He who enters this noble land shalt walk out pure and enriched 14 years after

Swimming Pool


History of swimming in Trinity goes back to 1890 to the day of Rev E.J. Perry, who constructed a simple swimming bath at the princely sum of rupees eight hundred. Among the many plans he made soon after his arrival in 1889, swimming was one and it seemed to have been at the top of his priority list for the work of the pool had begun and completed to be formally opened by the Bishop of Colombo before Easter 1890. Most unfortunately Rev. Perry, whose life was so full of promise, met with a tragic end, depriving Trinity of so many good things that could have changed its history. While on a mission to meet the Veddahs, three miles off “Aluthnuwara”, he was accidentally shot dead by one of his own students. Had he lived the story of swimming would have been different to what is chronicled.


By modern standards, the Perry Pool was by no means worthy of being called a swimming pool for its dimension were forty feet in length, twelve feet in breadth and just eight feet in depth at the deepest end. It was filled entirely with rain water and there were no filtration facilities of any sort. Only the older generation will know its location, adjacent to the southern end of the De Soysa Hall, where the Wickramasinghe building now stands. The new buildings have removed all traces of the pool, making it a thing of the past.


Nevertheless it served its purpose for forty years and during its existence was a very popular place where there was much fun and frolic. Despite Trinity being the first school to have a swimming pool of its own, no effort was made to make swimming a competitive sport. Swimming was a recreational activity. Boys had their own traditions within the precincts of the pool. Irrespective of his standing in the school anybody could be pushed into the bath. The tradition has it that Principal Fraser was pushed into the pool while he was well clad to attend a wedding. Despite all that the bath had an inglorious end in 1939.


A place with all rolling cheers and noise could not last long beside the new Hall which had now become the venue of many school and other public functions. Despite the perennial rainfall Kandy always had, there was a severe shortage of water and it became unbearable during the war days. A plan was made to layout a pipe line to connect a spring inUdawattukele but with the onset of the war and the constant threat of requisition of premises for military purposes, the school had to face a number of problems. There was a severe shortage of classes. In these circumstances it was necessary to fill up the pool and to use the place to build two class rooms. That marks the end of an era.


When the farm was started in Haragama in 1952, the Estate Management allowed the use of the Eastern swimming pool. But that was eight miles away and the only beneficiaries of that were those boys who went to the farm. Even so the pool was filthy and only a few dared to swim in it. With the Mahaweli flowing close by there was always the temptation for boys to cut out to swim in the perilous River. Two instances of drowning have been recorded.


During those lean days Major Gordon Burrows, Vice Principal 1951-1963 obtained permission from the Governor General Lord Soulbury to use the little Swimming pool in the Kandy Kings Pavilion. The Governor General was apersonal friend of the Vice Principal and the permission so granted was more personal than official. He took batches of boys and taught them the basics of swimming. With the departure of Major Gordon Burrows this facility was lost to Trinity.


The first blue print for the current swimming pool was prepared by Mr. Fred David in the Works Manager of the school and Mr. Calrence Senanayake, engineer, old boy, perfected it. It was Mr. Fernando’s idea, that the pool however expensive, must meet the needs of modern requirements. By length it was to measure 109′ while expected breadth was to be 42′, at the deepest end it was to be 12′ and adequate for high diving. The project was inaugurated on the 6th of August 1976, by the Chief Justice Hon. Neville Samarakoon. However it took a decade to complete a swimming pool ready for actual swimming.


After Rev. Dr. W.G. Wickramasinghe took over from where Mr. Fernando left and took into partnership the O.B.A., parents and the present boys to raise the funds required for the completion of the project. The new pool was ceremonially declared open on the 16th of November 1985 by Rt. Rev. Swithin Fernando, The Lord Bishop of Colombo. The occasion was grand with a grand swimming display. Prof. A. Aluwihare along with a young team became the first official swimmers of the new Swimming Pool. It is noteworthy to mention Mr. OliverDissanayake, the Secretary of the school who was associated with the building of the pool since its inception to the opening.


The father of swimming in Trinity must surely be Rev. E.J. Perry who built the first swimming pool over a century ago. His mortal remains were buried in Mahaiyawa after his tragic death.


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