Report of the 1939 Swimming Gala from the Aberdare Leader
contributed by Elfed Davies



Vernon Thomas’ Second Championship Success.


N EXT in importance to the athletic sports of the Aberdare Boys’ County School is the annual swimming gala, which is invariably held in the Park pool during the last week of the summer term.

On this particular day the pupils look forward to the afternoon session with infinite pleasure, for they stay in their class rooms just long enough to get their mark and then hurry to the baths under the supervision of their from masters.

Chairs brought up from school by lorry in the morning line the sides of the pool, and very little time is wasted before every inch of accommodation is taken and the scene is set for the annual aquatic contests.

There is always a care free atmosphere prevailing at this event as school work is by this time over and examinations and “swotting” are for a time things to be forgotten. The staff too, are looking forward to the ‘vac’ after a strenuous period of marking examination papers and preparing detailed term reports, and as a rule are unsparing in their enthusiasm as each race is contested, enjoying every minute of the whole proceedings as much as the boys themselves.

It is rather a pity that the parents are unable to join in on this occasion as in the school sports held earlier in the summer.

Lack of accommodation at the Park baths is responsible for this, but now that the town can boast a spacious new modern pool at the Rock grounds, perhaps arrangements can be made for them to become interested spectators in future years.

Mr. E. J. Excell, the school’s indefatigable sports master was again responsible for organising the event and to him credit is due in that everything occurred without a hitch. He spares nothing to ensure that any school sporting function is a success both from the spectators’ and competitors’ point of view.

The headmaster, Mr. W. R. Williams, B.Sc., presided, and conducted the proceedings with dignity.

Messrs. L. M. Thomas, M.A., and D. Timothy Davies, B.A., judged the race events, whilst the diving competitions were judged by Mrs. W. D. Towler and Mr. Aubrey Roberts, M.A.


The blue riband event is the school championship race, in which the experts complete from scratch for an inscribed medal. The event is eagerly anticipated, and there is usually plenty of excitement as partisanship brims over and the various competitors are encouraged the whole of the distance (75 yards).

For the second time in succession the event was won by D. Vernon Thomas.

Second place was claimed by Morgan Phillips, and the third by R. Arthur.

Diving—Junior : 1. Merlin Evans; 2, John L. Jenkins; 3, H. Mills.

25 yards, Forms 1. : 1. D. Tennant; 2, Ronald Thomas; 3, W. Greenway.

25 yards Junior : 1, Islwyn Morgan; 2, John L. Jenkins; 3, Alan Thomas.

25 yards, Middle : 1, M. T. Williams; 2, G. I. Thomas; 3, W.V. Morgan.

25 yards, Senior : 1, M. T. Williams; 2, Morgan Phillips.

50 yards Breast-stroke : 1, Vernon Thomas; 2, Gwyn James; 3, T. J. Gibbon.

Senior Diving : 1, Vernon Thomas; 2, Morgan Phillips; 3, R. Arthur.

House Squadron, Junior : 1, Tudur; 2, Penri.

House Squadron, Senior : 1, Penri; 2, Tudur.

Best Swimming Style : 1, Vernon Thomas; 2, M.T. Williams; 3, R. Arthur.

House points were awarded thus :— Penri, 53; Tudur, 22; Llewellyn 11; Dewi, 6.

An image of the original article from the newspaper can be seen here