The History of ESS
Enfield Swim Squad
The Enfield Swim Squad was formed in December 2011 as a result of the amalgamation of swimmers from the squads of Edmonton Phoenix SC and Griffins SC. Both clubs have a long tradition and history as well as years of experience in the world of swimming and have come together to form a stronger, more powerful new club, the Enfield Swim Squad. The history of both clubs is retained in the two training houses on different sides of the Borough of Enfield.
Edmonton Phoenix SC
"In 1949 I had the idea of starting a swimming club and I formed Edmonton Swimming Club which became very successful over the years. I built up the swimming club, turning it into a social organisation as well. We were able to use the facilities of Croyland School which had been closed as a school but which the council kept in good shape, and I persuaded them to let me use it as a club room for the swimming club. It was a complete, broad, social club. It was run by a committee and I was the chief coach and the president of the club, but of course, I couldn't spend all my time in every activity and I only went there occasionally.
Every time somebody's child got picked for some event, or had publicity, this made about ten other parents envious and jealous, especially if they thought their child was as good or better. Some people were trying to remove me from being the chief coach because of all this kind of envy and jealousy. The club became a hotbed for intrigue and I was very naïve really. There was a move to call a special general meeting and I was warned about it and ultimately it came to a showdown.
In the end representatives from the Southern Counties of the ASA came down to arbitrate and a special meeting was called. They conducted an enquiry and made a report, which said very favourable things about me, and not very favourable things about the others. At the special meeting four people made the difference between my not winning the vote of confidence and the others winning. One of the most moving experiences I have ever had was the mass exodus as people walked out with me at the end of the vote. When we got outside they had a quick meeting and decided straight away to form the Edmonton Phoenix Swimming Club and all the swimmers came with me. The strength of feeling and emotion from my supporters was terrific.
Edmonton, of course, inherited everything – all the equipment that I'd got, cameras, everything belonged to them. They put up the fellow that I had trained to be my assistant coach to be the new chief coach to replace me. He was a very good friend and I think he was embarrassed that they moved that he be the chief coach at the meeting. I went home and wasn't any longer honoured as the founder of Edmonton Swimming Club or its chief coach. Instead we had the newly formed Edmonton Phoenix – the name tells you what it is, doesn't it, 'arising from the ashes', and all the swimmers came with me. We had no facilities for club nights but the Council immediately came to our aid. We became the rival swimming club in the same pool – Edmonton Swimming Pool. We won all sorts of events in the next season or two. They did me a favour really – after my twenty years of teaching swimming – it gave me a broader outlook."
Griffins of Enfield SC
Griffins Swimming Club of Enfield was formed in September 1992 when the Committees of two long established swimming Clubs (Olympic Salamander SC (formerly Southgate Olympic SC) and Southgate SC) decided that an amalgamation of the Clubs would be in the best interest of swimming in the Borough of Enfield and the swimmers of both Clubs in general.
As Clubs in the surrounding Boroughs grew bigger by amalgamation, it was decided that, as OSSC's strength was in its Teaching Section and SSC's was in its Competitive Section, it made considerable sense to amalgamate and form a larger, stronger Club. The Clubs had already joined forces with National Age Group teams in the past, so this amalgamation was a natural progression for both Clubs.
Stella Woolhead (the ex Olympic and breaststroke world record holder, Chief Coach of SSC) headed the new Club as its Chief Coach.
The amalgamation of the Clubs went smoothly as both existing Clubs had their headquarters at Arnos Swimming pool and trained in the same pools in the Borough of Enfield and at QE Boys' School pool in Barnet. Choosing the name was more difficult as the general consensus was that the name of 'Southgate' should be maintained as it was the 'area' both Clubs had their 'home' . The name of 'Southgate Olympic' was suggested (being one part of each Club's name), but that was the 'old' name of one of the Clubs. It was then decided that 'Enfield' should be included in the name, but as there was already an Enfield Swimming Club in existence the new name of GRIFFINS Swimming Club was chosen and 'of Enfield' was added to make the now familiar name of Griffins Swimming Club of Enfield.
Apart from having great success in National Age Group swimming, Griffins SC of Enfield made the National Final of the Speedo Junior League (M11) in 1997/8 in Liverpool (as the only non-Borough/City team in the finals).
Griffins can also boast as 'Old Boys' in the history of our Club - a World Champion rower (Tom Aggar who won the single sculls in 2007 and 2010) and another Olympician (Neil Willey a superb backstroke swimmer).
Another milestone in Griffins' history was to achieve Swim 21 accreditation in 2008.