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Budding commentator flourishes in Swim England volunteer role

One of our polo members had the opportunity to commentate at Swim England Water Polo National Age Group Championships.
Read the full story here

Winter Sea Race

Date: Saturday 23rd March.
Course: 50 metres (handicap).

Hilary O’Connor and John Kent.
Special mention for two young pool swimmers taking part: Lundy Makenzie and Annabel Kent.

Neil Tasker

Brighton Swimming Club is sad to report that honorary club member Neil Tasker passed away in the early hours of Tuesday morning 15th January 2019.
Neil ranks amongst the greatest swimmers to have represented the club and also his country, despite suffering from asthma.

Within the club he first appears in 1953, winning county championships. He was selected to represent Great Britain in 1957. He was English schools butterfly champion and the English Universities butterfly and freestyle champion. He represented Great Britain along with two other Brighton and Hove swimmers, Brian Beal and Dudley Seifert, at the 1959 World Student Games in Turin. He was acknowledged by Michael Read (king King of the Channel) fellow club member and national swimmer, as the person who inspired him most to take up swimming and the success that came with it. Neil also won the Brighton Dupree Junior Chess Tournament and attended Varndean Grammar School.

Neil also represented Brighton SC at water polo, playing in the National League polo for our own club, and as a member Kingston he won the third division title with them in 1975.
In earlier years of his water polo career, he was a member of the nation’s top club team Polytechnic of London. He was a squad member when Poly represented England at Crystal Palace in the polo equivalent of the Champions League.

Neil attained a Batchelor Bachelor of Science (Chemistry) degree at Queen Mary University London and represented the university at Swimming and Water polo. His career path was with the Buckman Industrial Chemical Company.

In later years Neil was part of the Club masters team and a keen sea swimmer. He was also a keen amateur scuba diver and spend many years diving in and around Malta. Wind surfing was another water based skill and he was tempted to try Kite surfing until it was pointed out to him that he could be reported last seen disappearing over the South Downs. Neil had a good sense of humour. His later years were plagued with disability, tragically caused by a fall down the stairs at his chess club just after his completion of a club sea swimming event, that left him a wheelchair user. He still kept active attending sea swims, supporting the annual waterpolo tournaments and playing chess, a game in which he achieved a high standard. Despite his frailties, Neil was able to continue pool swimming, adapting himself to a restricted stroke technique.Because of his extensive paralysis, he used a mask and snorkel to scull doggedly face down in the 25 metre pool at the King Alfred for about an hour. He never gave up swimming, chess or the attitude of a bon vivant. His will remained strong throughout his life.

The Tasker name is perpetuated on the name of two of the club’s Pier to Pier Race trophies. Neil donated a girls and boys cup (for Brighton Swimming Club junior swimmers) in memory of his brother and former prominent swimmer and BSC member Julian Tasker, who pre-deceased him.

He will without doubt remain one of the legends of Brighton Swimming Club.

From the club’s historical records:

In 1953 the Life-Guard Section was reformed in conformity with the rules of the Royal Life Saving Society. Regular patrols were carried out throughout the season and have since continued on the Club beach. During the year displays of swimming, diving, and water polo were given at Butlins Hotel at Saltdean and "splash nights" in conjunction with the Brighton Ladies’ Swimming Club were organized. Swimmers from both men’s and women’s clubs also gave swimming demonstrations at the Black Rock Swimming Pool under the aegis of Manager Jock Thompson and then there was the Sunday afternoon water polo matches when the Brighton club side entertained teams from the London area. This was also the year when Neil Tasker’s star was first in the ascendant. His brilliant swimming, in addition to other successes, won him the Boys’ 100 Yards Southern Counties Championship, the first Southern Counties Championship won by a member of the Club since J. H. Annison’s victory in the Boys’ 100 yds. Breaststroke in 1936. Neil followed these successes in subsequent years by being selected to take part in a swimming contest between English and ‘ Scottish school boys and in 1957 to swim for Great Britain in four international matches. The following year he became the English Universities’ Freestyle and Butterfly Champion and established a new Sussex record for the 110 yards freestyle of 60.8 seconds.

It was at this time that a new junior began to come to the fore. Michael Read, who a few years earlier had been stricken with polio, now showed up prominently in Sussex and Southern Championships and, in 1958, was placed 5th in the National Half Mile and second in the English Schools 100 yards Butterfly. The next year he followed these achievements with a really remarkable season, winning no less than four Sussex Championships and, in doing so, setting up new records for the 110 yards Butterfly and the 880 yards Freestyle. He also won the English Schools 110 Yards Butterfly, was second in the Southern Counties 440 Yards Freestyle and the individual Medley, while his efforts in the National Championships-second in both 440 and 880 yards Freestyle and third in 220 yards Freestyle, earned him national recognition and selection to swim for Great Britain against Holland.

Michael Read would be the first to acknowledge the debt he owes to Neil Tasker for his advice and encouragement. They have much in common for not only are they the two most successful swimmers produced by the Club in recent years, but both have overcome tremendous physical disabilities. Neil Tasker originally took up swimming to help his breathing as he was a sufferer from serious asthma and Read, as we have said, had had polio.

200 Club

Mile Sea Race

200 Club

Fiona Mildner Channel Swim

Congratulations to Fiona Mildner who has successfully swum the channel on her first attempt in 11 hrs 15 mins.

We asked Fiona for a few words about her swim:

I started my swimming 'career' as a pool swimmer at the age of 5 and so swimming the channel was always something that was always in my sub-conscious, but it took a bit of a journey to get there!
As a pool swimmer, I was not a natural sprinter (I still don't own any fast twitch fibres!), but found that my real talent was being able to produce consistency on my times over a large number of reps (I could be within a second of my times over 5 x 400's).
It wasn't until I started sea swimming some twenty odd years later, that I found how to put this talent to some effective use.
Training for the channel is a hard process, but gradually 7 hours of training became a feasible feat on a Saturday morning, and the ability to hold my pace managed to serve me well on the actual day. All those years of ploughing up and down the pool meant the muscle memory was still there when the going got tough!
I completed my channel swim recently in 11 hours and 15 minutes and encountered jelly fish stings, being bitten by a sucker fish and the legendary French tides.
Was it hard? Ridiculously so, but I've learnt more about myself in this process, than in anything else I have ever done and met the most amazing people along the way.
Anyone who might have the same dreams – I would highly recommend it!

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Pier to Pier 2018

Half Mile Sea Race - 23.06.18

Sea Race result: Half Mile Sea Race. Saturday 23rd June. Sea temperature 18.2C
1st Matthew Hind 12 mins 59.30 secs
2nd Oliver Thornton 13.09.94
3rd Jack Spowage 13.34.55
4th Laurie Seymour 14.36.02
5th Steve Foy 21.34.41
John Reid DNF
Guest swimmer Gordon Joyes 18.05.37

1st Hannah Poulter 13.20.44
2nd Maisie Thornton 13.31.94
3rd Jill Rocky 15.45.95
4th Zoe Joyes 17.17.37
5th Molly Stenning 17.54.72
6th Annabel Kent 17.56.62
7th Hannah Denton 18.27.08
8th Yvonne Luna 23.47.41
9th Yoko Reid 23.47.41
Teresa Walker DNF

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Crawley Summer Splash

Results for the Crawley Summer Splash Meet can be found Here.

Annual Report 2018

The 2018 Annual Report is now available on the Committee page

Quarter Mile Sea Race - 09.06.18

Sea Race result: Quarter Mile (handicap) Saturday 9th June
1. Matthew Hind 7 mins 18 secs
2. Oliver Thornton 7.24
3. Laurie Seymour 8.07
4. Ben Sellar 9.09
5. John Card 10.07
6. Robin O’Brien 10.40
7. John Kent 10.48

1. Hannah Poulter 7.27
2. Jemima Venturi 7.39
3. Maisie Thornton 8.03
4. Debbie Williams 9.41
5. Annabel Kent 10.01
6. Fiona England 10.02
7. Marie Edwards 10.15
8. Liahna St Louis 10.25
9. Vicky Johnson 11.22
10. Yoko Reid 11.28

Denmark Trip - 04-06.05.18