The Water Nymph Club (Part Five)

During the summer of 1923, the Telegram published a syndicated series of swimming tips for women. As summer swim season approaches (maybe), it seems like a good time to return to this series.  Click here for the full series

tely 1923-08-13 water nymph club

The Telegram, August 13, 1923.

Winsome: “generally pleasing and engaging because of a childlike charm and innocence” (for example, “a winsome smile”) – Merriam-Webster

Get used to seeing “winsome” a lot during the rest of this series: the Tely would use it a lot. Do not feel embarrassed if this creeps you out, as from a 2020 perspective, it comes off as the editors going overboard to fetishize female swimmers.

tely 1923-08-13 a nymph is always a lady

The Telegram, August 13, 1923.

On the front page of the paper’s second section, readers were told why men cannot be water nymphs. Something about Greek mythology and concrete gender boundaries. Still, the paper made sure any hot-blooded men would have an opportunity to show off their swimming skills and torsos. Given that prohibition was still in effect in Ontario in 1923, there was little chance that, unless you took a flask behind a pavilion, “Swimming Expert” Johnnie Walker would enjoy with you a swig of the fine beverage he shared his name with.

Then again, the copy editor might have tossed back a few shots. Johnny (not Johnnie) Walker was a distinguished swimming coach and instructor, whose notable students included George “The Catalina Kid” Young. Walker’s renown was such that he received an obituary in the New York Times in 1935, which mentioned his training camp for Lake Ontario swimming marathons and his role as swim coach at the West End YMCA. During 1923, his son Tommy was a champion in an American pentathlon.

tely 1923-08-13 water nymph carnival ad

The Telegram, August 13, 1923.

By this point, at least two ads a day were dedicated to promoting the carnival. Let’s take a break and return to the actual lessons…

tely 1923-08-14 water nymph club

The Telegram, August 14, 1923.

tely 1923-08-15 water nymph club

The Telegram, August 15, 1923.

Your break from “winsome” is about to end…

tely 1923-08-15 fine array of water nymphs

The Telegram, August 15, 1923.

More historically important than the Water Nymph Carnival: work progressing nicely on Kingston Road between Oshawa and Whitby.

tely 1923-08-16 water nymph club

The Telegram, August 16, 1923.

tely 1923-08-16 water nymph carnival article

The Telegram, August 16, 1923.

tely 1923-08-17 water nymph club

The Telegram, August 17, 1923.

tely 1923-08-17 water nymph carnival ad 2

The Telegram, August 17, 1923.

And here’s your admission coupon…

The Telegram printing plant listed at 650 Dupont Street is today the Dupont and Christie Loblaws.

tely 1923-08-18 water nymph club

The Telegram, August 18, 1923.

Next time: Complete team coverage of the 1923 Telegram Water Nymph Carnival.

Additional sources: the May 1, 1935 edition of the New York Times.

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