Southampton Dolphins Swimming Club is a competitive junior swimming club catering for talented swimmers from 6 to 18. The club provides a clear pathway from swimming lessons and enables children to improve their technique under the watchful eye of experienced and qualified coaches. Head Coach Matt Boyd – Wallis is ably supported by Paul Dollery, Hugo Marrieros, Rob Young and AJ Harnett.
Swimmers that have stepped up to the Club from the swim school, either on the advise of their teacher or by taking part in the Annual Club Championships, are gradually introduced to swimming longer distances each session, while sustaining fine technique.
The nuances of racing are broken down, learnt carefully and practiced until perfect. The swimmer can choose to increase training sessions and build stamina in preparation for competition or they can just swim weekly, in either the junior or senior swim squads, just for fitness. Either way they will be classically trained and secure great stroke technique that will last a lifetime.
Only a few disciplined swimmers have the dedication to rise to the higher levels of competition. For those that do, the sessions and the coaches are there ready and waiting. The majority will use the unique fitness that swimming training creates to springboard into their chosen sport. Many of our swimmers have become high competitors in diving, sailing, canoeing, water polo, synchronised swimming and triathlon events. At the very least, swimming through the developing years enables each DNA to reach its potential.
History of the Club
Shirley Pool was originally built in 1974 with the inspiration of Frank Perry and the support of his wife, Val, and a young family of four. Frank was a County level water Polo player and a keen competitive swimming coach in the heyday of swimming in the City. Alongside Derek Snelling and Dave Haller, Frank worked with many local kids that went onto Olympic success. In his new pool, all Frank wanted to do was coach swimmers. “West End Swim Club” was the first ASA club at Shirley Pool and the launchpad for many swimming careers, including the 2018 Head Coach Matt Boyd-Wallis.
Southampton Dolphins Swimming Club was formed in 1993 by David Perry and invited the best swimmers from Shirley Swimming school to introduce them to competitive swimming. Coaches such as Paul Lanham, Gary Abraham and of course the ever enthusiastic Frank Perry, put hundreds through their paces and were for some years the Top Club on the South Coast in the younger age groups. The mass of swimmers coming through from lessons was the envy of all.
The club had become a teaching and feeder club with an emphasis on technique and strokes in the 6 -13 age groups. Swimmers could take part in up to three sessions a week including water polo and rookie lifeguard and remain with the club until they turned 13.
In 2007 the Dolphin sessions were increased and a head coach appointed. Chris White had been with the pool as a lifeguard and teacher. He had swum nationally with Eastleigh with some success and was keen to expand the club.Swimmers could now remain at the club beyond the age of 13 and the club retained the majority of its members well into their teenage years.
In March 2010 with the continued success in local competition and ever increasing numbers, Dave Perry decided to offer swimmers who wanted to progress their swimming the chance to remain at Shirley Swimming Pool. The club was restructured and registered with the ASA club code SDOS. More hours were made available for training and land training was introduced.
From its reregistration the club has evolved and gone from strength to strength , having success at County, Regional and National level.
Every year since the club first entered the Hampshire County Championships in 2011 they have produced at least one County Champion. Over two successive seasons (2015 and 2016) the club won 56 Hampshire County Championship medals which is unprecedented for a club of it’s size. But this was emphatically eclipsed in 2017 with the team winning an astonishing 79 Hampshire County Medals, 31 Gold, 26 Silver and 22 Bronze ranking third in the County medal table. 2017 was a historic and record breaking year with the club winning it’s first team and open relay title in the ladies 4 X 200m freestyle event, Isabella Fraser-Corbridge (14) won the ladies open 100m butterfly just 0.20s off the all time county record and Max Nugent (16) qualified for men’s open finals for the first time in the clubs history.
The club has also enjoyed Regional success increasing qualification at this level year after year with its first qualifier in 2012 through to a club record 15 qualifiers in 2017. The club have also won a multitude of medals at Regional level, in 2014 Filip Fraczek-Krygier became a Regional Champion in the boys 11 years 200m freestyle. In 2015 Amy Thompson (16) won a Bronze Medal in the 50m Breaststroke becoming the first swimmer from the club to win a medal at the youth/open championships.
Later that year Amy Thompson (16) and Filip Fraczek-Krygier (13) qualified for the ASA Summer Nationals for the first time in the clubs history, Amy in the 50m Breaststroke and Filip in the 50m Freestyle.
In 2016 Isabella Fraser-Corbridge (14) became the first swimmer from the club to qualify for the British Swimming Championships. Isabella swam in the 50m Butterfly finishing 15th in Great Britain. In 2017 Max Nugent (16) became the first Dolphins swimmer to qualify for a British Championships final finishing 9th in the 50m BF, whilst Kate Baxter qualified for an astonishing 9 British and Summer National events.
Kate Baxter (12) became the first swimmer to represent the club in a National final at the ASA Summer Nationals in 2016. Kate qualified for the 200m and 400m FS finals finishing 8th and 10th respectively. Filip Fraczek-Krygier (14) also swam at the ASA Summer Nationals producing outstanding results becoming the ASA Summer National Champion in the 50m FS and claimed the silver in the 100m FS becoming the first swimmer in the club to win a national medal and national title. In 2017 Max Nugent (16) replicated his friends achievment by winning the 100m BF in 58.11 and Kate Baxter (14) took Silver in the 200m IM and Bronze in the 100m BK.
The club also actively take part in Biathlon’s (separate swim and run). In 2015 Kate Baxter, Fae Thompson and Max Nugent made the National Schools Finals at the Olympic Park in London. Kate finished a fantastic 7th Nationally. This inspired more swimmers to take part and 13 Dolphin swimmers qualified for the 2016 National Finals where Kate Baxter claimed a national silver medal and best swim.
In July 2016 Rhyseren Taylor (9) became the first swimmer from the club to represent Great Britain in the European Biathle. A year younger than most of the other competitors Rhyseren finished an amazing 7th in Europe. In the team event (top 3 athletes) Rhyseren took Gold for team GB. The following year in 2017 Dolphins swimmer Lucy Phillips also represented GB in the European Biathle winning Bronze in the 13 years and under category aged just 10.
Chris White left the pool after twenty years of dedicated service in March 2018 to join a major London Club with aspirations to coaching in the GB set up.
A tortured recruitment process left the club rudderless for 6 months and many of the high achievers moved along the coast to Portsmouth Northsea. Eventually, and with help from Matt Heathcock and Paul Dollery, the club secured the enthusiastic services of Matt Boyd-Wallis, the current Head Coach.
With a smaller top squad, the Dolphins are rebuilding once more. Those swimmers who remain are spoilt to have the experience and passion of the current coaching team. The hundreds of little ones in the swim school don’t yet know how lucky they are…