Pool History

Granville pool has won a lasting place in the annals of Australian swimming history.

Though John Devitt is the most famous of Granville's swimmers, the pool was host to many others who brought glory to Australia during the halcyon years of the 1950's and early 60's.

At one time in the 1950's Granville had 17 national Australian champions training here. As well, it was used by other champions from time to time. Dawn Fraser and John Henricks were two such swimmers whose coach, Harry Gallagher, brought them here on the frequent occasions when their home base at Drummoyne was out of commission.

It was at Granville, too, where Dawn Fraser, first came to prominence with a win over Lorraine Crapp. 

Granville pool was also the favoured venue for a young diver named Paul Hogan. A Granville resident, he was chosen in the State junior diving team but is best remembered for his clowning in the comic diving team of the Parramatta City Amateur Swimming Club. 

His equally mad partner was Midge Betts, a frequent winner of the State diving title from 1944 to 1961.

Because of its superior diving facilities. including a 10m tower, Granville was, in the words of 1952 and 1956 Olympian Frank Murphy, "the Wimbledon of diving in Sydney". Other great divers at Granville were Arthur O'Connor and Jack McCann.

In the late 1940s and early 1950s several Granville boys were in the top echelon of Australian swimming. There were Barrie Kellaway, Colin Heckenberg and Barry Darke. It was his friendship with these three and a determination to emulate them that was the motivation for John Devitt to become the world's fastest 100m freestyler and Olympic Gold medallist in 1956 (relay) and 1960 (100m).

John won three Gold Medals at the 1958 Commonwealth Games, also, and world records between 1957-1963. 

That he and others like him at the time achieved so much for Australia is a credit to total dedication. Though Granville pool was a major training venue our champion swimmers got no special treatment. They had to share the pool with leisure swimmers. Many were the times when butterflyer Colin Heckenberg carved a passage through the crowd so that Devitt and Darke could train in his wake.


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