Kinta Swimming Club at Jalan Silibin, which boasted the country’s first Olympic freshwater swimming pool, was recently reopened after being closed for 18 years. It has been refurbished at a total cost of RM5 million.
The MP for Tanjung Malim, Dato’ Seri Ong Ka Chuan, officiated at the opening ceremony. Also present were Ipoh’s favourite daughter and Bond girl Dato’ Michelle Yeoh and her father Dato’ Yeoh Kian Teik, a past President of the Club.
The current President of the club is Mr Hong Weng Kuen and the Vice President is Mr Hong Soon Kheong.
Dato’ Yeoh in his speech related how the club’s founder, the late Mr Foo Wha Cheong had approached his grandfather, the late Yeoh Khuan Joo, in the early 30s with the desire to set up a swimming club for non-Europeans. At that time there was only one swimming club available but was exclusive to Europeans.
The Kinta Swimming Club with a wooden clubhouse was officially launched in 1936 by the Sultan of Perak Sultan Iskandar Shah. In the mid fifties the club was renovated whereby the pool was tiled and a filtration plant built as well as a new clubhouse. It was officially opened by Ipoh Council Chairman Mr G.S. Walker in 1957.
Since its inception the Kinta Swimming Club, being a public pool with continuous supply of fresh water piped in from Kledang Hill by a tin mine belonging to Leong Sin Nam located in the vicinity, proved very popular. Various schools sent their students to learn how to swim and also used it for life-saving training.
The club also produced two outstanding swimmers, Cheah Tong Kim, who represented Malaysia in the Tokyo Olympics in 1964 and Ong Mei Lin who represented the country in the 1972 Munich Olympics.
Cheah Tong Kim, an ACS schoolboy, recalls some good memories of the club which he referred to as a second home. “Its entrance fee was 50 sen and we would stay there the whole day swimming or playing water polo at the deep end,” he said. In the sixties Cheah had the reputation of being the fastest breaststroke swimmer in the country. He was also a finalist in the 100m breaststroke at the 1966 commonwealth games in Kingston.
In 1992 the lease for the premises expired and the club was closed.
According to President, Hong, “KSC is not an Elite Club. We cater for the ‘Family-in-the-Street’,” he said.
The club is currently recruiting Transferable Subscribing Members. For enquiries the club can be contacted at: 05-5278417 or 05-5260226.