Swansea University alumna and current staff member, Deirdre Magoris, was a member of Swansea University Swimming and Water Polo Club (1982-85) and Swansea Dolphins. The pool shaped her life, and is where she met her husband and lifelong friends.
I grew up on the Kent / Sussex border and came to Swansea University in September 1982, during a Freshers’ Week which was a far smaller event than it is now. I joined the University Swimming and Water Polo Club and because I already had a swimming teaching qualification, I was also invited to join the affiliated local Swansea Dolphins Swimming Club, where I did some voluntary teaching.
I swam and played water polo competitively for both the University Swimming Club and the Swansea Dolphins. The University Club competed all over the UK, including a short course competition at the University of Warwick, and a long course event at the University of Liverpool. Dolphins’ events were usually more local, although we did go on exchanges with the Waterford Crystal Swimming Club in Ireland.
I have often wondered how many years of my life I spent in this swimming pool. For me and many of my student friends, our lives revolved around chlorine. I met my husband, Kevin, in the pool at a joint University/Swansea Dolphins training session - we have been married for over 30 years and have two children, Jack and Lucy. Our children continued our relationship with the pool, where they both learned to swim with the help of sports’ centre staff members Roger Harvey (who has sadly passed away), and Brian Williamson, who can still be found in the University gym.
Coming to Swansea University and being part of both clubs has shaped my life. I was Secretary of the Swansea University Swimming and Water Polo Club (1982-85) and Athletic Union Secretary (1983-84). I have worked in various roles for Swansea University since 1996, including in the Library and Medical School, where I am based now.
When I hear about the University’s Third or Civic Mission, I think that we were doing that back in the 1980s. The Dolphins was a club set up by university staff, initially for their children, but which went on to welcome student and local community members and truly brought us together. Being part of the Swansea Dolphins was a unique experience for me and many others as students, as we felt part of the local community.