ABOVE: WELL SWUM ALL! Gilbert Evans winner of the (1935) South Wales Argus one mile swim in the Usk, and Joan Thomas, winner of the women's half-mile swim, congratulate each other. At the back are P. Preston (third), Thelma Preston (second), V. Scarfi (third) and F. Blythe (second), runners-up in their respective events. (SWA Sept 11th 1935.)
Caerleon Net     Archive

The Usk Mile and Half Mile
Swimming Races

From around 1912 until the late 1930s, swimming races were held in September in the River Usk. Contestants were timed over the mile course for men and half-mile course for women. The starting point for men was just south of the St. Julians Railway Bridge (between Caerleon and Newport) and the women started half way between that and the common finishing point opposite the Rexville (Lovells) factory. Swimmers entered the water from boats and started at staggered intervals. After the race, competitors and officials made their way to Lovells canteen for warmth and welcome refreshment!
Gilbert Evans and Fred Blythe, both from Caerleon, came first and second in the 1934 and 1935 events organised by Newport Swimming Club.
The South Wales Argus reported that ten thousand spectators watched the 1935 race crowding the banks of the river at every possible vantage point.

ABOVE: Fred's Blythe's certificate.

BELOW: A selection of photos of competitors.
Unfortunately we do not know when these photographs were taken
- if you can date any of them please get in touch.