1884 - 2019. 134 Years of an Open Water Institution

Founded in 1884 in the Broughty Ferry area of Dundee, Scotland. Ye Amphibious Ancients Bathing Association, known colloquially as ‘The Phibbies’, are a voluntary organisation with over 100 members and hold Scottish Charity Status.

An affiliation is also held with

  • The Scottish Amateur Swimming Association (SASA)

  • The British Long Distance Swimming Association (BLDSA)

  • The Midland District Swimming Association (MDSA).

The Phibbies retain a passion for open-water swimming which has been the main part of its identity since those far off days of swimmers that would go for their regular daily ‘Dook’ (before the regular use of indoor swimming pools) from Broughty Pier into the River Tay.

As well as being something of an institution in the Tayside area the organisation is unique in being the only one of its kind left in the country.

Today, the organisation arranges and hosts a variety of open-water swim events with a summer programme of routes/courses to offer a different range of challenges attracting swimmers from the UK, Europe and beyond. The swims are organised for all ages and there are competitive and non-competitive events. ‘Phibbies Rules’ are applied such as; No Wetsuits please!

The premier events that attract the most numbers of participants (and spectators) are the Discovery Mile at the height of summer and the New Year’s Day Dook which continues to go from strength to strength.

While holding traditional values The Phibbies have always had ambition and been served by progressive members that have aimed to punch above their weight. Complacency would be deemed a greater threat than any other challenge posed.

The purpose is to foster and encourage the sport of open-water swimming through a method of progression from expert training and guidance of ASA qualified Teachers and Coaches at indoor classes held by the organisation at the city’s St John’s High School to summer training outdoors at Broughty Ferry Harbour. Eventually participating in open-water events after a period of conditioning with safety at all times paramount.

The aim is to also develop links with other swimming clubs/organisation both near and far to do as much as possible to grow the sport in future.

As safety is the main concern at all times there is a great need for assistance from technically trained and qualified volunteers to allow our swims to even take place and it is for this purpose that we rely heavily on goodwill. As mentioned above we hold charitable status and are very active on the recruitment of volunteers and offer opportunities to gain many worthwhile skills.

  • We give coaches and Technical Official trainees an opportunity to gain their qualifications under a mentorship.

  • At a swim event each swimmer is accompanied by a small boat (with boat handler and lifesaver) as well as having our fleet backed up by a high speed rescue craft. We therefore run boat handling courses and lifesaving certification.

As you can imagine there are all kinds of characters that this appeals to (from swimmer to volunteer) and as well as commitment a sense of humour makes it all worthwhile.

Swimmers from the club have ventured far just for the sheer hell of it from; the Lochs of Scotland to England’s Lake District, The Channel, Europe and Even the Suez Canal to name a few.

The organisation greatly values all interest; input, charitable donations and general goodwill that it receives and looks forward to saying hello to new members and friends.