Molesey Amateur Swimming Club was established about 1909, at a time when river bathing was popular. The club initially seems to have been an all-male organisation. However, in 1911 a special meeting of the club discussed the possibility of forming a ladies’ swimming club and decided to do all that it could to encourage a ladies’ section. The photograph of the club in 1912 indicates that the ladies’ section had been established by then.
The club used the stretch of the river between Molesey Lock and Hampton Court Bridge and in its early years was very active. At its third annual smoking concert and prize distribution held at the Prince of Wales Hotel on 20th September 1911, prizes were distributed for fourteen events ranging in length from a thirty yards’ novices race to a three mile race from Sunbury Lock to Molesey Lock.
There were nine starters for this three mile race which had taken place on Saturday 2nd September but, according to the Surrey Comet, owing to the intense heat there was only one finisher, R. Rogerson, who had also won the race the previous year.
At the meeting on 20th September 1911, thanks were given to Mr Harry Tagg for lending the club his engine shop as a dressing room but, from information given by Mr Fred Payne to the Molesey Review for an article in their June 1953 edition, it seems that changing of clothes usually took place in friends’ houses near the river.
Mr Payne told the Molesey Review that the club held a gala every year, including a long distance swim from Hampton Court Lock to Teddington Lock and that all those who completed this swim were presented with a gold medal. J. Martin & Sons of East Molesey supplied boats to follow the competitors. Mr Payne said that it was interesting that many competitors dropped out on reaching the Albany Hotel at Thames Ditton.
By 1930, the club had been inactive for a number of years and the trustees of the club decided to wind up the club and distribute its cups and shields among local associations for competition among swimmers.