This year the South Tipperary Dolphin Swimming Club is celebrating 30 years in existence. Since their formation in 1982 they have been assisting those with disabilities in learning how to swim and become ‘water-free’ at their weekly Friday night sessions at Clonmel Swimming Pool.
In this milestone year the club are hoping to raise the funds necessary to allow them to purchase a hoist to install at poolside at Ferryhouse. To do this they have to raise approximately €15,000 and they have a few ideas in mind for the year ahead. (See the special feature on Page 19 of The Nationalist).
Their first fundraising event takes place on this Friday night when they stage a 5k sponsored walk starting at 7pm at Bernie Mac’s (the Emigrant’s Rest) at the Old Bridge. Sponsorship cards are available and the committee is appealing to the public to come along and support the walk, which promises to be a fun event. The hoist is vital in order to help assist those with disabilities to get in and out of the swimming pool independently and safely.
The Dolphin Swimming Club is a voluntary group who dedicate themselves to teaching those with disabilities how to swim. The club was formed in 1982 when committee members of the Waterford/South Tipperary Branch of the Spina Bifida Association, Michael McCarthy and Marie Therese Connolly, along with a group of parents, organised swimming sessions for Spina Bifida children in South Tipperary.
The main emphasis then was to provide a social outlet for the children. The sessions proved so successful that swimmers with other disabilities were invited to come to Clonmel Swimming Pool. Numbers increased to such an extent over the following months that it was decided to start an independent club.
And so, as a result of a meeting on 7th December 1982, the Dolphin Swimming club came in to existence. Since January 1983 the club has been extremely fortunate in being able to hold its weekly Friday night sessions at Ferryhouse Sports Complex, just outside Clonmel.
The club is grateful to the many voluntary organisations in Clonmel and Carrick who have contributed to its activities over the years. They include the Red Cross and Lions Club in Clonmel and in Carrick-on-Suir the ICA, Carrick Lions Club, the Operatic Society and Carrick Wheelers have all assisted with transport over the years.
The current committee is chairperson, Bernadette Dempsey; secretary, Sinead Kearns and treasurer, Margaret O’Leary. Margaret has been treasurer since the club’s foundation in 1982.
The coaches are Michelle Meagher and John Prendergast. The dedication of Michelle and John to the Dolphin Swimming Club since its inception in 1982 is beyond words. And as if Michelle hasn’t enough to do she also drives the Red Cross bus every Friday night.
Others who are an integral part of the successful running of Dolphin Swimming Club are Philly Whelan, Bernie Donegan, Gertie Dennehy and Rosie O’Leary. Both Rosie and Sinéad were one-time swimmers with the club. Sinéad is now the secretary, a role she has held for the last six years. Rosie is the current competition/assistant secretary.