BBC Archives – The Jack Cox, Comparing Now to Then

We are coming up to that time of the year when all thoughts turn to the Jack Cox. I thought I would take a look at what the archives can tell us about the early Jack Cox races (or the Long Distance handicap as it was known before the war).

Jack Cox Result Card 1933-34

Jack Cox Result Card 1933-34 – click image to enlarge

The 1500 (yard) started in season 1933-34 and we are very lucky to have the results of that race in the archives. The race had 17 starters although it looks like only 13 completed. The winner J. Faasen won it in a time of  28:56 and the fastest swimmer was Lou Morath who finished in a time of 22:58. The race entrants were all men as swimming was not in vogue for women.

The race was held each year until 1940 but postponed over the war. It started again in 1946 and was renamed the Jack Cox in honour of John Fabian Cox who lost his life in tragic circumstances on the Burma railway. Again we are very lucky to have the results for that  1500 yard race in the archives. There were 23 starters (again all men) and the back marker Der Murphy gave the front marker Staff Sheldon 6:45.  The winner in that race was Ross Higgens in a time of 28:31. The fastest swimmer was Lou Morath who finished 3rd in a time of 24:58

Jack Cox Result Card 1946 – click image to enlarge

Jack Cox Result Card 1946 – click image to enlarge

Fast forward to this last year 2015 with the race now 1500 metres. There were 118 who finished the race, of which 35 were women and 83 men, so around 30% who finished were women. The winner was Gail Kennedy with Eve Bagnall second and the fastest person in the race was Emily Ranger who swam it in 22:01

A sign of changing times!

For the record (as I know I will be asked) the previous year there were 92 finishers and the winner Damon Pal was the back marker and swam it in 21:22

So who will it be this year?