The newly formed club entered its first gala in September 1945 represented by 5 swimmers and it is recorded that 'all 5 gave a creditable performance'.
In December 1945, under the new title of Sutton and Cheam Swimming Club, the club affiliated to the Southern Counties ASA (SCASA) and in February 1946, to the Surrey County Water Polo and Swimming Association (SCWPSA),. Sutton Council then granted the club exclusive use of pool time at the Malden Road Baths (now Cheam Leisure Centre) for the princely sum of 7/6d (371/2 p) per hour.
With enthusiastic young swimmers and a hard working Committee, the new club developed and prospered. Its first important success came in 1947 when Pat Kendall became National Sprint Champion. In the following year, he became the first of a long line of Olympians when selected for the Great Britain team for the London Olympics in 1948. In the same year, the club entered four water polo leagues. In 1949, Gerry Worsell was selected for the Great Britain team for the first time and while playing for Liverpool University v Loughborough in a UAY final was penalised by the referee for "standing" in the deep (10ft 6ins) end of the pool! Gerry, along with Sutton and Cheam teammate Terry Miller, went on to be selected for the 1952 Olympics in Helsinki. It is noteworthy that the "Daily Mirror" dubbed Gerry at the time "Mr Beefcake" when he appeared as a male centrefold in the newspaper.
The 1950s continued to witness the rise of the Sutton and Cheam Water Polo team. A capacity, partisan crowd attended Friday and Saturday night matches at the Malden Road pool with the baths resembling Wembley Stadium rather than a suburban swimming pool.
In 1952, Sutton and Cheam played host to the Australian National side touring the UK immediately after the Olympic Games in Helsinki; and with the help of two guest players from the British Olympic Team; Ron Turner and Stan Hawkins, trounced them 9-6 at the Malden Road pool. The team was Maurice Skerman, Reg Potter (1948 Olympic Captain), Stan Hawkins, Bill Smith, Geoff Miller, Terry Miller and Ron Turner.
These successes were highlighted in 1955 when the BBC televised an England v Scotland International Gala and water polo match, from Malden Road pool for their 'Saturday Night Out' programme. Over 1000 spectators packed the Malden Road gallery to capacity and it was estimated the show was broadcast to 11,000,000 viewers.
In the following year, the Australians returned the compliment when Melbourne hosted the 1956 Olympics and some of the players met up again when Sutton and Cheam players Cliff Spooner and Gerry Worsell were selected for the British Team.
It was also in the late 1950s that the name Thurley first became associated with the club with Charlie Thurley playing for the club's highly successful junior water polo team with other stalwarts like John Salter, who still plays with Sutton and Cheam's masters' side.
Surrey Junior Water Polo Team 1958
Winners: ASA & SCASA County Junior Championships
(coach) S&C , R.Fearn (S&C) , E.E Alexander, J.Salter (S&C)
|Pat Kendall||London 1948||GB Swimming Team|
|Terry Miller||Helsinki 1952||GB Water Polo Team|
|Gerry Worsell||Helsinki 1952 and Melbourne 1956||GB Water Polo Team|
|Cliff Spooner||Melbourne 1956||GB Water Polo Team|
|John Thurley||Tokyo 1964 and Mexico 1968||GB Swimming Team|
|John Mills||Montreal 1976||GB Swimming Team|
|Matt Kidd||Sydney 2000 & Athens 2004||GB Swimming Team|
|Matt Holland||London 2012||GB Water Polo Team|
Mention should also be made of Adrian Parker, who did his swim training with the club on his way to a Gold Medal in the Modern Pentathlon at the Montreal Olympics of 1976.
The tradition continues with another of 'Mrs T's' boys, Matthew Kidd, who spent his early years with Sutton and Cheam, becoming triple National Champion with the club and achieving selection for the England Junior team, before moving on to Leatherhead and Auburn University, Alabama, USA. Matthew, made the British team for the Sydney Olympics in 2000 and took a silver medal in the relay in the Commonwealth Games in Manchester 2002, after which he returned to show his silver medal to the swimmers at his former club.
In 2004 Matthew was again selected for the Great Britain Swimming Team for the Athens Olympics, where he competed in the 4 x 100 freestyle relay. Matthew continues to support the club; returning to present the next generation of Suttton & Cheam's swimmers with their awards at the Club's presentation night.
.And so to the present day. Yet another of Mrs T's 'boys', Jim Walker, has recently taken on the role of Chief Swimming Coach and the signs are looking good for continuing success
'Mrs T's' legacy lives on with son Charlie beginning the recent revival of the club's junior water polo fortunes, before handing over the reins to another of her 'boys', David Andrews, himself a former swimmer and junior international water polo player. David has taken the development a stage further and the club now has a thriving junior section with players as young as 8 years learning and enjoying the game. This effort has been rewarded with a number of the players who have come through this programme representing GB at both Senior and Junior Levels.
The latest of these is Matt Holland, who has been a member of Sutton
& Cheam Swimming Club since the early 1990's, learning to swim and
to play water polo at the club.
Matt was selected as goalkeeper to the GB Men's Water Polo Team for the
London 2012 Olympics, becoming the latest in a long line of Sutton and
Cheam Olympians. Subsequently, Matt has gone on to represent England at
the 2014 Commonwealth Games winning the Gold medal.
© Sutton & Cheam Swimming Club, 2020