John Stewart

John is the eldest son of two former Club Swimmers, Grace Morton and Harry Stewart.  He was brought up at a time when Kilmarnock ASC had an abundance of great swimmers like, Jim McTaggart , Margaret McDowall , Eleanor Steawart, Vi Bland, Gary Littlejohn to name only a few.

He first joined the Club at the age of 10yrs. His first race was a 50 yard handicapped race at Prestwick Outdoor pool when he swam against none other than Gary Littlejohn and the said Jim McTaggart.  His prize for winning the event was a thermos flask.  His first competitive race at the clubs annual gala was in the Victory Trophy in which he came second.  The following year he won the Trophy, which was previously held by his father and further more won the Barbadoes Cup for the first of three times.  The Forbes Cup which John also won has the distinction of being the only Cup within the Club that has had a dead heat winner between John and Alex Devlin, a future GB International and Record holder.

Throughout his short swimming career, John, who was initially a breast stroke swimmer was changed to concentrate on Butterfly at the age of 12 years.  In 1966 he reached the finally of the Scottish age group Championships for 100 yards Breast Stroke losing in the final to DAVID WILKIE.  The following year he reached the final of the 100 yards Butterfly coming third.  1967 was to be a major push for John in many respects.

Whilst training at Gorbals baths, an occurrence that took place every Sunday for selected Western District Swimmers he became the first swimmer of any age in Britain to complete 1 Mile Butterfly and therefore became the First member of the Ribena 1 Mile Butterfly Club.

Further to this he was also selected to become a member of the Scottish Elite Age Group Squad which trained twice a year in Aberdeen. He was joined at this time by Joe Julyan.

Sadly, however, his promising career was to be cut short on Medical advice and by the age of 14 he had to retire from Competitive Swimming.  This however was not the end of his story.  By the time he was 18 yrs John, who had now taken up Rugby as a sport had represented James Hamilton Academy, Kilmarnock Academy (3 years) , Ayrshire Schools (2 years), Glasgow Schools (2 years) and Scottish Schools.  He then joined Kilmarnock Rugby Club where he was a member of the first XV team squad, Captained the under 21 team, as well as playing for the 1st and 2nd 7 a side teams as well as continuing his International progress with Scottish Colleges and Universities sides.  For a second time though he had to retire from a sport he loved due to a serious injury sustained whilst playing against English Colleges. He was 22 years of age.

John was then given the opportunity to return to the Swimming Club due to the poor health of his father who was at the time the Coach.  In 1977 he was appointed as the first Professional coach of the Club.  A year later John resigned from the Club as the Committee failed to get training and transport facilities for its Age group finalists when the Pool was closed for its annual cleaning one month before the Finals.

In 1980 he joined Strathclyde Police, who he served with for over 25 years before being injured at the 2001 demonstration against the closing, of all things the Govanhill Swimming Pool.  He did however, whilst being a serving Police Officer become the Co Creator of AFYD (Angling for Youth Development) which is now running throughout all of Scotland and is being developed for launch in the other home countries as well as several European Countries, USA, Canada and New Zealand.

Being retired now, he teaches swimming at the Galleon most Sunday mornings and enjoys watching Rugby and Fly Fishing.

 

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