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The Spike: or, Victoria College Review, June 1910



"But who is this, what thing of sea or land?"


On the requisition of Messrs. F. A. de In Mare. F. A. Wilson, and G. H. Nicholls, a meeting was held in the Gymnasium on Wednesday, 29th September last, to consider the proposal that a Swimming Club be formed at Victoria College. About twenty were present, and Mr. G. H. Nicholls was appointed Secretary pro tem. A provisional committee, consisting of Messrs. Tustin, Wilson and Nicholls was set up to draft a Constitution, which was adopted at the first general meeting, held on Saturday, 9th October.

Owing to unavoidable delay in affiliation, nothing was done until 29th January, 1910. when the first swimming race in the history of Victoria College, a 50yds. handicap, was won by the amphibious "Frog." The field of eight was an excellent beginning. The result was as follows:—1, F. A. de In Mare (8secs.); 2. G. M. Cleghorn (3secs.). G. H. Nicholas (8secs.). A. H. Hancock (6secs.), J. Dowling (6secs.), A. Bogle (4secs.), T. Ronayne (scr.), and E. Tustin (scr.) also started. The field finished in a bunch, the judge being unable to pick the third man; consequently, all the unplaced men went home perfectly happy. Time, 40sec.—failed to reach the N.Z. standard.

On 3rd February, a 100yds. handicap, in which there were eleven competitors, was got off in very rough and dirty water, at an exceptionally low tide. 1, G. M. Cleghorn (scr.); 2, E. Tustin (scr.), 3. K. Caldwell (4secs.). The race was won by about 5 yards. with a close finish for second place. Time, 77 3-5secs.—not passed as a record.

Mr. J. W. Joynt, one of the Club's Vice-Presidents, donated one guinea to the Club for a trophy, which it was decided to allot to the 50yds. championship. The race was page 77 held on 10th February, under the very best conditions. 1, E. Tustin; 2, G. M. Cleghorn; 3, T. Ronayne. Five others started. The race was won by a yard and a half, and the second place was won by a touch. Time, 33 4-5secs.

On 17th February a plunge competition was held. The efforts of the small boys who had spent the afternoon stirring up the bottom of the baths, combined with the neap tide, rendered the conditions anything but pleasant; but it was impossible to postpone the competition. Only four heroes were found to brave the elements. 1, T. Ronayne, 45ft. lin.; 2, N. Burnett, 40ft. 9in.; 3, K. Caldwell, 40ft. lin.

The next event was a 200yds. handicap, held on 28th February. It was very unfortunate that the O.T.C. Camp and the Kitchener Camp should have occupied practically the whole time available for training, and it was undoubtedly owing to this fact that so few competed. 1, G. M. Cleghorn (scr.); 2, T. Ronayne; 3, S. R. Mason. Won by about 4 yards in very good time—2min. 56secs.

Through the courtesy of the Executive of the Thorndon Swimming Club, a 50yds. handicap for our members was included in their Carnival, held on the evening of 2nd March. Here again the adverse influence of the O.T.C. was felt, for, as this was the night of the non-com.'s examination, only half of those who had entered, turned up. Still, there were enough competitors for two heats. The result of the final was:—1, Tate; 2, Hancock; 3, Ronayne; 4, Caldwell. Time, 40sec.—record still safe. This race concluded the season so far as our Club was concerned.

On 13th February, a water picnic was held at Maori Bank, on the Hutt River. The weather was perfect, and the dozen members who turned out made the most of it, and of the splendid deep bathing pool. The strong current flowing lent just the right spice of excitement to the "towing" of "Tinney," the only non-swimmer present, across the stream. Although the sun soon made its presence felt, and cocoanut oil was in great request by midday, "that tired feeling" was entirely absent, and, indeed, an enterprising trio made a cross-country trip to the blackberry regions. On their return, the lazier ones (who had probably brought larger lunches), professed to notice a remarkable reduction in buoyancy. Perhaps the best testimonial that can be given the water-picnic idea, is the fact that all were heartily agreed that next season one should be held monthly, if possible.

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Consideration of the foregoing report will, the Club's officers are assured, convince everyone that the Club has fully justified its existence. Rule 3 of the Constitution states "that the objects and duties of the Club shall be to do whatever is deemed necessary or expedient for the fostering and encouragement of amateur swimming in connection with Victoria College." In furtherance of this, the Club offers free tuition in swimming to all who care to attend the Thorndon Baths at the hours at which the Club's officers are accustomed to be present. The only two non-swimmers who availed themselves of this privilege, are now both quite proficient in the breast-stroke, and next season should see them, provided they stick to the sport, ranked among the best. Those who will be in town during the summer are particularly requested to join. An excellent life insurance policy is a season ticket at one or other of the Municipal Baths, Men need have no fear that swimming will interfere unduly with other sports; members of our Club were to the fore in matters military, in shooting, in cricket, in tennis, in rowing, and in athletics.

Prior to the Easter Tournament, Messrs. Caldwell and Nicholls were appointed the Club's delegates to approach swimming enthusiasts in the other Colleges with a view to the ultimate establishment of an inter-college swimming contest. Owing to the fact that none of the other Colleges possess a Swimming Club, nothing very definite could be done, but interest has been roused, and Messrs. Campbell, of Auckland. Blank, of Canterbury College, and B. C. Freyberg, of Otago University, are not the men to let matters rest as they are at present.

Another matter for the Club to consider next season is the holding of a Carnival; the support of all the crack swimmers of Wellington is assured, and the "gate" at a swimming display in this city is a never-failing source of joy to club treasurers. We were the only local Club that did not hold a Carnival last year, and it is undoubtedly our duty, to other swimmers, no less than ourselves, to rectify the omission during the coming season.

A water polo team should, if possible, be raised, as in the water-polo championship, again, we are the only Club unrepresented. To enable these projects to be carried out properly, all freshmen who know anything of swimming—and particularly fast sprinting men—are strongly urged to join the Swimming Club.