The video tours the premises of the Uluniu Swimming Club and interviews president Gerry DeBenedetti. It was founded shortly following the organization of the Outrigger Canoe Club in 1908. Wives of members demanded facilities for women at the Club so they, too, could enjoy the ocean waters in Waikiki. On March 11, 1909, Mrs. Frances Mills Swanzy called a meeting of a small group of women and the Women’s Auxiliary of the Outrigger Canoe Club was born. Mrs. Swanzy was elected President and continued as president until February 1926. She was succeeded by Mrs. Alfred L. Castle who was president for the next five years.
A grass house was designed for the exclusive use of the women members and was set apart from the OCC. The Auxiliary drew up and adopted a Constitution and Bylaws. Chaperones were on duty from 4 to 6 p.m. daily so young women could enjoy the beach after school hours. The Auxiliary was very active sponsoring chowders and dances in the OCC Pavilion.
In Article One of their constitution, the Auxiliary “pledged to the encouragement of canoeing, surf riding, swimming and all other aquatic sports.” The Auxiliary’s first swim meet for women was held on July 4, 1920 and became an annual event. Outrigger women swimmers entered and won many events.
On February 16, 1926, the Auxiliary changed its name to the Uluniu Women’s Swimming Club of Honolulu “Under the Growing Coconut Palm” and the Auxiliary of the OCC no longer existed. At this time the club was housed in a clubhouse of their own which Mrs. Castle described as: “Something valuable and solid, not only in its direct influence on the beach but indirectly on the community at large. The club offers a chance to use the beach here to our members and their children and for the older members without children, there is always this lovely shaded lanai with a view out over the ocean and enjoyment in the late afternoon.”
On October 9, 1939, a new clubhouse was opened near the Royal Hawaiian Hotel. Previously the clubhouse was located between the OCC and the Moana Hotel. The club was the first women’s club in the United States to affiliate with the AAU. It was the first club anywhere to introduce sensible bathing suits (short sleeves and legs) for women. It allowed the husband and sons of members to use the club as guest members but without a vote. The club allowed no liquor on its premises and allowed members to bring their own food to the club and furnished dishes and other equipment for cooking and serving.
In 1965 the club changed its name for the third time to the Uluniu Swimming Club, and admitted men as voting members. This was in preparation for the loss of the Waikiki lease, when both the OCC and the Uluniu had to leave their Waikiki properties. Membership was reduced from 600 to 60 as many members left to move with the OCC to their Diamond Head site. Today the club is located in Laie.