Remembering Robert Watson, A Swimming Chronicler & HistorianCourtesy of Kelvin Juba, UK.
Robert Patrick Watson was at his peak and focused on swimming well ahead of any other sports journalist.
Watson was a British journalist who wrote in the second half of the 19th century. Although his name does not ring a bell in contemporary society, Watson attempted to publish a number of swimming magazines without success. But he still left a legacy well worth remembering.
His writings present comprehensive information on swimming in the early competitive era. He may have been the world’s first regular chronicler of swimming and early swimming events with a significant range of contributions.
Between 1873 and 1918, Watson reported for the Daily Independent, the Irish Sportsman, Sporting Life and Bicycle Journal. He also published his own newspapers including the Swimming Record, Chronicle of Sporting Events, and Swimming Notes. Watson was the only person to run a dedicated swimming magazine in Britain until Swimming Times was launched in 1924.
In 1881, Watson became the first Honorary Secretary of the Professional Swimming Association which was formed as a response to the controversies of the forerunner of the Amateur Swimming Association. The Professional Swimming Association ceased operations in 1891. He tracked and reported on the early development of the Amateur Swimming Association and may well have been the publisher of The Swimmer in or around 1886.
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