Sunday, 10 June 2012

Miriam Taunton and her Victoria Ladies' Swimming Club

I thought I would stick with the swimming theme !

April 18, 1930, Winnipeg Free Press

Miriam Bomford Taunton was a swimming champion in her native Warwickshire County, England in 1913. She came to Manitoba the following year, joined the Winnipeg Amateur Swim Club and soon broke the provincial and national 50-yard record times. She also took the Gray Trophy as winner of the one-mile swim of the Red River.

March 25, 1915, Winnipeg Free Press

Taunton opened the Cornish Baths (Winnipeg's first indoor swimming pool) in style by breaking the national 100-yard championship at its inaugural swim meet in March 1915. She broke her national records again in 1917.

June 14, 1916, Winnipeg Free Press

She created the Victoria Ladies Swim Club (VLSC) on June 13, 1916. The name for the club may have come from a club by the same name in Manchester.

Home base was the
Cornish Baths. When it closed in 1930 the club moved to the Pritchard Baths and in the 1930s on to the Sherbrook Pool.

April 14 1916, Winnipeg Free Press

In 1930 Taunton was appointed the head instructor for the new YWCA swimming pool and gave up coaching the VLSC. In 1937 she retired from the Y and moved to California. She died in the late 1950s and is buried in Woodlawn cemetery in Santa Monica.

Vera Tustin took over as coach in 1932. In the 1940s it was the team of Katherine (Kay) Kernohan and Bill Morris. The 1945-46 season appears to be the final one for the VLSC. It simply disappears from the sports pages after a swim meet in October 1946. 

In its 20 year run it produced at least three swimmers who held multiple national records: Taunton, Tustin and Hazel Kessler.


bearfoot said...

Miriam was my Grand Aunt. Some time after she arrived in LA, she worked for the City of LA at the huge pool that I think was built for the '32 Olympics. Somewhere along the way she moved to Santa Monica and lived with her mother. Until I was 8, I lived with my mom, grandma and grandpa two houses away from Miriam. She died of a stroke in either '57 or '58. Her remains are at Woodlawn cemetery in Santa Monica.

mrchristian said...

Thank you for this update ! Sorry, I must have missed it when it was first added back in September.

Anonymous said...

I found a pristine enamelled pin that measures 1-3/8" across..Victoria Ladies Swimming Club is spelled out around the outside edge and really fancy script VLSC in the center of the badge/pin..I think it is probably from the early years..I have had it on ebay a few times with no success..It is a wonderful pin in Blue and White enamel..

Anonymous said...

Miriam was my grandmother. She died in 1959. She was to have been in the Olympics herself, but WWI cancelled them. Her twin sons Frederick and Ashley were both champion swimmers and divers in their own right. Fred, my father, was on the Canadian Olympic team as an alternate diver(he unfortunately had flu during the trials). Miriam, Ashley and Fredrick all were exhibition divers and were invited to perform in California. They liked the weather and returned to stay in Calif. Fred and Miriam both taught at the Deauville Beach Club in Santa Monica, where he met my mother, Lenora Evelyn Pack.