Today, the day after 2,300 pupils, and hundreds of families and members of the Watson’s community saw around Phase 3 of our new Centre for Sport we welcomed a former pupil with a long association with our swimming pool to be the first to dive into the pool.
Mr Ian Hutton (Class of 1942) was a pupil at the George Watson’s College (then a boys' school) when it moved to the Colinton Road campus in 1932. At that time he was an 8-year-old pupil and as such he was one of the first to swim in the new pool. His involvement with the swimming pool continued after he left school in 1942 to be a soldier and he rarely missed his weekly swim with the Watsonian Swimming Club until the pool closed prior to the construction of Phase 3 of the George Watson’s Centre for Sport in June 2010. Then a sprightly 85 he was the last swimmer out of the pool.
Joining him today to support him for his historic dip were his wife Judith; one of his daughters, Caroline Swann (Class of 1979); and his youngest grand-daughter, Sarah Crummey, who is a sixth year pupil in her last term at school, and who is the last of the fifth generation of this family of Watsonians to leave.
Mr Hutton cannot remember when he had his first swimming lesson but he recalls with clarity the regulation swimwear, which comprised miniscule maroon triangles tied at each side.
Principal, Gareth Edwards, said of this historic moment, “It seemed fitting that Mr Hutton continue his long-standing association with our swimming pool. It was state-of-the-art when he first jumped in in 1932 and the building, which houses our refurbished pool and sports facilities and equipment, is certainly fit for the 21st century. We are delighted with the new building and so many came on Monday night to look around to share in the excitement of its first day available to the School.
“The reactions from our pupils, their parents and everyone else who has seen the building, which brings Watson’s recent investment in sport up to £8m, prove that this has been money well spent. We are very fortunate indeed to have such outstanding facilities and I would like to thank everyone who has worked hard to see this project through and who have supported us all along the way.”