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To the Editor.*
- Bir.—From- a'. report in 'The West Aus tralian' on April 25,-vheaded '^Request from University^ ^it appears- that the Board of ^Control of the West Australian
Amaieur owimmmg Association has re , fused to heat .the views of the « Gfufld Council and' Sports Council of this Uni versity on the matter of University swim ming carnivals. As 'the trouble which, has arisen with the swimming board affects an established principle of University sport, may: I, through your columns, place our viaws. before the sporting .public in general and local' swimmers in particu The Sports Council exercises ' control over all sport played at the University. Each, year interfacultyi competitions are conducted , in,, the major sports-, 'such com petitions being open to 'every student com petent enough ' to gain a place in the fac ulty side. . For 'convenience, these com petitions are run by the club controlling . the' particular 'spor-tj subject', to a super viso'ry' 'control ? exefdsed '' ' by^j1 the Sports Council. In no respect' are such competi tions confined to members of the club con cerned. From the nature of the sport in athletics -and swimming the -interfaculty contests are held in the form of Univer sity championships; and on performances in such, colour awards for the ''year are made. -? , ' ; ? : :, This year the swimming club proposed to conduct its carnival under the condi tions outlined above, and with the per mission of the Sports Council, on March 24. The club applied to the Swimming Board of Control in this State for permis sion to hold the carnival, on the condi tion that unregistered members would be competing against non-registered swim mers. This permission has been readily granted since the affiliation of the Uni versity Swimming Club, four years ago, and for fifteen years prior to that the club, which was not* then affiliated with the board, held similar carnivals at which registered swimmers from other clubs *.vho were students of the University swam against other students who were not registered. Mr. Currau, the present' presi dent of the W.A. Swimming Associa tion, and Mr. Solomon, the, 'present hon orary secretary, both swam in University carnivals in .these' circumstances. To our astonishment, however, a few days before the date- arranged for the carnival, the swimming club was noti-' fied, by fche-secretarv of; the Board of Control that the board had refused per mission for the carnival to be held un leis all swimmers were . registered with Ih'em. This, in effect, meant that only members of the club could compete, as I assume the board would refuse to regis ter .any but financial members of a club. In fact, I understand there is a rule to that effect in- the constitution of the association. The reason given: for .thiB decision was: 'The board can see no reason for extending this concession, es pecially as the same application is made every year.' Surely. thb must be the first time that an old established precedent is advanced as the sole reason for breaking
.it! Because of the board's attitude, the club had to abandon the carnival, necessitat ing its being run by the Sports Council, which was naturally reluctant to see the swimmers for this year deprived of the chance to obtain colours or to assist their faculty in winning the interfaculty cham pionship. The club applied for permission for its members to compete/'but owing to the short time at our disposal no reply, written or verbal, was received by the day of the carnival, and the members con cerned competed, without knowing their position. They were not long left in doubt, how ever. At the next meeting of the board they were each fined 10/ for 'knowingly and wilfully competing' against unregis tered swimmers at an unregistered carni val.' It is against this fine that we are protesting. The students concerned were at no time informed that participation in the carnival would entail such conse quences. It is reasonable to suppose that they could have been so informed. In the letter to the club informing them of the fines, it is stated that 'as members of your club were informed by Mr. Sheedy, they competed at their own risk, as no approval had been given. I wa9 present as an official at the carnival, and heard nothing of such a statement. Ihe swim mers concerned, including the honorary secretary of the club, are unanimous that no such warning was given. This however, is more a matter between those 'fined and the board. An appeal has been 'odg'ed, and that matter will no doubt be brought up at the hearing of the appeal. I am more concerned with the effect it has on University sport as a whole. Interfaculty contests, open alike to registered and unregistered com petitors, are held annually in cricket, football, women's hockey, lacrosse, row ing athletics, women's netball, men s hockey, rugby, rifle shooting and tennis. In none of these sports do the controlling bodies attempt to fetter our activities. On the contrary, by not in sisting on the registration of competitors, they assist us in our efforts to introduce their particular sport to men and womeu who, perhaps, would not otherwise be interested. . One is reluctant to think that the attri bute of most games, good feeling and sportsmanship, is washed away where swimming is concerned, but the attitude of the board in this regard is hard to ex plain, and here at least it is felt to be oppressive. It may be, of course, that it does tot represent the feeling of swimmers generally, but of a few only, in which case there is no reason why the previous cordial relations between the Swimming Association and the students of this University should not be continued inde finitely. — Yours, etc., E. L. SEYMOUR, President, University Sporta Council. Crawley.