2022 silverware for veteran Haydn Turner on the same Saturday as 2021, but not the same silverware.
A big turnout for long term member George Brutton, with many memories of Frenchman Louis Farbe: a mid-20th century world record holder and popular club member.
George Brutton - a solid breast-stroker who always gave of his best
George Brutton joined the club in 1982. Living fairly close to the Serpentine in West Kensington George had the opportunity to swim most days before work and was a regular Saturday racer. A solid breast-stroker who always gave of his best in every race and never once complained about his handicap. He won the Christmas Day race in 1986. (President Rob Ouldcott noted that George's attitude to his handicap was good advice to be heeded by current competitors). George commenced sponsorship of a late-summer 440 yard race in 1991.
Club Secretary Alan Titmuss used a cup that had come back into our possession which had been presented by Louis Farbre in 1935 for a series of four midweek races competed for between June and October. Alan's (not very) private joke saw it engraved "Uncle George", a reference to George's role in playing the parent to the three children of his then partner (ultimately wife) Annette.
On 8 September 1949 61 year old Louis Fabre created a 10 mile endurance world record
Sixty three minutes and 50 seconds for a 10 mile multi discipline event - "time and tide wait for no man"
When President Rob spoke of this achievement in his post race speech some in the crowd found the time for the 10 mile event questionable. It should be noted that Louis was a very competitive club runner with Queens Park Harriers, an experienced cyclist as well as a long time competitor with the Serpentine SC. He was also no novice with the oars. What definitely helped the achievement was the fact that the sculling and swimming legs were in the River Thames between Hammersmith and Putney - i.e. tide and current assisted.
Louis Fabre breaking the ice 1929
Cup winner Haydn with race sponsors George and Annette
9 September 1949, Louis into the final mile of his 10 mile event
A contemporary report of Louis's world record
The attempt was made on the 9th September 1949, in the presence of a leading "specialis" in each sport, two official timekeepers and also the press who followed the entire event. The performance consisted of one mile running in 7 mins. 29 seconds, one mile walking in 11 mins. 13 seconds, one mile over 32 hurdles in 7mins 30 seconds, and five miles cycling in 15 mins 20 sees. Changing to his road machine and cycled the four miles from Paddington Recreation ground to Hammersmith, where at Lyons Boat House a sculling boat was waiting; a quick change and off he went for a one mile scull from the 'Bemax Works' to Crabtree in 6 mins 25 seconds. He then dived into the Thames and swam the mile to Putney Pier in 15 mins 53 seconds, finishing his 10 mile non-stop performance. He accomplished his feat in the astonishing time of 63 minutes 50 seconds. A remarkable achievement, and rightly claimed by Louis as a world record.
Cup winner Haydn Turner
In 2021 the 100m (110 yards) Veterans' race was postponed due to covid social distancing restrictions in place at the time of the traditional mid May Satuday, prior to the Alan Titmuss race. At the time it was felt that a bunch of us vulnerable old codgers crammed together on the board awating our handicap time was not a good idea.
Rather than lose the fixture, the race was re-scheduled to be held as a curtain raiser to the George Brutton race for the Louis Fabre cup at the end of summer.
The Veterans' cup winner on that 2021 late August Saturday was Haydn Turner. The winner of the George Brutton race the corresponding Saturday of 2022 was (drum roll...) Haydn Turner. CONGRATULATIONS HAYDN!
2021, same Saturday but a different cup
Early morning long shadows hint at the end of summer
Reflections on the race to come
Dani and Robin overseeing proceedings
Swimmers await their mark, whilst Annette's young dog Finn gets the MacEachern dog whisperer treatment
George spoke of his love for the club and for the Serpentine family
George with a proud Haydn
Charlie Frith second
Anita Guyo 3rd
Jug for Yvonne
George was pleased to see fellow "child of the 80s" Chris Hatcher in the prize positions
Sami Robertson also up there
A prize for Brian, by virtue of people in front of him having left early
Three days earlier Stuart Bowman completed his 5th crossing of the English Channel. 24 August, the 147th anniversary of the first ever crossing by Captain Mathew Webb
Rob led the traditional three cheers. George tried not to show emotion - a true English gent
Louis, a likeable Frenchman, full of Gaelic charm and a Maurice Chevalier accent, was born in the South of France. His love of horses brought him to England at the time of the First World War, with the idea of signing up. It is not clear what happened but he never made it back to France. Right up to his death at the ripe old age of 88 years you would have thought he had just got off the boat at Dover, his accent was so strong. But it paid off with the ladies, especially at his wife's hairdressing salon in Paddington.
Louis joined the club in the early 1920s. Old photographs show that he was very successful in the All Clothes Race
Louis won the 1931 race
And again in 1935
George may not have won the All Clothes Race, but in 1988 he was a picture of sartorial elegance
Louis won the 1934 Peter Pan cup
George was the 1986 Peter Pan cup winner
Brian Thomas wrote in 2019 - "I remember Louis well. When I joined in 1967 he was the oldest club member still racing. Current members from the late 1960s and early 1970s remember Louis fondly, epecially the Kellys who lived close to Louis in Bayswater.
"Louis repeated his 1949 multi-discipline event in the late 1960s, this time involving a mile gallop on a horse. This earnt himself an interview on the BBC Saturday evening prime-time Simon Dee Show (Dee Time). Simon Dee was a summer daytime Lido user, but never part of the early morning crowd."
For further detail on George and family, Louis Fabre's history with the club, and Hayden's 2021 Veterans' cup victory please follow this link to last year's race report - Serpentine Swimming Club
(Report compiled by Brian Thomas)