Zenith set to celebrate its half century

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During the past 50 years Dunedin’s Zenith Swimming Club has produced New Zealand representatives in a range of different aquatic sports.
At the end of September the club will celebrate its past successes at its 50th Jubilee celebration.
Club member Doreen Ansell said the most well known athlete to come out of the club was swimmer Danyon Loader who won silver and gold medals at the 1992 and 1996 Olympics respectively. He remains the New Zealand national record holder in the 400m and 1500m freestyle short course.
Other sports which club members have gone on to represent New Zealand included diving (athletes and judges), marathon swimming, water polo (athletes and coaches) and synchronised swimming.
Mosgiel woman Kathleen Turner (nee Binney) has been involved with the club for decades and wrote a report on her memories from the 1930s and ’40s — before the formation of the revived Zenith Swimming Club in 1966.
‘‘How well some of us remember the damp narrow concrete steps down two flights to the basement of the YMCA building situated opposite the foot of View St, on a site which is now occupied by a car park building,’’ Mrs Turner wrote.
‘‘The Zenith club was a swimming school created and supported by parents and other interested adults. Membership mainly involved primary and intermediate swimmers. At one stage the club was participating in having a movie made of members performing good and bad swimming techniques, so that all coaches followed the same principles — regrettably the film was never finished,’’ she said.
In 1946 the boiler burst at the pool and the club no longer had a home.
‘‘The Kaikorai club offered to share their time in the Municipal Pool, but Zenith operated a teaching school programme requiring a structured timetable and, importantly, their parents were free to attend and participate without entry charges.
‘‘It was decided they were too important to lose by amalgamation and the committee decided to put the club in recess with the hope of a re-birth in future.’’
In 1966 the club was revived by ‘‘an enthusiastic group comprising past members, now parents’’, who wanted to reestablish the club. It now operates out of Moana Pool.
Record holder . .. Danyon Loader, who won Olympics silver and gold medals is the most well known athlete to come out of the Zenith Swimming Club. PHOTO: ALLIED PRESS FILES