History of Swimming at Gordon's
The first mention we have of swimming at Gordon’s is in 1870. In the Governors’ Minutes it states that a limited number of boys are to be allowed to use the Public Baths. The pool in question was probably the Crooked Lane Baths which stood from 1857 to 1887 on the site of the Robert Gordon's College former staff car park. A medal was presented for the best swimmer in Robert Gordon’s Hospital.
Throughout the 1890s swimming continued, encouraged by Mr Semple, teacher of Chemistry, who was President of North of Scotland Swimming Association. He organised the first Robert Gordon's College gala.
In the early 1900s a swimming club thrived, run largely by the boys themselves. In the Gordonian of 1908 it states “A few years ago Gordon’s Swimming Club was hardly ever heard of, but now, thanks to the energy of certain boys, it is one of our principal institutions”
In 1921 the arrival of the first Games master for the school gave swimming wider recognition. An annual Swimming Gala, held every June, was re-introduced at the Corporation Swimming Pond (at the Beach). Expert swimming instructors were appointed by the Athletic Association and a beginners’ class was held in the Middle School Swimming Pond (which used to be at the corner of Littlejohn St).
In the mid-1930s Dr Walter Reid, Mr William Tawse and Baillie James Mackie offered funds to build a pool on the College site, with the final £500 to be raised by an appeal to parents. On Founder’s Day 1936 the Foundation stone was laid by Principal John Murray and exactly a year later Swimming Pond was officially opened by Mr J W Peck, Secretary of the Scottish Education Department.
In 1938 Andy Robb was taken on as Pond Superintendent in the new pool. With the departure of members of the PE staff to fight in WW2, he was promoted to swimming instructor the following year. This marked something of a golden age of Gordon’s swimming.
In his 30 years at Robert Gordon's College Andy Robb coached many boys who were successful at all levels of the sport, including a number of full Internationalists: Athole Still, Ian Spence, Alastair Gill, Derek Nisbet, Ian Black, Bill Good, Cleve Cowie and Gordon Black.
Later swimming stars produced by the College include Neil Cochran, who went on to win two bronze medals at the Olympics in Los Angeles 1984 and David Carry who gained 2 gold & 1 silver medals at the Commonwealth Games in Melbourne 2006
2013 saw the refurbishment of the Swimming Pool (pictured above).