The con­cept of a super’ club in Leeds was first moot­ed before World War II by Richard Ash­ton of the Leeds Cor­po­ra­tion Baths Depart­ment, but the idea was slow to reach fruition. It was not until Decem­ber 1963 that Mr. Ashton’s dream became real­i­ty. By this time, he was the Direc­tor of Baths in Leeds and presided over the foun­da­tion of the Leeds Cen­tral Swim­ming Club. 

Pri­or to the for­ma­tion of Leeds Cen­tral, a lim­it­ed amount of spe­cial train­ing was avail­able to the City’s top swim­mers through the Leeds Olympic Train­ing Scheme which met each Fri­day evening at Cookridge Street Baths. Dur­ing 1963, the lead­ing com­pet­i­tive clubs of Leeds and Dis­trict ASA worked towards the for­ma­tion of a super’ club hav­ing decid­ed that if Leeds was to be placed firm­ly on the swim­ming map then its swim­mers should com­pete as one club. Var­i­ous names were sug­gest­ed for the new club and it was decid­ed that the club should be called Leeds Cen­tral Swim­ming Club. 

Dur­ing the ear­ly days of the club, there was a need for it to be sold’ not only with­in Leeds, but the coun­ty of York­shire in gen­er­al and no indi­vid­ual worked hard­er to do this than the first Hon­orary Sec­re­tary, Mr. Sam Hazel­wood, whose name should rank along side that of Richard Ash­ton as real pio­neers of Leeds Cen­tral Swim­ming Club. Full recog­ni­tion must be giv­en to Leeds Cor­po­ra­tion who in these ear­ly days of super’ clubs backed Leeds Cen­tral by grant­i­ng a con­sid­er­able amount of free facilities. 

The year 1964 brought a great boost to the new­ly formed club when Pamela John­son (Bram­ley SC) was select­ed to rep­re­sent GB in the Tokyo Olympic Games. It was to be a long wait before the club next pro­duced Olympians in the gold­en year of 1980 when both Kaye Lovatt and Andrew Ast­bury were select­ed for the Moscow Olympics. 

Dur­ing the 60s, club head­quar­ters were at Cookridge Street Baths and train­ing took place there and at oth­er small pools around the city such as Hol­beck, Hun­slet, Union Street and Lawnswood and Round­hay School Pools. The club was age group dom­i­nat­ed and had some suc­cess in coun­ty age group cham­pi­onships, win­ning the George Lester Tro­phy in 1965 – 66 and again in 1968 – 69

In 1967, the club moved its Head­quar­ters to the new­ly opened Leeds Inter­na­tion­al Pool and had 50m train­ing avail­able on one night per week. In 1972 anoth­er mile­stone was passed when we first began morn­ing train­ing and set up a sys­tem of train­ing groups sim­i­lar to those of present day. Up to that time the club had pro­duced 1 Olympian, 3 full inter­na­tion­als and 2 junior inter­na­tion­als in its 9 year history. 

In Octo­ber 1973, Leeds Cor­po­ra­tion began the Leeds Train­ing Scheme direct­ed by ASA Nation­al Tech­ni­cal Offi­cer, Derek Stubbs, and in April 1974, the new­ly formed City Coun­cil decid­ed to con­tin­ue the exper­i­men­tal scheme, tak­ing on Derek as an offi­cer of the city’s Leisure Ser­vices Depart­ment. He was Direc­tor of the Train­ing Scheme with Ter­ry Deni­son as the scheme Head Coach. The scheme has been invalu­able in pro­vid­ing train­ing facil­i­ties which are as good as any in Britain. The club and its swim­mers have respond­ed accord­ing­ly and in the 12 years up to 1985, pro­duced 3 Olympians, 19 senior inter­na­tion­als and 23 junior inter­na­tion­als. The club won the Nation­al Swim League Cham­pi­onship in 1980 – 1984. In 1981 and 1985 it received the Hen­ry Ben­jamin Tro­phy as Britain’s top senior men’s club and the age group teams won the Nation­al Age Group Cham­pi­onships Boy’s Top Team Tro­phy in 1980 and the Girl’s Top Team Tro­phy in 1981 and 1982. In 1983, 1984 and 1985 we were Nation­al Club Team Champions. 

1979

FINA World Cup, Tokyo

Andrew Astbury GOLD 1500m freestyle

1978

Commonwealth Games, Edmonton

Andrew Astbury BRONZE 1500m freestyle
Moira Houston Finalist 200m IM
Finalist 400m IM
Kaye Lovatt SILVER 4 x 100m freestyle relay

World Championships, Berlin

Kaye Lovatt

European Championships, Jonkopping

Moira Houston
Andrew Astbury

European Junior Championships, Florence

Nuala Muir Cochrane
Linda Purchon
Terry Denison Team Coach

National Champions

Andrew Astbury LC 400m freestyle BR
SC 200m freestyle BR
400m freestyle BR
1500m freestyle BR

1976

European Junior Championships, Oslo

Moira Houston BRONZE 100m freestyle

National Champions

Moira Houston LC 200m freestyle BR
400m freestyle BR

1975

European Junior Championships, Geneva

Andrew Astbury
Moira Houston

1971

National Champions

Gail Palmer SC Junior 200m backstroke

1964

Olympic Games, Tokyo

Pamela Johnson