By Ben Tuxford | Director of Swimming
The 88th CAS Swimming Championships were held recently at Sydney Olympic Park Aquatic Centre. Our swim team of around 50 boys from ages 11 to 18, had been preparing for this event since being defeated by Knox in 2018, as we knew wholeheartedly that they would again be our main rivals on the night to take home the coveted Thyne Challenge Shield. From our prior calculations, we knew it was going to be a very close point score. To bring the Shield home for the 24th time, our boys were forced to compete at their very best for each point on offer, as there would be no easy races to win.
Our boys put in hours of training. Depending on their age, the swim team members train between six and nine times per week in the water, as well as doing dry-land and gym activities. Each training session is 90 minutes to two hours long, and the boys do this 50 weeks of the year, so it a big commitment and not for the faint-hearted.
I was in awe of our very talented swimmers, and proud of the large Trinity crowd of students, staff and parents who chanted and cheered on our team so enthusiastically. If we could bottle their enthusiasm and hand it out to the squads, we would be unstoppable.
We saw a major change to our team culture this year as it became predominantly student directed, with our remarkable student leaders regularly offering motivational words of advice, and passing on their many years of CAS Swimming experience to those new to the team. We were blessed to witness so many personal records set on the night, and thankful to our leaders Angus McDonald (current Australian Age Champion in 100m Freestyle), Ryan Hansen (Australian Age Medallist), and Matthew Ng for their inspiring words and performances. Angus and Ryan were in a league of their own, each recording three individual wins and joining forces to assist Trinity to win the Open Freestyle and Medley Relays.
In no way was all the hard work performed by our seniors. In fact, we were most dominant in our Junior 13 Years age group. Kudos must go to Mitchell Chen, Jason Wang, Zachariah Nguyen and Hayden Hoang who managed a clean sweep winning all events on offer in their age group. It was very special to see these four boys work together to break the CAS 13 and Under Medley Relay record (2:03.56), with the team from Barker finishing in second position, a staggering 12 seconds behind. If this wasn’t enough, Hayden and Zachariah swam two events back-to-back – the 14 Years age group, and immediately after, their own age group. Hayden amazingly broke the 13 Years 50m Backstroke record (30.60) only three minutes after swimming a 29.95 in the 14 Years event. This is no easy feat.
Another highlight came as we witnessed our 16 Years Freestyle Relay team of Matthew Robertson, Andy Lee, Liam Filby and Sam Hohne break the CAS record and keep us in the hunt for the overall win with only a couple of events to go.
Unfortunately, we were unable to bring back the Thyne Challenge Shield. In terms of the point score, it was a roller coaster night where we eventually placed second by a devastating four points. In racing terms, we only needed to score higher in two events to secure the win. At times we were up by five points, and at others we were down by up to 10 points. Whilst this is nerve-racking for all involved, it is a great spectacle for the crowd, which included Leigh Russell, new CEO of Swimming Australia.
The final point score was:
- Knox Grammar School 547
- Trinity Grammar 543
- Barker College 410
- Aloysius' College 352
- Waverley College 344
- Cranbrook School 301
I congratulate Knox on winning the Thyne Challenge Shield in 2019, and express my sincere gratitude to all Trinity students, staff and parents involved with the wonderful swim team. Only minutes after learning of their defeat, I was very proud to see the Trinity team create a guard of honour for the winning team – this shows more about their personal character than their competitive nature.
Our vision is now clearly set on 2020.
For over a hundred years Trinity Grammar School has educated boys in mind, body and spirit. Our mission is to provide a thoroughly Christian education for boys from Pre-Kindergarten to Year 12, imparting knowledge and understanding of the world we live in, and recognising the importance of spiritual qualities in every sphere of learning.
At Trinity, we believe that co-curricular activities are vital in supporting your son’s academic education and allowing him to pursue his passions, realise his potential and discover his life’s purpose. If you would like to learn more about the Trinity difference and our full range of co-curricular activities, download our Co-Curricular ebook.