Sussex County

Sussex County

Amateur Swimming Association


The first clubs

Members of Brighton SC around 1860. Brighton is England oldest swimming club and celebrates its 159th anniversary this year, which makes them 9 years older than Swim England (ASA).


These early clubs were male only. But in December 1891 Brighton Ladies Swimming Club was formed.

At a meeting on 4th May 1860 at the Jolly Fisherman Inn, Brighton Swimming Club was officially constituted making it the first swimming club to be formed in England. This makes them older than Swim England (formerly Amateur Swimming Association) that was formed in 1869.

Other clubs quickly followed in Eastbourne, Worthing and Hastings. Clubs were also being formed inland with one of the first at Burgess Hill.

Brighton was also the site of one of the first swimming pools – Brills Baths were built on the site of what is now the Pool Valley Bus Station.

Members of Eastbourne SC in 1866
Miss Edith Styer who co-founded Brighton Ladies SC (now Brighton Dolphins) in 1891 and was the daughter of the first President of Sussex County ASA, L. R. Styer Esq. Miss Styer (in what we now term a masters swimmer i.e aged over 25) was the 100 Yards Southern Counties Ladies Champion in 1901 and in the same year swam the mile at Brighton Baths in a very creditable time of 39 minutes.

By 1895 a meeting of the Southern Counties Association in Brighton unanimously agreed ‘to form district and county local centres’ – Sussex County ASA was born.

Lease for Arch 86 on Brighton beach taken out by Brighton Ladies SC in 1893
Picture of Sussex’s first President Mr. L.R. Styer and other members of the Sussex committee. Mr L Meanden (back row far left) was president in 1904 and 1919. Mr St John Styer (back row far right) was County President in 1910.