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Springfield College Records: Aquatic Club (RG 176)

A photograph of the Springfield College Aquatic Club. The photo is undated, but is believed to haved been taken between 1940 to 1960. Most of the men are standing except on the left and right of the Aquatic Club banner where men are either seated on the floor or on chairs.

The Aquatic Club

The Aquatic Club made its debut at Springfield College in the fall of 1938 and existed through the 1959-60 school year. In 1938, it was called the “number one club of the school year” and received attention across campus. The Aquatic Club was formed largely through the efforts of Richard Pohndorf, a Springfield College graduate of the class of 1939. The main purpose of the club was to aid in the “advancement of aquatics and promotion of the aquatic, social, and cultural life of its members” (yearbook 1939).

To gain recognition, the Aquatic Club sponsored events such as an annual dance, guest speakers, movies on aquatics, and guest swimmers of national fame. The proceeds from these events went into a treasury set aside for the construction of a new swimming pool for the college. The social spotlights of the Aquatic Club were the annual Freestyle Fling dance and the traditional Water Carnival. The Water Carnival was typically held during the winter term and featured swimmers in the national spotlight. During the 1950s this included Springfield College’s own William A. Yorzyk (Class of 1954), the 1956 Olympic gold medalist of the dolphin-butterfly. One of the Aquatic Club’s biggest undertakings was “the furtherance of a movement to realize an All New England Aquatics Club organization” (yearbook 1950).

The Aquatic Club existed through the spring of 1960. In the fall of 1960, the Swim Club made a short one year appearance before being replaced by the Marlin Club in the fall of 1961.

Scope and Contents of the Collection

The Aquatic Club Records collection contains brochures, newspaper articles, photographs, correspondence and hand-written notes. The bulk of the materials are from the Water Carnivals put on by the club from 1954 to 1958. These materials were donated by Dr. William A. Yorzyk and include notes and statistics on the carnivals (including the results of the races held), newspaper articles published before and after the carnivals, and brochures that are often marked with results of the races. There are also a few photographs of club members and a scene from one of the carnivals (ca. 1938-1960).