The Parramatta City Amateur Swimming Club was formed in 1952 by Bruce McDonald (coach), Colin Heckenberg (senior swimmer), Ted Simms (pool manager) and the late Bill Johnston. Its formation came about as a result of some dissatisfaction with the Granville Amateur Swimming Club which had seen some of its members (including John Devitt, Barry Darke and Barrie Kellaway) leave to join other clubs.
The founders were highly motivated and they built a very strong executive around them. Club spirit was high and before long Parramatta City, with nearly 800 members, was the biggest in NSW. With such a strong and successful club and the popularity of the pool the Parramatta City carnivals attracted exceptionally good fields in all events.
It was one of these carnivals that a young Dawn Fraser was pitted against Australia's star female swimmer, Lorraine Crapp. Dawn scorched through the 100m to beat Lorraine and she was on the way to her own special niche in Australia and world swimming history.
One story has it that coaches Harry Gallagher and Don Talbot, seeing Dawn for the first time and realising her potential as she carved through the water, raced each other to the end of the pool to sign her up as a pupil.
Parramatta City developed a strong water polo team and a very successful relay team which included Julian Carroll and Robbie Griffiths.
Among the administrators of the club during the 1950's were Wes Costin, whose daughter Sue was one of the best swimmers around, and Arthur Griffith. Another administrator to earn special kudos was Marge Purnell. She was the first woman to qualify as a referee of men's events after the merging of the male and female divisions into a single organisation.