Lead Article Masters Swimming

"No Limits"




 A Series by Tony Pearce



                                                                     LONDON SWIMMING

                               A PERSONAL NARRATIVE


 Part One.


Pool clock

                                 When I first walked on to the poolside as the newly appointed Swimming Coach at St Paul's Boys School in 1993 my intention was for that swimming pool to be an example which every other school in London with a swimming pool could follow.

 Then, it was I and Me. After some three decades St Pauls Barnes, now Barnes Swimming Club, is now one of the foremost swimming clubs in London Region Swimming. It is an example of how to foster community links and offer equal opportunities to all - from the young age group school swimmer to the senior swimmer attending further education or starting work to the master’s swimmer.

 All aspiring to be the best that they can be.

 Now. It is We and Us.

 Yes, no limits.

  It is here that the facts of Tony's association need further explanation. He trusts that his opinions, derived from his long experience will be of enjoyment and interest to all.

 During WW2 St Paul's Boys School in London was the Allied Invasion HQ, attended by Field Marshal Montgomery, himself a past pupil at the school, King George and U.S General Eisenhower.

 Tony's Grandparents, Charles and Alice Pearce, were a typical working-class family in South West London. They had come through WW1.

 Charles, a post office telegraph boy, survived the horrors of such battles as the Somme as a corporal of a gunner’s unit.

 Alice, a seamstress in a dressmaker’s shop, worked in the arduous environment of a munitions factory. As a married couple, they bore three daughters.

 They always wished for a son. WW2 broke out and their wish was granted. To escape the bombing of London, Alice and the three daughters were evacuated to Suffolk while Charles continued service in the Medical Corps.

Tony with mum and dad

In 1941, during The Battle of Britain, the eldest daughter Jennifer, 15, being of school leaving age, joined the WAAF and became an ambulance driver, a vocation she continued to occupy for the rest of her working life.


Tony's mum in uniform
Tony's dad in uniform

 Wayne Sheffer was a farmer from the little town of Henderson Kentucky on the border of the Ohio River near Indiana.

He was the eldest of 7 children. Only 3 survived at birth. When WW2 broke out, as a Staff Sergeant in the USAF Military Police, he was part of the Allied Invasion experiencing action in France and Germany.

  He and Jennifer met when he came to England and Tony was born.  An attachment, "The Letter", written by Wayne to Jennifer in 1945 indicates this. Here, Wayne mentions that they meet. They didn't. It is surmised that at this point Wayne was posted to France and then Germany. The end of WW2 saw the immediate bringing back home of the U.S forces..

  Hence, the post WW2 Family became Charles and Alice Pearce with their remaining 2 daughters and a late born son:

               Anthony Wayne Pearce (Tony Pearce)

To read "The Letter" download it here

Tony's first swim

                                                  LONDON SWIMMING


                                                    Part Two To Follow


                                                 TAKING THE PLUNGE.

©Tony Pearce

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No Limits

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