Seven Heaven! ESSA Secondary Schools Team Championships 2018.
It was an early start for our students, as they ventured across to the London aquatic centre, the stage for an exciting edition of the Secondary Schools Team Championships. Many were excited to swim in the pool where some of their heroes had raced for gold, 6 years ago, at the London 2012 Olympics. With 3 age groups competing in 2 relay disciplines each, there was plenty of opportunity for swimmers to showcase their efforts, with the chance of bringing home a National Title.
The junior age-group, made up of 10 Prep School swimmers and 1 year 9 pupil, were keen to set the tone for the day. This competition creates a fantastic opportunity for our prep school swimmers to combine forces with the senior school. The girls relays were on top form, breaking National records in both the 4x50 freestyle relay and 4x50 medley relay; the boys brought home 1st place in both of their relays. During post race de-briefs, these young swimmers demonstrated great knowledge and maturity. They shared information, showing insight towards their reflection upon their performances. Director of Swimming at Millfield Prep School, Helen Gouldby, said “walking into the 2012 London Olympic Aquatic Centre brings goose bumps to my skin every time and it was noticeable how the big stage motivated the team to do so well, at this early stage of the year”.
It was always going to be a tough battle in the Senior category, which expanded over 3 year groups, allowing opportunity for our year 11 students to race alongside their sixth form teammates. With all 3 year groups represented in the girls relays, the 4x50 medley was one of the most closely fought races of the day, with all 4 swimmers displaying a huge amount of grit, as they held their own to come away with a 1st place. It was a truly inspiring swim to watch. Their male counterparts equally showed a huge amount of passion wearing the Millfield hat. All 4 boys showed positivity in their racing whilst in the middle of a heavy training block. Those teams that progressed through to the final has an opportunity to hone in on their tactical knowledge of racing with those teams improving from their heat swims.
In the Intermediate age category, students from years 9 and 10, it was great to see both boys and girls relays supporting each other. With team alterations between heats and finals, there was a wonderful opportunity for lots of swimmers to be a part of the legacy that is intwined with this fabulous facility. Dominating from the start, both teams claimed victory in the medley relays. The boys backed this up with a hard fought 2nd, with the girls taking 3rd in another tightly contested freestyle relay. Relays are a great opportunity to come together as a team to achieve a single goal, with all athletes stepping up to give their team mates the best opportunity to race hard. This age category showed a real sense of positivity and professionalism when given the opportunity to race and it was fantastic to see their self belief, with athletes wanting to put themselves forward into challenging situations. A real sense of community.
The successful trip proved to be an exciting and inspiring day of racing as well as opportunity to build leadership skills in team orientated situation. The coaching staff were pleased with how the team approached the competition both with their physical and psychological preparation, with many of the teams improving from heats to finals.
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