The Way It Was

Detroit Yacht Club's Women's Swim Team, 1929


photograph courtesy of The Walter R. Reuther Library Archives of Labor and Urban Affairs, Wayne State University (The Detroit News)


 To some, the summer pursuit of “going swimming” means simply lolling about in the water, floating on one’s back, or perhaps ensconced in an inner tube, quaffing a potent libation. But serious swimmers, like this group of naiads, take to the water as naturally and gracefully as porpoises. Diving off the pier of the Detroit Yacht Club on Belle Isle are these determined members of the club’s Women’s Swimming Team. In 1946, the club’s female members created the country’s first women’s sailing organization, racing the DYC’s catboats. Founded in 1868, the Detroit Yacht Club is celebrating its sesquicentennial in 2018. The current Mediterranean-style clubhouse was designed by George Mason (who also designed Detroit’s Masonic Temple and Mackinac Island’s Grand Hotel) in 1923. There is an indoor Olympic-size pool, festooned with Pewabic tile, as well as an outdoor Olympic pool first constructed in the 1960s and more than doubled in size by 1999. Sailing may be the club’s raison d’être, but swimming doesn’t rank far behind.


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