Rees is a native of Burry Port, and up to a few years ago he carried on business there in conjunction with his brother as a cycle dealer and repairer. Latterly he has removed to Llanelli, and carries on a similar business on his own account in Water-street.
His brother, Evan Rees, was at one time the champion cyclist in West Wales, while Jack Rees has no rival in the district as a trick rider on the cycle. He has been from boyhood an adept swimmer, and it is said that when pursued by his father once, and finding the dock gates at Burry Port open, he rode into the water, cycle and all, and swam across to the other side in his clothes. Certain it is that he has performed this feat many times since in the presence of thousands of spectators at the Burry Port regatta, the exhibition he gave being one of its most attractive features.
His success as a swimmer has so far been merely local, but he has won 300 prizes in various competitions, some of them being in Ireland, where he once lived. Some years ago he swam from Swansea to Mumbles, and could, if required, have gone back again. His longest stay in the water has been 9 hours, which time he spent in Carmarthen Bay. One of his feats was to jump into the water at Carmarthen Dock one very cold day last winter and swim as far as the lighthouse, a distance of about 500 yards. Rees, who is 36 years of age, has a very powerful physique and great powers of endurance
The Cambrian 21 August 1908
JACK REES’ RECORD. SWIMMER OF FINE ATTAINMENTS AND PHYSIQUE. . Final arrangements for the swim were made an Tuesday evening, when it was decided that Rees should be greased down besides the lighthouse. Rees had secured the loan from Mr. Jabez Wolle of a special pair of goggles, fitted in such a manner that his eyes were protected from the salt water and the glaring sun. Rees was accompanied by a number of companions, including Messrs. Jenkins and Jones, who have come down with him from Llanelli, Mr. Fred Kearsley, of Wigan, who has been training at Dover for his Channel attempt next week, and who has decided to take advantage of the trip to gain more experience. Then there was Mr. William Kellingley, of Brighton, who has been on all the important Channel swims and who so gallantly rescued Mearns at the conclusion of his swim a few days ago. Other members of the party included Messrs. A. Warren Jones and Sephton, of Derby, who are on a holiday in Dover, as well as a number of Press representatives. The majority of the party were expert swimmers. It was arranged that a light should be trained on Rees should he swim into the night; Mr. Kellingley had charge of the commissariat arrangement, and Rees found it consisted among other things, of meat sandwiches, milk biscuits, and hot meat essence. In fact, he had decided to try the diet used by Jappy Wolffe on all his long cross-Channel swims.
The Cambrian 21 August 1908