The club was originally planned in the early 60s for the exclusive use of Country Club Estates, and a bond of $350 was agreed to by 125 of their residents. However, when it came time to collect, several people changed their minds and membership was opened to any resident of Hillsborough so that necessary funds could be raised. Still not enough was raised, so 37 families offered their homes as collateral to the bank. The Charneski family, from whom the land was purchased, was given several years of free membership until the club could pay them back in full.
At the end of 5 years the loan from Somerset Trust could not be paid and had to be refinanced for a longer period of time. To underscore the value of $350 in 1962, the First National Bank of Central Jersey offered loans for people to buy their bonds.
The next problem to be solved was the actual building of the club. One must remember that in 1962 the condominium developments had not started in Hillsborough. New Amwell Road was a small 2-lane country road, and some neighbors objected to the building of a swim club, fearing noise and excessive traffic.
The Township ordered Roycefield to build a tall fence to screen adjoining property on the East; the loud speaker system was only allowed during swim meets, and no alcoholic beverages were allowed on pool property.
Despite many problems, Roycefield Swim Club opened on July 14, 1962.
Opening and closing day picnics were held at the Manager’s home, and then for many years at the Rizzolo home.
An organization called “Women of Roycefield” formed and met once a month to discuss ways to earn money for the club; baked goods were sold at swim meets, women went to the Gallop poll to answer questions solely for the purpose of raising money for their swim club. In general, members used their talents and skills to help the club get started.
The clubhouse was small with an overhang similar to a porch. There was no office, just 2 restrooms, each with one toilet and one cold shower.
The swim team was started immediately with Don Bardo as coach. The team song was sung to the tune of “March from the River Kwai.”
Over the years a number of improvements have been made. In the late seventies, the overhang on the clubhouse was closed in to give the club more bathroom space, hot water, and an office. In the early 80s the pool piping was replaced. The cement deck was totally replaced and the basketball court was added.
In 1986 the bathing code in New Jersey was drastically changed, making Roycefield too shallow to have a diving team; the pool was forced to reduce the height of the board to the current ½ meter board we now have.
In 1987 the shed was added to give the club much needed storage for lawnmowers and other equipment. For the 1989 season, the “back” picnic area was added to allow much needed new picnicking space.
In 1990, a structure now known as the pump house was erected around the filters and the well pressure tank to protect this equipment from weather. Permanent grills were added to the back picnic area in 1991, and in the same year, the swim team donated the wooden jungle gym for the playground. And in 2002, the septic system was replaced with city sewer lines.
The swim team made improvements to the club to honor its members when the trophy case was installed in 1990, and the record board was installed in 1992. It was in 1991 when the swim team adopted the name “Rapids.”
In 2002, a five-year planning committee developed a plan for major capital improvements to pool and grounds. These renovations, initiated in 2003, included an upgrade to the bathhouse facility, creation of a new playground area, and replacement of perimeter fencing. In 2005, the main pool was expanded to 8 lanes and the kiddy pool replaced.
Today, Roycefield Swim Club continues as a thriving swim club in the heart of Hillsborough and maintains its tradition of providing family summer recreation.
Revised Sept 2005