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A Brief History of the Beginnings of the Interhouse Swimming Carnival

The Inaugural Swimming Carnival, an Interhouse carnival, was held on March 29, 1972 at the Collie Pool. The 1972 Bonifacian tells us:

“The entire school population travelled to Collie and there was plenty of spirit and enthusiasm evident from all quarters.”

The winners of this first Swimming Carnival were Goldsmith, who triumphed over Knight by just 2 points.

Subsequent early Interhouse Swimming Carnivals were held at the “Bunbury Swimming Pool”, also known in 1973 as the Bunbury Aquatic Centre, an outdoor pool that was almost invariably hot with a lack of shade. Dr and Mrs Harkness donated a trophy to the event in 1973, inscribed as the Harkness Trophy, which is stored in the School Archives today. Goldsmith won again in the second year of the carnival, but a different winning streak was about to appear.

John Clarke recalls:

“In the 70s Wilson was the dominant House in swimming. Because the School was small, one or two families of swimmers could dominate competition for a number of years. The Gollans and Veales were dominant for Wilson, and later it was the Levis for Knight. (Knight became the power in swimming throughout the 80s and 90s.) As the Swimming Carnival was a whole School event, a family could stamp its superiority from earliest Primary days.

The Carnival was keenly fought, and audience involvement was much greater than for athletics and cross country, because only one event was contested at a time and spectators were restricted to a confined space.”

Dedicated events for Primary appeared from early on in Interhouse Swimming Carnival history, with games like water piggyback races and diving for cents. House mascots began to emerge, including “a psychedelic worm fifteen feet long” from Redding. Long distance events like the 200m freestyle were introduced from 1975, and the carnival maintained its tradition of awarding Champion Boy and Girl swimmers separately from House achievement throughout this time.

The Interhouse Swimming Carnival is due to be held again soon this year, which makes it a tradition of 50 years at BCGS. Who will top the House points in 2022?

Mrs Ros Malone :: School Archivist

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