Search Blackfriars

20 February 2020

50 years later and still going swimmingly

In February 1970 the Adelaide Aquatic Centre was only three months old and Blackfriars…

In February 1970 the Adelaide Aquatic Centre was only three months old and Blackfriars Priory School itself was only a teenager of 17 years.  So it was that Blackfriars’ strong connection with the AAC began when the very first Swimming Carnival was held in February 1970.

Five decades later, almost to the day, the 50th Annual Blackfriars Secondary Swimming Carnival was held at the AAC on Friday 14 February.

Two particular events were organised to celebrate the carnival’s golden anniversary. Firstly Marc Keegan, who led Aquinas House to victory at the 1990 Swimming Carnival, attended to present the winners’ shield to this year’s victorious team.

The official presentation was preceded by an anniversary “Splash and Dash“ where 20 Old Scholars raced in five relay teams, with each one representing a decade in which the carnival has been held. Three extra teams were also involved featuring three generations of the Martin family, a father-son group comprising four Old Scholars racing their current student sons – and the winning 2020 Open relay team for good measure.

Old Scholars from across the generations – all ready to race!

Out of necessity the race was a handicap event, with the veterans team from the 1970s starting 30 seconds ahead of the 2010’s team, which featured four current day Adelaide Jets National League Water Polo players.

The final piece of nostalgia came when the retiring Br Brendan O’Hearn OP – the only person to attend all 50 carnivals – took up duties as official starter for this the last race of the day!

Thankfully, the participants all survived with many broad smiles between a few gasps and the current student population not quite believing what they had just watched! Congratulations and thank you to all old and current boys involved. Rumour has it that the Old Scholars are looking for a rematch next year, albeit with some slight adjustments to handicaps.

Jon Harmer, Development Officer – Old Scholars and Community

For more information about Blackfriars Old Scholars, click here.