifeline for the club as they help support it throughout the year to meet its financial responsibilities. We are the only Medway based non-profit swimming club.
Over 40 years ago, the Club moved its principal training ground to the Black Lion Sports Centre (now named Medway Park). The club subsequently embraced the name, becoming Black Lion Swimming Club, and adopted the black lion symbol as the then trademark logo. It has continued on supporting the community and has now been around 134 years.
We have many members, with swimmers accessing our swimming programs from our Swimming Academy, to our Competitive Squads, as well as our Masters programs. We have swimmers competing at all levels from local galas up to National Championships.
Our philosophy is to nurture our aspiring swimmers to develop and progress to their full potential becoming the best swimmers they can be. Inspiring and supporting them to believe in themselves and achieve their goals and dreams, as well as supporting a lifelong pathway into sport.
The club is a place for everyone. We offer support to any members that may be struggling to ensure our young swimmers can stay in the sport that they love and continue participating. At Black Lion everyone becomes part of a family and forms lifelong meaningful friendships. Many young members go on to further their skills by volunteering in our programmes and we actively promote that starting a career in lifesaving, teaching or coaching is fundamental skill that will stay with you for life.
Meet Jess Goodwin. Jess joined Black Lion SC in 2016 as she had always loved swimming and wanted more than just being able to swim. Jess joined a local swimming club but they were not able to provide the extra help she needed to achieve her swimming goals. What sets Jess apart from our other swimmers is that Jess is deaf, and therefore needs additional help when competing at galas, especially when on the blocks, ready to race.
We were quick to realise that Jess needed extra help, her coaches Paul and Neil made sure that she could lip read their instructions during training and also wrote the sets down for her. We recognise that they needed to provide a strobe light to give Jess an equal standing with her fellow competitors as once on the blocks and with her hat and goggles on, focused, she just couldn't hear the starter signifying the start of the race.
We carried out various fundraising activities to be able to buy a strobe light that not only Jess would benefit from but others too.
Black Lion were ahead of the game with this as Swim England announced back in 2018 that all licensed meets using Automated Officiating Equipment from September 2020 would be required to provide a secondary strobe light.
Well Jess has come a long way since she first joined our club and has gone on to achieve great things competing in galas for the club and swimming for the GB Deaf Team and being chosen as Category A, Deaf Swimmer of the Year in 2019.
Jess holds lots of Category A records for her age group, she also received an award from Kent Deaf Children's Society Award for her sporting achievement.
- Helping children of all ages to learn to swim.
- Help children to develop skills in competitions.
- Supporting swimmers with disabilities.
- Hardship support for some of our members.
- Allowing our members of all ages to continue to train so they can compete at Local, County, Regional, National and International Levels.
- The club survival and allow it to continue to be an important part of the Medway & surrounding area communities as it has done for the last 134 years.
- Contribute towards the increased costs of pool hire
For the last year we have been unable to run our open meets/galas. Black Lion Swimming Club usually hosts four of these meets a year, and these are all very popular with our swimmers and surrounding clubs be them local or further afield.
These galas generate a majority of our income for the year, which keeps the club financially afloat, without this income our swimmers could risk losing the club and the ability to take part in the sport they love. These long periods of lockdown have shown us all just how important sport and community are not only to mental health but also to the physical wellbeing for both young people and adults. We are asking that you help us to keep this important resource and community together and alive, so that our members (past, present, and future) can continue to benefit from it for years to come.
You can join Black Lion Swimming Club as a new member and further details can be found at blscswim.club/Contact Us to register your interest.
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