From the Deputy Head Master – Summer Hilldeveloper
This week, the School entered our Championship Team in the Annual Combined Associated Schools’ Swimming and Diving Championship. Until the disruption of 2020 and 2021, CAS has always been one of the highlights of the year and, as has traditionally been one of the so-called compulsory fixtures that include Home games in Rugby and Football, and the CAS Track & Field Championship. Up until the vicissitudes of Covid-19, it had been our custom to mandate attendance for students in Year 10 and 11, as well as School Officers, and to open the opportunity for students in Middle School to attend voluntarily, just to experience the extraordinary atmosphere. I think it is fair to say that this event, because of its contained nature, has regularly generated more excitement and noise than any other event in the Olympic Park Aquatic Centre, other than the 2000 Olympics. It is typical for there to be up to 3000 spectators from the six participating schools.
Regrettably, and for the third year in a row, Covid-19 restrictions in 2022 again meant we had a cap on numbers. For that reason, we offered the opportunity to attend to Year 11 because they missed out last year. This corporate support is such a key plank in developing the sense of belonging and collective pride that we value so highly. Mr Leckie, our Director of Enrolments and Old Boy from the Class of 1993, spoke with your sons at Quad Assembly about the importance of a positive, encouraging and supportive culture in a follow-on from this term’s focus on what makes Trinity, Trinity, and to ensure that those traditions we value so highly are not lost.
A sample of his speech and video appear below, with further remarks appearing under the video.
Extracts from the speech from Mr James Leckie
You don’t need me to tell you that over the past two years Covid has taken away so much and for you boys, sport has been a big loss. But, for me, it is not so much that sport has been taken away or restricted, but rather the opportunity to come together around sport.
When a large group of people come together with the sole purpose of serving each other, of performing for something bigger than themselves and without any self-interest at all, it is amazing what can be achieved. And, ironically, the most fun and the greatest satisfaction that we ever get in this lifetime is usually when we are loving or supporting someone else.
Last night was one such occasion. The performance of our boys in the pool was nothing short of brilliant but it was easily matched by the performance of our crowd. To those of you who were there, you were magnificent! On behalf of YOUR team, I would like to thank you.
For those of you who were not there, this is what you missed out on [Editor note: Audio was replayed on Quad; you can listen and view part of the speech below]. Three and a half hours of that! I had Year 7 boys telling me that last night was the best night of their lives. I had senior students telling me that every training session that they had ever done was worth it, just to compete in front of that crowd.
And the results followed. You may or may not be aware that this year our preparation was severely hampered by injury and illness. In the lead up to the event we had a boy in a car accident, another had his appendix removed. We had 5 swimmers unavailable due to injury and another 2 ruled out on Wednesday with Covid. Even our Director of Swimming was unable to attend due to being infected with Covid himself.
So, expectations were not high. In our pre-departure motivational session, we challenged each other to do something special for the School, something that no one could logically expect. Each year there are typically 2 or 3 phenomenal performances that just cannot be explained but, if we were to be competitive this time, we were going to need 10 to 15. And that is exactly what happened.
I don’t have time now to go into detail about each of these races, but I do want to highlight the performances of 2 of our senior swimmers to demonstrate the effect that selfless, servant-hearted leadership can have on a team. The All Blacks describe this effect as ‘following the whanau’, which means following the spearhead.
Our spearhead last night took the form of our captain, Gabriel Wilczak and a Year 10 student, Hayden Hoang. They both accepted programmes that I have not seen attempted before at the CAS Championships, and they did it purely because that is what the team needed. Gabriel swum in the 400m freestyle, 200m freestyle, 100m freestyle and 100m butterfly! He was a dominant winner in two of these and in the two that he didn’t win, he finished second with personal best times.
Hayden competed in three backstroke events in the space of 21 minutes, two of which were in older age groups. He won all three races and set a new CAS Record in one of them. The example that these two boys set, in taking on such difficult programmes, left no option for the junior swimmers but to do the same.
Last night we may not have won back the shield; and it is important to acknowledge that Knox were brilliant once again, but we definitely won the battle for momentum. CAS Swimming is unusual in that you only lose one sixth of your team each year, so it is difficult to win if the previous winner had a big margin the year before. Last year, Knox won by 35 points. As many of you know, I love to fish, and I love the thrill of hooking a big fish. Over the past 5 years, Knox have been like a massive tuna that no one can stop. No matter what we tried, we couldn’t seem to slow them down. Well, last night, not only did we slow the tuna that is Knox Swimming Team, but we also started dragging it back to the boat and we are now only 13 points away!
Can I suggest that each one of you open your Outlook calendars and go to the 16th of March 2023 and block out from 4:30pm to 8:00pm because, with your support, next year we plan to put a tail rope on that tuna, lift it into the boat and bring the Thyne Challenge Shield back to Summer Hill.
1. Knox Grammar School 549
2. Trinity Grammar School 536
3. Barker College 390
4. Waverley College 375
5. Cranbrook School 343
6. St Aloysius’ College 300
In closing, additional images from the night
This photo from the 2015 CAS Swimming & Diving Championship is one of my favourites and, if a picture paints a thousand words, it captures what I think represents one of the traditions that goes to the essence of Trinity. You can also click here to view additional images taken at the 2022 CAS Swimming & Diving Championship.
Bradley Barr | Deputy Head Master – Summer Hill