The Club was originally founded in 1966 at the Command Baths, Aldershot. Founder
members included Barbara Firmin, the late Mike Firmin, the late Edna Russell and the late Tom
Kennedy and it was called the Queens Parade Life Saving and Synchronised Swimming Club.
The Chief Instructor, Mr Tom Kennedy, at the Aldershot Command Baths, who had seen
a Canadian teacher on an exchange visit practicing in the pool, renamed Rushmoor Synchronised
Swimming Club in 1967. Inspired by it he quickly had a small group of enthusiastic
girls ready to give it a try. Over the years the group swelled as more and more girls
became interested in the sport, but before joining they had to be able to pass a rigorous
swimming test (nothing changes).
In 1966 the music was played on records, and it was considered very progressive
when the Club invested in a "reel to reel" player! The music in those early days
usually consisted of one piece only, and lasted three to four minutes, although one swimmer
asked for her record to be stopped after exactly two minutes and 43 seconds.
Money for the first set of music equipment was raised by means of a weekly raffle
for a cake, with Mums taking it in turns to bake the cake. Eventually £25 was raised to
buy the first music equipment.
Many amusing incidents occurred in the early days. In the "Ride of the
Valkeries", a hosepipe was used to help keep the headdresses in shape; unfortunately they had
a habit of filling up with water so when the girls surfaced they looked like spouting whales.
The Club has frequently appeared on T.V. e.g. The Two Ronnies and Blue Peter (The
BBC actually made 'Cowgirl' costumes especially for the swimmers). We have given
exhibitions at the "House of Commons and Lords" Galas, swum exhibitions at home and abroad to
raise money for the British Heart Foundation and joined in many Carnivals.
In 1971, the Club opened the Guildford Sports Centre with a display in front of
Princess Anne, earning them the distinction at one time of being the only Synchronised
Swimming Club in the country to perform before a member of the Royal Family, although it has
yet to receive its "By Royal Appointment" badges!!!
On the financial side the first balance sheet revealed an income of £26/0/8d, with
an excess of expenditure over income of 19s/8d.
Synchronised Swimming became an Olympic Sport at the 23rd Olympiad in Los Angeles
in August 1984 and our Carolyn MacDonald (nee Wilson) was chosen as one of the three Synchro
Representatives from Great Britain. Carolyn, along with Caroline Holmyard of Bristol was
selected to swim the Duet, with the reserve being Amanda Dodd, also from Rushmoor.
Carolyn was the European Champion three times.
At the Commonwealth Games in New Zealand 1990, Kerry Shacklock won a Silver Medal
in the Solo Competition and in 1994 again won the Silver Medal in the Solo Competition, and
the Silver Medal in the Duet Competition with Laila Vakil.
Adele Carlsen won Bronze duet competition in the 1996 Commonwealth Games and in
2002 Kerry Hussey was one of the three swimmers at the Commonwealth Games in Manchester.
In Salerno, Italy, in 1991 Laila Vakil became the Worlds' Junior Figure Champion
and won Silver medal in the Solo event, and furthermore is the only British Synchro Swimmer
to win a medal in a World Championship.
Kerry and Laila were chosen to represent Great Britain in the Barcelona Olympics in
1992. Kerry came a tremendous 7th in the Solo, and teamed up with Laila for the Duet to
In recent years, Rushmoor has had great success with many of our swimmers
representing Great Britain across the globe, including our very own Development Coach; Louise
Woolley. In the London 2012 Olympics, our very own Jenna Randall, Olivia
Federici, Asha Randall, Victoria Lucass and Jennifer Knobbs represented G.B. (Jenna
& Olivia placed 9th in the duet section and the team 6th overall).
Rushmoor have been the National Champions 22 times in 1979, 1980, 1981, 1982, 1983,
1984, 1991, 1992, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011,
2012 and 2013.
As Champions we are very much in demand for television and our girls have swum in
the some of the following television programmes:
Sky T.V. for DJ Kat Show, BBC 1 for Jim'll Fix It, ITV for The Disney Club, Big
Breakfast – Channel 4, Blue Peter, How do they Do That, Generation Game, Sky TV “Girls Just
want to Have Fun, Dancers Body. Utterly Butterly advertisement, The BBC 2 in the film
"Genghis Cohen" starring Diana Rigg and Robert Lindsey and the film “Love Labours Lost” to
name but a few from the past.
Recently one of our former swimmers appeared on the very popular Britain’s
Got Talent. Emily Kuhl appeared with three other swimmers as Aquabatique – getting all the way to
the live final!