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Aberdare Boys’ Grammar School

Sporting Activities

Old School

Swimming, 1951


This is a certificate awarded to the school swimming team when they took part in an Aberdare Swimming Club Gala held at the Rock Swimming Baths, Aberdare. The team consisted of Ken Griffiths, Robert Matthews, Eddie Powell and A.C. Evans. We won the event - 4 times 33⅓ yards, and the team members were presented with pens as a prize.

The person who encouraged the boys to take part at that time was Les Venn (later to be caretaker of the school). He was an adult member of Aberdare Swimming Club and played for the water polo team. There are some photographs of Les at the swimming pool on the RCT photographic archive (Put Venn in the Search box).

David Walter Morris mentions in his school memories (elsewhere on this site) that a modest School Swimming Gala used to be held in the small Park Baths in the 1920s. Mrs. Towler, who was married to the Physics Master, W.D. Towler, was supposed to have been a swimmer of some standing and so was asked to judge the events.

In the certificate above, the Hon. Sec. of the Aberdare club, whose signature can be seen on the certificate, was Frank Baguley, a local dentist and father of Doug Baguley (ABGS: 1957–1963). Doug has written to say that his father was heavily involved with the Welsh Amateur Swimming Association, as well as with the local swimming club. He adds: “He was an international diving judge (being an accomplished diver himself), and he also refereed swimming galas and water polo matches. I remember going to many international swimming galas, as a very young lad, including some held at the Butlin’s camp in Pwllheli, and many committee meetings were held at our house in Elm Grove (I can remember being told to be quiet!). There were also many club galas and inter-club matches, held at the Rock Baths, and also, I have a vague memory of big swimming events being held in the lake, rather than a swimming pool, at Roath Park in Cardiff.”