The Spike: or, Victoria College Review, June 1912
The Summer of 1911-12 was not of the kind that makes the swimmer's heart rejoice; yet, despite cold southerlies and cloudy skies the season passed pleasantly for the Club members, except for the sad news of the death of our Treasurer, the late Mr. Cyril Aston. He always had the welfare of the Club at heart, and by his death we have lost much; his quiet manner and unfailing generosity had made him a favourite with all who knew him.
Owing to the inclement weather, no races were held before the Christmas holidays, and the same unkindness of the elements delayed the first race until the 24th of January, when a 200 yards handicap was decided at Te Aro Baths, From then till the end page 83 of the season races were held weekly, when Jupiter Pluvius was kind. The followings are the detailed results of the events:—
200yds. Handicap, on 24th January, at Te Aro Baths—P. Grey (scr.), 1; G. M. Cleghorn (scr.), 2; S. R. Mason (38sec.), 3. Time, 3min, 2 2/5sec. 9 starters. Won by a couple of feet. The race was the scratch men's from the first lap, the handicap men being too severely treated.
400yds. Handicap, on 31st January, at Te Aro—P. Grey (scr.), 1; N. A. Middlemas (90sec.), 2; G. M Cleghorn (scr.), 3. Time, 6min 18 4/5sec, An exciting finish. By the help of unsolicited outside pacers, the scratch man won by six inches from Middlemas, with the third man close up.
50yds. Handicap.—W. J. Robertson (8sec.), 1; C. Gamble (13sec.), 2; T. U. Ronayne (scr.), 3. Time, 39 1/5sec. This race was held on the same night as the 400yds. Handi-cap for the benefit of the sprinters, whose training was not equal to the longer distance. The winner proved to be a "dark sea-horse," and won pulling-up by a yard, with the scratch man a touch behind Gamble.
100yds, Medley (50yds breast-stroke and 50yds on back), on 7th February, at Thorndon Baths—G. M. Cleghorn (4sec.), 1; T. U. Ronayne (scr.), 2; G. H. Nicholls (6sec.), 3. Time, 1min. 52sec. 8 starters. A neck and neck finish for first and second places. There seemed to be a difference among the competitors as to the use of arms, but the user's example prevailed—save in the case of a virtuous one.
100yds. Breast-stroke Handicap, on 28th February, at Te Aro—N. A. Middlemas (12sec.), 1; G. H. Nicholls (16sec.), 2; T. U. Ronayne (scr.), 3. Time, unknown, but not a record.
The Club did not find itself strong enough to hold a public carnival, though a date was allotted to us by the Wellington Centre for that purpose. Our decision in this instance was a fortunate one, for on our allotted date the day dawned with a rainy sky and a bleak southerly. A carnival held on such a day would be doomed to failure in every respect, and especially financially. But owing to the courtesy of the Headmaster, we were enabled to hold our Second Annual Carnival in the Wei lington College Baths on the 24th February. The attendance of spectators was good, and "the fine bright weather, the good work of the officials, and the promptness of the swimmers, all contributed to the success of the gathering"—("Dominion.") Except for the Wellington College Old Boys' Handicap, the only "outsiders" race was the 100yds. Invitation, in which Messrs. R Ronayne, Brice (Thorndon), and Seymour (Hawke's Bay) page 84 kindly competed to assist the Club. The Lyall Bay Surf Club also assisted us by giving an interesting and instructive display of life saving. The results are as follows:—
50yds. Handicap—E. G. Bell (14sec.), 1; A. N. Hancock (10sec.), 2. Time, 42sec. N. A. Middlemas (6sec.) and T. U. Ronayne (2sec.) also won heats.
25yds. Maiden—A. W. Reed (1sec.), 1; W. T. Dundon (2sec.), 2. Time, 21 sec.
100yds. Championship—P. Grey, 1; G. M. Cleghorn, 2; T. U. Ronayne 3, A good race, Grey winning by about one yard. From a good start, all were even at the 25yds., but the winner gained on the turns, and gradually forged ahead. Time, 75sec.
Apple-gathering Competition—F. L. G. West, 1; P. Grey, 2. This provided much amusement—to the onlookers. But after swallowing half of the water in the baths in the vain attempt to fix one's teeth in an "evasive, elusive" apple, even apple-gathering palls. However, with the help of the sides of the baths, the two placed men managed to gather 6 apples each in the given time, West collecting his apple first in the "gather-off."
Wellington College old Boys, 75yds. Handicap—E. Levi (5sec.), 1; L. Blundell (8sec.), 2. Time, 51sec. A close finish. Won by a touch.
25yds. Handicap—G. S. Clark (11sec.), 1; H. Lawson (7sec.), 2. Time, 18sec. The handicappers were rather liberal to the winner in this race. A. M. Salek (3sec.), A. N. Hancock (6sec.), and S. R. Mason (7sec.), also won heats.
Neatest Header—T. U. Ronayne, 1; D. F. Duigan, 2.
100yds, Invitation Scratch Race—Brice, 1; R. Ronayne, 2; Seymour, 3. A great race, Brice winning as above stated.
50yds. Medley (25yds. on breast and 25yds. on back)—A. M. Salek (scr.), 1; A. N. Hancock (4sec.), 2. Time, also started; still going.
Teams' Race (teams of 4 men representing their Colleges, each man to swim 25yds)—Wanganui College, I; Wellington College, 2. Time, "forgotten and unknown." This event proved to be the most exciting of the day, and made a fitting finale to a pleasant afternoon's sport. The fourth men of the placed teams left the tiles together and raced the length of the baths amidst the encouraging shouts of ex-Collegians. A yard from home it looked as if Wellington would win by a touch, But the race is not always to the page 85 swift. The Wellington man missed the tiles with his stroke, and—well, Wanganui won. Somebody whispered "ringing-in," but Wanganui only laughed while Wellington swore vengeance.
A competition was arranged with the Y.M.C.A. Club over 50, 100, 150, 220 and 440 yards for a team of three men from each club, but owing to the Territorial Camps intervening, only the two shorter distances were swum, leaving Y.M.C.A. 6 points in the lead. The remainder of the distances were postponed till next season, when we hope to even matters over the longer distance.
On the 28th of January a water-picnic was held at the old pool at Maori Hank, on the Hutt River. A lucky five motored from the station, but the unlucky majority followed on foot. The water was not as warm as was expected, nor were the skies as blue as they might have been, but that detracted little from the pleasure of the day's outing. The pool had not altered since our last visit a year before, but we missed the Maori canoe from its accustomed haunt.
A relay-race between the Captain's and Secretary's teams resulted in an easy victory for the former. Some of the swimmers showed a tendency to go with the stream instead of across it, despite their partisans' encouraging yells.
At noon the "Billy" was boiled in the old place above the pool, O'Shea's mug (of which more anon) providing the subject of an entertaining interlude till lunch was o'er. The party then went exploring to the neighbouring manuka-blossomed hill till such time as the water could once more be disturbed with safety. When homing-time neared we returned to the station, where one of our "brightest and best" deserted us,—Alas!
"Why does he fear to plunge
Into the tide: or through what aberration
Like poison shun the sponge
And embrocation?"—Old Clay Patch.
Two weeks later a party again sought the translucent depths of Maori Bank pool. O'Shea's mug, "the pride of the regiment," was again in evidence, but this time one "Tinney" owned its peer. After lunch the party was lured across the fields to the distant blackberries, "and great was the slaughter thereof."Then a final swim, afternoon tea, the homeward journey,
"And after that the dark."