"Spirit 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 individual.

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.’

And 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.



CHESC represented at the Olympic Games
CHESC represented at the Commonwealth Games
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