"Screw Kick!"

Share your memories and stories from the Hertford Christ's Hospital School, which closed in 1985, when the two schools integrated to the Horsham site....

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Angela Pratt 56-63
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Re: "Screw Kick!"

Post by Angela Pratt 56-63 » Wed Aug 05, 2009 5:48 pm

Does anyone remember the "bridge"that separated the "deep" end of the swimming pool from the "shallow", or did it disappear with MKP? It was a sort of bench covered with some sort of stringy coarse hessian. Without a stripe (white or gold) one wasn't allowed past it. MKP and Miss King also taught from it. How they didn't fall off much I don't know! - or do I remember Miss King doing so? What was it called when one had to go and swim the appropriate length to get a stripe? Oh I remember "going to Passing"!

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Re: "Screw Kick!"

Post by englishangel » Wed Aug 05, 2009 6:59 pm

It was still there in 1972 when I left, (Vonny, Maria?) it was quite wide, about 12-15 inches so I don't see why anyone should fall off.
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Re: "Screw Kick!"

Post by kerrensimmonds » Wed Aug 05, 2009 7:23 pm

I remember it....I'm not even sure whether I can remember the scratchiness of the wet (?) hessian under my feet. Were we allowed to stand on it/walk across it/? My main 'fearful' recollection of the swimming baths was the danger of getting veruccas.....and those wooden slatted things in the cubicles where we changed. I never got to sew a 'box' on my black woolly scratchy bathing costume (that was the pinnacle.. was it for buttlerfly stroke?) but I did get a stripe, then two stripes, then an H, but my memory is very fuzzy. What did the earlier stripes stand for? One stripe = swimming a length breast stroke? Two stripes = swimming a length backstroke? Three stripes, i.e. the H, swimming a length overarm crawl?
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Re: "Screw Kick!"

Post by anniexf » Wed Aug 05, 2009 7:39 pm

"Angela Pratt 56-63" How they didn't fall off much I don't know! - or do I remember Miss King doing so? !

I think quite a few of us hoped MKP would...

I'm sure the white stripe came in during my time. There were so many of us crammed in the shallow end during Ward Baths, because so few met MKP's exacting standard for the first orange stripe, breast-stroke (we all had the infamous screw kick), that it was decided to allow anyone who could swim a length safely to have a white stripe. This gave access to the whole pool, thus relieving the congestion.

I believe the final orange stripe, completing the "box", was for life saving. I can only remember one girl who achieved this - Elizabeth Onley, who was in 8s, & was also a talented violinist.

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Re: "Screw Kick!"

Post by englishangel » Wed Aug 05, 2009 8:00 pm

I don't think we got one for butterly, it was back stroke, breaststroke, freestyle and lifesaving (or picking up the brick from the deep end?). I just couldn't front crawl so only got the H. Then there was the white band sewn on the left strap which was for diving, and you were not even allowed a racing dive until you got it for a vertical dive.
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Re: "Screw Kick!"

Post by kerrensimmonds » Wed Aug 05, 2009 8:31 pm

Blimey! I'd forgotten white stripes and diving. Surely the swimming bath was not deep enough for Serious Diving..
I saw Elizabeth Onley again, years later, when I was in the CH Choral Society and we sang the Mozart Requiem at the Angus Ross Concert that year (in Big School, Horsham). They had augmented the orchestra with proficient instrumentalist Old Blues, and Elizabeth was there with her violin. I think she was a member of one of the big London orchestras, at the time. And yes I remember her skills at swimming, too! Awesome.
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Re: "Screw Kick!"

Post by Vonny » Wed Aug 05, 2009 10:37 pm

englishangel wrote:It was still there in 1972 when I left, (Vonny, Maria?)
It was still there until the bitter end. I don't remember Gravvy using it but she may have :?
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Re: "Screw Kick!"

Post by fra828 » Thu Aug 06, 2009 1:39 pm

Didn't we get the swimming 'stripes' for speed in a particular stroke, and also another one for style? I can only remember getting breast- stroke style.

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Re: "Screw Kick!"

Post by Kim2s70-77 » Fri Aug 07, 2009 1:50 pm

I think they were all for 'style'

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Re: "Screw Kick!"

Post by olefours » Fri Aug 07, 2009 2:15 pm

Kim2s70-77 wrote:I think they were all for 'style'
Certainly 'style' in MKP's time. A world record, or an Olympic gold medal, with a less than perfect style, would have been valueless. Speed only counted once a year, at the swimming gala.

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Re: "Screw Kick!"

Post by Eighhttwelve » Fri Aug 07, 2009 8:53 pm

kerrensimmonds wrote:Blimey! I'd forgotten white stripes and diving. Surely the swimming bath was not deep enough for Serious Diving..
I saw Elizabeth Onley again, years later, when I was in the CH Choral Society and we sang the Mozart Requiem at the Angus Ross Concert that year (in Big School, Horsham). They had augmented the orchestra with proficient instrumentalist Old Blues, and Elizabeth was there with her violin. I think she was a member of one of the big London orchestras, at the time. And yes I remember her skills at swimming, too! Awesome.

I suppose that we must have been taught to dive properly at the deep end. However, my most vivid memories of diving were at house baths (was that on a Sunday?) when it was a bit of a free for all. The more daring amongst us would dive in from some sort of bench on the wall at the deep end which would surely break so many health and safety regs today......

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Re: "Screw Kick!"

Post by englishangel » Sat Aug 08, 2009 10:20 am

The 'deep' end was about 7'6" a foot out from the wall so not too bad.
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Re: "Screw Kick!"

Post by Angela Pratt 56-63 » Wed Aug 12, 2009 5:57 pm

Yes, in my time the first three orange stripes WERE all for "perfect" style - Breaststroke, backcrawl and frontcrawl though since I was the rare holder of tramlines for breaststroke and frontcrawl for a while, as it took me sometime to pass my backcrawl. The final bit of the "box" was for lifesaving and I remember training the "body" which we had to take to passing with us...Nicolette Mills (later headgirl)and Sarah Ram (both also 8's) and I were in the school swimming team together and were each others "body"s for this. The trouble was we kept getting the giggles which nearly ended up with us both sinking - MKP was not amused but we all passed eventually and were able to have our boxes showing as we casually draped our swimming costumes over our arms in the Team Photo. 1962/63 8's won the swimming sports by quite a few points as Delphine Palmer, a swimming prodigy ,was also 8's - Swimming produced my only moments of sporting glory at CH!

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Re: "Screw Kick!"

Post by Katharine » Wed Aug 12, 2009 6:23 pm

Angela, I think I mentioned Delphine back on the first page of this thread! I was in the same year as her. Wasn't Elizabeth Onley another great swimmer from 8s?
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Re: "Screw Kick!"

Post by Angela Pratt 56-63 » Wed Aug 12, 2009 7:42 pm

Yes,Katharine,Elisabeth was in 8's,a great swimmer and violin player, 3 years older than me (Annie will remember).I seem to remember her father was involved/killed? in the dambusters 317 squadron, she was certainly an RAF presentee and had one of those huge round badges on her tunic
I seem to remember it was Elisabeth who helped me improve my backcrawl enough to satisfy MKP's high standards! although I could usually manage the style to me strength of stroke is far more important. Having since taught quite a lot of swimming, I agree that in lessons children need to be aware of stylish perfect strokes etc, but plenty of chldren with screw kicks etc can have fun and swim safely, which is surely far more important especially in a seaside town like this, Southend -on-Sea.

Angela

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