Swim Forest Swim

On Saturday 17 November, the 61st finals of the English Schools Swimming Association National Relay Championships were held at the iconic London Aquatic Centre.

A total of 416 secondary schools from eight regions across the country had participated in county and regional qualifying rounds, with the fastest 30 teams making it through to 4x50m freestyle relay and 4x50m medley relay finals in junior, intermediate and senior age group categories.

The Sussex round of the south east heats took place in October, at the Pavilions in the Park, where the Forest Schools junior A team booked their place a ticket to London. They stormed through the heats winning silver in both the Junior Boys 4x50m Freestyle and 4x50m Medley events.

The team was eager to challenge reigning champions and leading sports schools Millfield and Mount Kelly, as well as many top independent and grammar schools.

By the end of the heats, the 30 schools were reduced to top ten finalists in each age category for each event.

The Forest Schools Junior team; Oliver, Bruno, Archie and Will pushed hard in the 4x50m medley heats. With a particularly outstanding 50m fly performance from Oliver of 30.5 secs, they finished in 27th place overall. Bruno 38.6 secs in backstroke; Will 41.4 secs in breaststroke and Archie 32.5 secs in freestyle, all personal bests.

In the 4x50m freestyle heats, the boys swam nearly 5 seconds faster than their qualifying time. With 6 teams finishing within hundredths of seconds of each other, this determined four, secured an impressive 15th position overall. Missing out on the final by less than 1 second. They swam hard: Oliver 28.4 secs; Archie 31.8 secs; Bruno 32.4 secs and Will 30.3 secs. A remarkable performance from all but a special mention to Bruno who is only in Year 7 competing against boys a year older than him.

A massive achievement for the Forest Junior team at their first nationals and only the second time the school has been represented in the 61 years of the competition. A big thank you to the parents for their support and especially to Mrs Colombo for managing the team on the day.

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