History Of The Club
Wallasey Swimming Club was founded in 1890 and was known as the Seacombe and Egremont Swimming association. The club swam in the River Mersey the tide permitting, and in 1901 aimed to get suitable headquarters to transact their business and were hopeful of obtaining apparatus for rescuing drowning persons.
The Annual Gala was held each August and the changing rooms and starting point were the ferry boat Snowdrop, they started at about 4pm opposite the Mariners Home, tide permitting of course.
Year after year the question of a club house arose. There were objections to the swimmers being on the beach without a beach hut!
The need for public baths and wash-houses in Seacombe was emphasized many times and it was pointed out that swimming was a most healthful and strength giving pastime and that drownings are too frequent here. The provision of public baths and swimming tuition would prevent almost all of these deaths in the river. On August the 8th 1904 Thomas Harrop the Secreatry of Seacombe and Egremont Swimming Association pointed out in a letter to the Wallasey News that the Council so far has done little else than promise something in the future.
At the 1905 A.G.M it is recorded that Mr Harrop had the privilege of testifying to the Commissioners representing the interest of the members that such a building was absolutely needed and later the Local Government Board gave the Council permission to borrow a sufficient sum to purchase a site at the Guinea Gap on which to erect baths
In September 1905, the Secretary was again invited to give evidence in support of a scheme for the building of public baths.
In April 1908 Guinea Gap Baths were officially opened and there can be no doubt that without the Seacombe and Egremont Swimming Association later known as Wallasey Swimming Club this would not have happened.
Tribute to former Wallasey Swimming Club member Neil McKechnie.
Neil McKechnie was a member of Wallasey Swimming Club, he was one of the most outstanding swimmers of his time. During his swimming career Neil achieved 30 English and British records at Guinea Gap Baths, Wallasey.
He captained the English and British teams on many occasions and was even named BBC's 'Sports Boy of the Year' in 1955 and 1956, the year he won the Triple Crown at the ASA (Amateur Swimming Association) National Championships, also re-taking the 110 and 220 yards Free Style titles the following year.
Neil was famously filmed by the BBC taking 0.80 seconds off the English 110 yards backstroke record at Guinea Gap Baths in 1956 and was then whisked off to the studios in Manchester to be interviewed on Sportsnight.
Neil was a member of the Great Britain Team that swam at the 1956 Melbourne Olympics and two years later gained a bronze medal in the 4 x 110 medley relay at the Commonwealth Games in Cardiff.
In 1956 Wallasey Corporation conferred on him 'The Freedom of the Baths' at a specially arranged civic reception.
In 1958, Neil, normally a 400m Freestyle swimmer, held every single English Freestyle record from 100 yards to one mile.
Neil even led Wallasey Swimming Club to victory in the Freestyle Team Championship of England.
It was a sad day for Wallasey Swimming Club and for the sport in general when Neil passed away aged 67. He was an inspiration to all swimmers, everywhere.