This article was written by Jack Meade for a booklet commemorating the Irish Sub-aqua Club's twenty-fifth anniversary.
Like all other sports, it was inevitable that diving should develop a competitive side to it and over the years, the I.S.A.C. has played a major part in this development.
In 1958, Cedric Bowmer won the "Finlater Cup", a trophy presented for a spearfishing competition, which, at that time, was the main competitive sport. Spearfishing prospered in those days because of the difficulty and expense of obtaining aqualung equipment, but sadly, in recent years, it has lost some of its popularity. Personally I think this is due to the amount of time and physical effort involved in each competition. However, over the years our club has been represented in international competitions - Majorca 1963, Peru 1975, Italy 1977 and Minorca 1978. We have never really heard how well they did, but we gather that they enjoyed themselves.
In more recent years, the variety of competition has increased to include fin-swimming and underwater-orienteering. The I.S.A.C. holds its own fin-swimming competition and our club has won the Irish Open Fin Swim team event in Mullingar for the past four years. This is no mean achievement when we consider the team consisted of the same members for three of those years, John Bruce, Dave McCormack and Jack Meade. Last year we had Con Cummins, Laurence Thermes and Jack Meade keeping up the good work. Here, I would like a special word of praise for John Bruce whose performance in this competition and indeed, in all other competitions should be a source of inspiration to everyone. This spirit is typical of that which has kept the club to the fore on the competitive scene.
In underwater-orienteering, yet another member of our club seems to be making it his own. I am of course referring to Brian McGuinness who won the two major orienteering competitions this year.
Our own "Davy Jones" competition was first held in 1971 and was an immediate success. Ted Spendlove rightly decided at the time that a competition was needed which would give trainee divers an equal chance with their more experienced counterparts. Thousands of bottle tops are dropped into the sea and there is a mad rush to see who can retrieve the most. This usually proves to be a most entertaining afternoon for the innocent onlookers on Greystones beach!
But, perhaps, the most exciting and intense competition is the National Gala, appropriately held at the end of the competitive year. From the beginning the I.S.A.C. set a high standard with the likes of Brian Cusack, Fergus McKenna, Joe Murray and Sean Sheridan who made the Aqualung event their own. This year we proved we still had the talent by either winning or being placed in virtually all the events and we walked away with the much coveted "Harp Larger" trophy. A big thanks must go to our Competitions Officer, Con Cummins who has kept the interest going with his dedication and enthusiasm and also a word of mention for the excellent female swimmers the club is fortunate to have at present.
Jack Meade, 1981