The Crystal Pool, located at Vancouver’s Sunset Beach, was home to some of B.C.’s best swimmers. The posh saltwater pool opened in 1928 as part of a private club called the Connaught Beach Club. There were plans for tennis courts, Turkish bath, and a ballroom but the operators went broke, and the contractors finished only the pool. Between 1931 and 1955 Percy Norman, considered Canada’s foremost authority in swimming and diving, served as head coach of the Vancouver Amateur Swim Club at the Crystal Pool. He coached the 1936 Canadian Olympic swim team and the 1954 British Empire and Commonwealth Games team that won six medals.READ MORE
Howard Firby began as an assistant coach under Norman in 1948 and became head coach in 1955. With Norman as coach, the VASC placed swimmers on national teams. Howard created the Dolphin Swim Club in 1956, which also trained at the Crystal Pool. The club placed two swimmers on the 1956 Olympic Team. Hellen Stewart would set a world record for the 100-yard freestyle (25 yards) at the pool. The Crystal Pool was demolished in 1974 and replaced by the Vancouver Aquatic Centre, which remains the home of the Canadian Dolphin Swim Club, which has produced Olympic medallists including Elaine Tanner, Cheryl Gibson, Donna-Marie Gurr and Bruce Robertson.