Orla takes ‘historic’ plunge

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Cumbernauld Swimming Club founder member Danny McGowan is the town’s proudest dad - and grand-dad - after history repeated itself at the baths.

Back in 1980 his daughter Alison (now married as Alison Gowen) appeared on the News front page as swimming fanatic Danny introduced her to the baths for the first time.

Now, nearly 35 years later, Alison – with dad – gave her six-month old daughter Orla exactly the same treatment ... making the pages of the News yet again.

It’s a neat way of underlining the importance of Cumbernauld Swimming Club as it celebrates its 50th anniversary.

Alison said: “We’ve kept the newspaper cutting of me taking the plunge all those years ago – and now Orla is doing exactly the same thing.

“Dad is 73 now, but he still spends all his time coaching people.

“He was fully involved even before the club was established, and has been completely enthusiastic about it ever since, right through those 50 years.

“He must have taught hundreds of people to swim during all that time.”

Alison doesn’t look too enthusiastic in that 34-year-old flashback picture, but that first encounter with swimming baths was to lead – unsurprisingly – to a lifetime’s enjoyment of one of the healthiest forms of exercise.

This year has been special for Danny and his family on several levels, because theclub’s anniversary has provided the opportunity to look back on five decades of commitment to swimming tuition in the area.

To make the latest family visit to the pool still more memorable Danny was celebrating yet another in an impressive series of career highlights – one which cements his position as a major force in youth swimming training.

He was handed the Outstanding Service to Scottish Swimming award at a special ceremony staged at Glasgow’s Kelvingrove museum and art gallery, sponsored by Scottish Gas.

It’s seen as a fitting acknowledgement of a lifetime’s dedicated commitment.

But of course joining his daughter and her wee girl at the baths was an occasion that was in a special class of its own – and, who knows, maybe she will look back on her first time visit several decades from now, courtesy of a Cumbernauld News cutting.