The club first started back in 1949, based at Balham Baths, as a combined water polo and swimming club. It was originally intended to be a men-only club, but with a lot of persistence from female would-be members, the committee relented and it became a mixed club.
At first there were only 42 members, but numbers quickly grew and before the club had been going for more than 6 months, members were already breaking records (Pamela Copp broke the SCASA 220 yards freestyle record in 2.51.6 seconds).
In 1951, fifteen swimmers entered the national championships and the following year, Leander member Brenda Harvey won a national title, breaking the English record for 220 yards butterfly two years later.
In 1955, the club’s ladies’ team were first in the freestyle relay and second in the medley at that year’s Nationals.
In the past few years, Leander has had an astonishing amount of success for such a relatively small club. We have twice taken the Top Club trophy at the Surreys, and have produced numerous District and Regional Champions, winning well over 100 medals.
Three of our swimmers have won Gold at the Nationals – James Harris, Simon Boyd and Greta McLachlan. But perhaps our proudest moment came when our 13/14 year old boys 50m freestyle relay team went from being National reservists to National Champions – improving their time by 5 seconds in less than a month. This was a truly astounding success, especially as we were such a small club that we only had five boys in the age group from which to choose. In addition to that, of those four boys who made up the team – Marvin Jones, Tim Harris, Peter Boothby and Harry Bond – both Harry and Tim were only 13.
Two of our swimmers, James Harris and Simon Boyd, have represented Britain at junior level, and at present Louisa Farrer-Fisher is a member of the British Potential Programme.
Over the past two decades, Leander SC has established itself as the top club in inner London, and considering our size and resources we are among the highest achieving clubs in the country.