of the Edwardians"
Gerry will mention other swimmers if pressed. Martin Edwards
who made the Olympics in 1972, Craig Norrey, Graham Brookhouse
and others. But his priority comes across as the team not the
I probed for problems within the club, chinks of disharmony
in the Edwardian set up, but found none. ‘No, no real
problems, we’re reasonably successful. As coach I am always
looking for things to improve but the children are working quite
hard at the moment,’ says Gerry.
No problems with pool hire?
‘No, the pool is good, 25m six lanes, and it has been
well maintained. We hire it from the school at a reasonable
cost, probably better then going through a local authority.’
of course, Olympic representative and Commonwealth gold medallist
Georgina Lee is Gerry’s current star pupil, albeit now
at university in Texas. ‘Yes,’ says Gerry. ‘She
deserves all the success she has had. She started with me at
the age of seven and her first success was winning the national
age groups at 13. She is a bright girl and a good worker.’
The respect, it would appear, is mutual as Georgina herself
says: ‘The whole club is thrilled for him. He is so modest
about his swimming achievements throughout his life. He has
done all of it because he loves it and we love him for it. There
is no club without Gerry. He is the club.’
Another swimmer who did not wish to be named told me that when
swimmers get to a certain age, Gerry tells them to call him
by his christian name and not ‘Mr Thain’. After
being told this many times, the swimmer in question still can’t
bring herself to call him by his first name. She says this is
partly through the great respect she has for him but also the
fact that she still calls him ‘Mr T’ is a term of
endearment that reflects the affection she, in common with so
many past and present members, has for him. ‘He is one
of the most laid back, mild-mannered and genuine people I know.
I appreciate his commitment and dedication, qualities that he
inspires in his swimmers who show their appreciation not least
through their loyalty to the club.’
One man who has known Gerry for many years is the ASA chairman,
Mike Beard: ‘Although I coach another discipline of our
sport, I have always looked on Gerry as a role model who I have
tried to emulate. His dedication and loyalty to his club and
its swimmers is second to none and his enthusiasm for developing
young athletes remains as strong as ever after so many years.
He has made major contributions at county, district and national
level but has never allowed this involvement to deflect him
from his number one priority, his swimmers.’
So there you have it. Long live the ‘Edwardians’.
The King, Edward VI reigned for seven years. Gerry Thain, king
of his swimming club, is going for his half-century.
More information about the history of Camp Hill Edwardians is
available through the newsletter archives in the Clubroom
area of this website.