A Championship was agreed at the annual meeting of the Sussex ‘Centre’ in 1897 and took place in Eastbourne as part of the Eastbourne Fete week. A perpetual trophy was presented to the winner.
In 1906 the Championships included swimming, a water polo competition and musical performance as well as speeches.
With more pools being built and more clubs being formed the Championships grew. The Championships began to look much like the event we have today with a variety of strokes and distances. It was not until around 1933 that butterfly was introduced.
As facilities improved so did the quality and speed of swimmers. Qualification times for county championships in 1977 were very different from the times we have today.
The organisation of championships was also very different. Very little was computerised and entries were managed by a complex card entry system. Only the biggest events had electronic timing and as recently as 1980’s our Championships could sometimes last well into the night; on at least one occasion going on past midnight.