Swansea University alumna and current staff member, Deirdre Magoris, was a member of Swansea University Swimming and Water Polo Club (1982-85) and Swansea Dolphins.  The pool shaped her life, and is where she met her husband and lifelong friends.

A head and shoulders photo of Deirdre Magoris.

Deirdre's Memory

I grew up on the Kent / Sussex border and came to Swansea University in September 1982, during a Freshers’ Week which was a far smaller event than it is now! I joined the University Swimming and Water Polo Club, and because I had a swimming teaching qualification I was also invited to join the affiliated local Swansea Dolphins Swimming Club, and undertake some voluntary teaching. Colwyn Williamson, coach of both the University Club and the Swansea Dolphins, was a lecturer in the University Philosophy department.

As I taught for the Swansea Dolphins, I was able to join them as a member, swim and compete. Being part of the Swansea Dolphins was a unique experience for me and many others as students, as we felt part of the local community and were able to engage and socialise with local families.

I swam and played water polo competitively for both the University Swimming Club and the Swansea Dolphins. The University Club competed all over the UK, including a short course competition at the University of Warwick, and a long course event at the University of Liverpool. The Swansea Dolphins competed all over South Wales. I even took part in exchange trips to the Waterford Crystal Swimming Club in Ireland, and  trips to Bristol and Salisbury – usually on the bus owned by the Swansea Dolphins! We also played water polo, and some members of our Clubs even represented Wales.

As recently as 2005, I organised a reunion of former Club members which was attended by members who graduated between 1985 – 2000. We played water polo and had a night out in Mumbles. Some recent students still get together regularly. 

I am still friends with many people from the Dolphins - some of whom have University connections, and many who don’t – and I met up with three of them this year, which isn’t bad for a restricted 2020! The beach, pool and house parties we had when I was a student were legendary, but very different to usual student parties - you would find staff members (from departments including Engineering, Chemistry, Philosophy and Computer Science), families and community members there.

I have often wondered how many years of my life I spent in this swimming pool. For me and many of my student friends, our lives revolved around chlorine. I met my husband Kevin, the son of Coach Colwyn Williamson, in the pool at a joint University/Swansea Dolphins training session and we have been married for 31 years (together for 37), and have two children, Jack and Lucy.

Our children continued our relationship with the swimming pool, taking swimming lessons, and the staff were a constant in our lives – such as Roger Harvey (who sadly passed away), and local legend Brian Williamson, who can still be found in the University gym!

A group photo of the Swansea Dolphins on a club trip to the BUSC short course competition at the University of Warwick in the autumn of 1983.
Swansea University swimming pool

Coming to Swansea University and being part of its Swimming Club, and the Swansea Dolphins, has shaped my life. I was Secretary of the Swansea University Swimming and Water Polo Club (1982-85) and Athletic Union Secretary (1983-84). I have worked in roles for Swansea University since 1996, including in the Library and Medical School, where I am based now.

When I hear about University’s Third or Civic Mission, I think that the Swansea Dolphins was doing that back in the 1980s! It was a club set up by University staff, mainly for their children originally, which welcomed student and local community members and truly brought us together.

Dolphins green logo
Close up of the Dolphin's club logo - embroidered at Nash Sports in Sketty