Hamilton Aquatic Club: A Part of Hamilton, Canada and World swimming history.
The Hamilton Aquatic Club has a long and proud history. The groundwork was laid in 1930 when the City of Hamilton graciously hosted the first British Empire Games, which is now known as the Commonwealth Games.
For this event, the city contributed $30,000 to bring athletes over from various countries. More importantly it built a brand new indoor swimming facility where the swimming events would take place. In the time of the Great Depression this was certainly an amazing feat. These games made swimming history by also being the first international swim meet to have been held indoors.
An athlete at those games who won gold in the 4 x 200 was Mr James Gilmour Thompson. Thompson had competed in the 1928 Amsterdam Olympics, winning bronze in 880 yard freestyle event for Canada.
When “Jimmy” Thompson moved to Hamilton in 1932 The Delta Aquatic Club was looking to change it’s name. It was changed, and the “Hamilton Aquatic Club” was born. Founding members were: Jack McCormack (first president); Jimmy Thompson became the first coach. This laid the foundation for Hamilton to be a dominant force in aquatic sports in Hamilton and Canada.
During his tenure up until 1966, he helped develop many Canadian top competitive swimmers, including: George Larson, Jack McCormick, George Park, Den Gazell, Dan Sherry, and Patty Thompson.
Thompson also introduced the sport of water polo to the club, becoming the first coach of water polo. In 1947 the Hamilton Water Polo club won their first of 11 straight national titles. His son Robert Thompson, Mike McLoughlin, and Pete Saberton, were among the elite athletes that emerged in this sport. Diving was also introduced in the Hamilton Aquatic Club where accomplished divers Harry Class and Irene McDonald developed. Water Polo and Diving now operate as independent clubs in their own right.