Atlantis SC was formed in 1979 by Anne Hawley, an England international swimmer and author of the book 'Swim Baby Swim'.
The club started with 10 members, all taught to swim by Anne. We travelled to Dorking Pool twice a week for training and trained in 2 lanes. For 2 years we wore out our tyres, sprinting up and down the A24. Even then we were trying to improve our times - the parents that is! I don't know how we would have convinced the 'boys in blue' - had they been able to catch up with us - that it was all for the sake of the children.
In November 1981, Horsham Park Swimming Centre opened and the club came home to Horsham. The club began to grow. Then we were hit by a number of serious setbacks.
First, the tiles fell off the pool roof and the facilities closed for 7-8 months for repair. We lost well over half our swimmers; 20 stuck diligently with us, and again with the help of willing parents, we sprinted to Maplehurst for training. No sooner had the roof been repaired, and the Club had started to grow again, when we were hit by another 4-month closure for different repairs. This time we were sprinting - and getting ever faster - to Cottesmore School and the old Christ's Hospital pool. Without the help of these establishments it is doubtful Atlantis would have survived.
Our first home gala was held at Horsham and it was great fun to see the spectators getting just as wet as the swimmers.
Our first away gala was at the old Latimer Road pool in Wimbledon. As parents we were wildly enthusiastic. Sadly, this pool had a fire and was badly damaged. Another favourite gala was 'Mighty Minnows' at Elmbridge Phoenix, Walton-on-Thames. Again this pool suffered a fire. Then we tried the Epsom Swim Derby held at the old pool and yes, yet another fire removed this from our circuit. 20 years on and we've gone one better: Horsham totally demolished! - not bad for a small club. And while the brand new pool and leisure complex was being built in Horsham, parents and swimmers were again racing up and down the A24. This time the other way to Steyning and did so for a number of years.
In 1987 the club held a sponsored swim in aid of Mencap, raising a total of £3,000 which was divided equally between us. David Wilkie who also gave a demonstration and raced against some of the clubs swimmers made the presentations.
Over the years the Club has had its modest share of success. We have had 7 County Champions and 6 who have represented Sussex County. We have also had numerous medallists and finalists in the County events.
Since taking up residence in our new pool in Horsham 'The Pavilions in the Park' and employing our first professional Chief Coach Jack Griffin the club has grown significantly and is now starting to achieve greater success.
2004 saw us win the Dijon Cup and the Sprake Plate, we achieved our highest position to date in the Sussex League and were accepted into the Speedo League. Club records are falling with incredible regularity, which is probably the clearest proof of the improving standard of swimming being achieved by Atlantis swimmers.
We now look forward to the future when we'll continue to grow and to build on our recent success.
President of Atlantis Swimming Club
Opening a New Chapter: 2006 - 2009
In late 2005, Atlantis appointed Bill Penny as our new Chief Coach. Bill has brought with him a wealth of experience of developing competitive swimming clubs and competition swimmers.
Bill has overseen a whole series of innovations at Atlantis, helping the Club to scale new heights and putting it among the most successful clubs in Sussex.
With Bill's assistance and to swimmers' delight, overseas training camps were introduced at Club La Santa in Lanzarote. And the Club continues under Bill's guidance to take new initiatives. 2009 saw the introduction of regular land training and long course training in the K2 50m pool near Crawley.
Bill's influence has been evident in the gradual improvement in results. 2007 saw success with promotion in both the Sussex League and Speedo League to Division 1, despite the repeated problems with the roof of the new Pavilions pool, which resulted in periods of closure.
The club has continued to build upon its success and in early 2008 the largest squad ever qualified to take part in the Sussex County Championships. At those Championships two more swimmers have achieved the National Qualifying Times.
In 2009 the Club has enjoyed its best ever year to celebrate its 30th Anniversary. It achieved its highest-ever position in the top division of the Sussex Swimming League, finishing third behind Crawley and Mid-Sussex Marlins; secured its highest-ever medal haul at the County Championships with a massive 57 medals in all; more swimmers than ever before achieving regional qualifying times and Atlantis swimmers taking 8 medals at the regional championships; a record number of swimmers, 4 achieving national times with Cameron Lambourne becoming the first Atlantis swimmer to win a (silver) medal at the National Championships in Sheffield; and three of our swimmers selected to represent Sussex in the National Inter-County Championships in Sheffield.