Devonport Royal Swimming Association

Established 1863

Devon County Club of the Year 2018

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 Our History in Pictures

We are one of the oldest swimming clubs in the United Kingdom, having been established in 1863, and the only swimming club that is entitled to call itself "Royal". We consequently have a rich history of developing fine swimmers and water polo players, initially serving the people of Devonport and then the wider Plymouth area.

Many current and former members have contributed to our "History in Pictures" presented below. Prominent among these are the late Reg Bossom, the 1962/63 President of Devon County ASA, who collected hundreds of photographs and newspaper reports spanning seven decades (and later catalogued in scrapbooks by former club chairman, Robin Ferris).

Sally Dean, whose father Ed played over 1,000 water polo matches for the club, broke the Devon County 200 yards Breaststroke record in 1948 and went on to become the President of the ASA, provided another fascinating scrapbook with several decades of material.

If you have any further photographs or reports which you would like to share with us, please contact

DRSA - Our History in Pictures

 DRSA Reminiscences 1951-2014

The late Brian Ferrand coached our youngsters over a period of almost 40 years, was a member of the club for 64 years and was also a former President of the British Long Distance Swimming Association. In the attached document Brian shared his knowledge of the club's history and introduced us to some of the club's legends. This is simply a must-read for all friends of DRSA.

Click here to read Brian's reminiscences.

 History of Title

The full and correct title of the club is the Devonport Royal Swimming Association and Humane Society. The Humane Society part of the title dates from when members of the club were responsible for retrieving bodies from the Hamoaze and Plymouth Sound. Port of Plymouth Swimming Association was responsible for the Plym, the Barbican area and around to Western Kings. Devonport was responsible from Western Kings up to Saltash. Today, this function is carried out by the Ministry of Defence Police river patrols.

Article printed in 1939 explaining the
origin of the club's Royal title.

The club was given its "Royal" title by the Duke of Edinburgh, Prince Albert, the second son of Queen Victoria. He was a career naval officer and served all around the world, eventually becoming Admiral of the Fleet. He married Maria Alexandrovna, only daughter of Tsar Alexander II of Russia. They had 6 children, some of whom swam with the club when he was Commander-in-Chief at Devonport Naval Base from 1890 to 1893.

The Duke and Duchess of Edinburgh.

Club badge 1950s style.