Tag Archives: Swimming

Star of the Silver Pool (1983)


Invalid Alison West’s mother, a top diving coach, has disappeared in a plane crash so Alison has been sent to live with her cruel uncle and aunt and their selfish daughter, Brenda. Alison discovers a mysterious silver pool deep in a forest. There, with the aid of a mysterious voice, she starts learning to dive, and also begins to secretly use Brenda’s personal gym for the same purpose.

Despite her aunt’s decision to lock her in the cellar to prevent her from getting to the diving championships in the nearby town, Alison manages to escape with the help of a mysterious monk. A neighbour drives her to the venue, where she becomes county champion. Outside the building the monk appears again and leads her to a waiting car belonging to Mr Bundock, the family solicitor. When Alison asks where they are going he says he is to take her to the appointed place, which is an airport. The plane takes her to the very place in the Tibetan Himalayas where her mother’s plane had crashed over a year earlier. There she sees her silver pool and the face of her mother. She feels guilty about letting her mother down but her mother disagrees. When Alison turns round she sees her flesh-and-blood mother who has been cared for by the monks since the crash. A monk tells Alison that her mother had only been able to recover because her daughter had been strong too. The monk tells them that the work of the pool is over, and it is now time for them to return to their own world, time to begin their lives again.



  • Star of the Silver Pool – Suzy: #35 (7 May 1983) – #50 (20 August 1983)


Mermaids at War


Former swimming star Dodie Lamont gave Diana Renton a job as a couch to the Mermaid Swimming club, promising to donate money to save Mermaids swimming pool only if Diana could produce a champion. Anthea Lomax and Maggie Main were the clubs brightest hopes and Diana turned them into deadly rivals to provoke best performance.



  •  Mermaids at War – Suzy: (?) – #122 (5 January 1985)

Unfair to Favourites (1985)

Judy Picture Library 271

Published: Judy Picture Library #271.  Reprinted: Bunty Picture Library #428

Artists: Norman Lee (cover); Ana Rodriguez (story)


Jayne and Jean Gentry seem to have everything going for them in the activities they pursue: ballet (Jean), and athletics (Jayne). They are set to go to the top in their various activities and the school even makes allowances for it. But there is one problem – it has bred favouritism among their parents. Dad favours Jayne because she pursues sport, Mum favours Jean because she does the same with ballet, and neither parent pays much attention to the other girl. The root of the favouritism is that each parent only cares about one activity, which they once pursued themselves and are pursuing again through their respective daughter. Neither is willing to be more generous to the other activity; Mum does not care for athletics (“athletics don’t do anything for me”) and Dad is the same about ballet (“ballet nonsense”). Both say they don’t understand the other activity but neither makes an effort to understand it more.


Each parent thinks that the other is too single-minded about the activity they do care about while deriding the other activity unfairly. Neither parent comes to the other activity to lend support to their other daughter. For example, Mum is annoyed that Dad doesn’t come to see Jayne perform on stage because he cares more about an athletics convention. Dad is likewise annoyed at Mum for not coming to watch and support Jean perform at an athletics event because she took Jayne to watch the Royal Ballet Company. This is not the case with the sisters themselves, who make the time to watch the other and give moral support.

Favourites 2

Jayne and Jean decide enough is enough and they need to find a way to change their parents. They start with trying to win something in the other activity, with the other’s help. But they forget that there is a reason that one pursues ballet/athletics and the other not – one has the aptitude for it, and the other not. And they soon find that out the hard way. When Jean tries cross-country running with Jayne’s help, she ends up in such a state that she is not fit for ballet class. When Jayne tries ballet with Jean’s help, she ends up with a foot injury that leaves her unfit for a sports event. In both cases the parents blow up, each blaming the other girl and the other parent unfairly. Each parent ends up quarrelling with the other about how they go over the top with the activity they favour, play favourites with their pet daughter, and don’t pay any attention to the other daughter. When Jayne, Jean and their dog Timmy return home wet after unwittingly using a leaky boat, Mum unfairly blames Jayne, thinking she encouraged Jean again, and this leads to a similar row between the parents. Mum and Dad can see it in each other all right – but they can’t see it in themselves, which is what they must do if things are to change.

Jean and Jayne then try to talk to their parents about how they carry on in playing favourites. But both take offence, saying they can’t help not liking ballet/athletics. The girls realise how set the parents are in their ways and it is going to be very difficult to change them.

The stress of the failure takes its toll on the girls, and they lose form at ballet/athletics. Their teachers recommend a break, so the parents stop making their daughters spend so much time at their various activities.

During the break, Jean and Jayne try something else. Jayne has a go at Jean’s other activity, which is skating. But the coach says that although Jayne is good, she is not good enough to make competition standard like her sister. When Jean tries Jayne’s other activity by making a bid for the school swimming trials, she fails because of the same thing – good but not good enough.

Then, after the swimming trials, Jayne grumbles at how fed up they are, and still wondering how to change their parents. A schoolteacher, Miss Maybrick, overhears and asks what is wrong. The girls explain the problem, and Miss Maybrick comes up with an idea – an activity that combines athletic and artistic ability.

Favourites 3

So for the next few weeks, the parents are disappointed to hear that the girls are on strike over ballet/athletics because of a school project that they are very secretive about. When the time comes, the school invites the parents to a gymnastics competition, which Jayne and Jean have been giving up everything else to train for. And it is here that both parents watch their daughters together; Dad sees Jean in action for the first time and Mum watches Jayne for the first time. When Mum watches Jayne’s floor exercises, she sees and appreciates the artistic side while Dad grasps the athletic part. When Jean goes on the bars, Dad is impressed at what she can do there, and Mum says it’s due to ballet, which has given her grace and strong muscles. Before long, both parents are cheering their daughters on. They are thrilled to see them win medals, and finally wake up to their earlier mistakes. Afterwards, they take Jayne and Jean out to a celebratory dinner. The girls know that they are both favourites with their parents now.

Favourites 4


 The premise is a refreshing one – two sisters who are the best of friends but suffer because each parent takes favourites over one child while ignoring the other, just because they are not a fan of the activity the other child pursues. It makes a change having two protagonists suffer in this way. Usually it is just one, who is overshadowed and put down because her sibling(s) excel at their various activities and make Mum and Dad proud while she doesn’t seem to shine at anything.

The portrayal of the parents is rooted in realism and real life, which makes their characterisation so effective. They are not intentionally neglectful or mean; it is just that they are both so single-minded about the activity they are interested in and the girl who pursues it to the exclusion of everything else in life. They are also narrow-minded about the other activity. Both parents make disparaging comments about the other activity, neither will give it more of a chance, or at least try to tolerate it enough to come and watch their daughter. They are too wrapped up in the activity they are interested in.

Favourites 5

The resolution is realistic and also refreshing. The girls confide in someone (which does not often happen in girls’ comics) who comes up with an idea that could be the answer. The girls can’t believe they didn’t think of it themselves.

The teacher and the headmistress are so wonderful in the way they bend over backwards to help the girls with their problem: excusing the girls lessons to train for it, and helping to keep it a carefully guarded secret until the parents are actually watching the event as they don’t know how the parents will take it if they had prior knowledge of it. The girls come away with a whole new appreciation for teachers, as do we. Sometimes teachers are not the idiots or meanies that they are in other stories. Sometimes they are the ones with the brains and wisdom to put everything right.



Kim of the Canals


When Kim Barry’s grandfather dies, her horrible Uncle Sam and cousin Laura move into her barge home, the “Northern Queen”. They abuse Kim and treat her like a slave, but she puts up with it because of her love of swimming. She joins a swimming club and is determined to train at every opportunity.



  • Writer: Maureen Hartley


  • Kim of the Canals –  Mandy:  #381 (04 May 1974) – #395 (10 August 1974)


Sandra’s Secret Swim


Sandra Shaw and her family are bird-watching on the island of Alteiri when it is taken over by Antello Perez and his Black Mambe terrorists. They plan to assassinate President Stanislau of Louvain, a world-famous peace worker. Perez takes Sandra hostage. She is determined to swim for help, but has to learn to swim properly after polio, and in secret.



Artist: Terry Aspin


  • Sandra’s Secret Swim –  Debbie: #199 (4 December 1976) – (?)

Tough of the Pool


Jess Haliday (Sue in the reprint) dreams of being a world swimming champion. But her obsession with her sport and her rough, outspoken ways have landed her in trouble, to the point where she ends up on probation and the other girls in her swimming club resent her. And worse is to follow.



  • Art: Ian Kennedy


  • Tough of the Pool –  Judy: (?) – #971(19 August 1978)
  • Tough of the Pool –  Judy:  circa #1492 (20 August 1988) – (?)


The Lady is a Champ


Lady Elizabeth Ellsworth, a fifteen-year-old girl, is being trained by her Aunt Ellen to win an Olympic Gold Medal. Lady Elizabeth wins a place in the Olympic team, and three girls, Spike, Butch and Fiona, arrive at Marestone to train in Lady Elizabeth’s private swimming pool. Aunt Ellen has just announced that, at the Games, Lady Elizabeth will not be allowed to stay in the Olympic Village, but will stay privately with her.

lady is a champ



  • The Lady is a Champ – Judy: #480 (22 March 1969) –  #495 (05 July 1969)
  • Reprinted – Judy: #982 (04 November 1978) –  #997 (17 February 1979)


The Courage of Kim


Kim Dale has the task of retaining Yeoman’s Isle, her family’s home, by swimming round it in accordance with the conditions of a 12th-century charter, although she is suffering from an ever-increasing paralysis which she fears will immobilise her. Kim has discovered that the present landlord, the Mayor, knows of treasure on the island and is trying to force the Dales to leave. She, her brother, Dick, and her friend, Sally, try to find the treasure in a secret cave, but lose their boat in an avalanche. When two of the Mayor’s men come to the cave, Kim, Dick and Sally try to escape in their boat

courage of kim



  • The Courage of Kim – Judy:   364 (31 December 1966) – (?)