English School Swimming Finals

29th November 2016

The finals of the English Secondary Schools National Relay Championships (ESSA) took place on Saturday 19th November at the London Aquatic Centre, and 10  Atlantis Swimmers, representing two local secondary schools,  Millais and Rydon, and 1 sixth form college, Collyers, were in the thick of the action.

To qualify for the National Finals, Secondary Schools from all over the country had previously competed in County and Regional Heats  with the fastest Top 30 schools making it through to the 4x50M Medley Relay and the 4x50M Freestyle Relay Finals at the iconic Olympic venue.  

The Sussex/South East heats took place in October at the Pavilions in the Park, where the Atlantis swimmers secured their respective Schools a ticket to London.

The three teams, accompanied by Atlantis Coach Becky Harrison, arrived early at the pool, eager to start the competition and take on the likes of sporting powerhouses Millfield School, Mount Kelly and Plymouth College.

By the end of the morning’s heats, the 30 competing schools had been reduced to the top 10 finalists for the 2 events in each age category.

Millais’s Junior Year 8 swimmers, Emma Harrison, Jessica Glassford, Emma Morris, Anna Templar and Millie Weeden were in awesome form. Returning to the competition for a second time, this year the girls were extremely well placed in their category.

In the 4x 50 Freestyle medley heats, the Millais team pulled out all the stops, their efforts being rewarded with a place in the Final Top 10.  The atmosphere was electric and in a tense final, the girls put up a thrilling performance to finish in a fantastic 9th place overall in the country. An outstanding achievement!

The girls 4x50 medley team also gave it their all, narrowly missing out on a place in the top 10 final by 19 100ths of a second,  finishing in a very impressive 11th position overall in the country. Although swimming a massive 2.29 seconds faster than their entry time, the competition was so fierce, six teams finished within 100ths of seconds of each other.

Rydon’s Junior Year 7 girls, Amber Ranson, Olivia Round Pitman, Skye Cooke and, Amelia Stone, delivered a gutsy performance and rose to the occasion in the Freestyle medley with a 2.14 second pb,  placing them in 21st position overall in their age category.   This should stand them in good stead to challenge next year.

Success also for Collyer’s, with their Senior Boys team of Aiden Sparling from Atlantis, alongside Martin Schofield, and brothers George and Charlie Hopkins from Crawley S.C. who delivered a sterling performance to storm through the heats into the final 10 in both events.

Two nail biting final races and some awesome swimming from this quartet saw them finish in a brilliant 8th position overall in both the Freestyle and Medley Finals.  Well done boys!

Overall, a very successful day for our Atlantis swimmers who were very proud to represent and swim for their schools at such a prestigious event.

Becky Harrison, Atlantis coach, said of the day “Huge congratulations to all the Atlantis Swimmers who competed, it’s an amazing achievement to swim in National Competition against the likes of Millfield, Plymouth and Mount Kelly.  You all rose to the occasion and swam your hearts out. It was a pleasure to be your Team manager, I’m very proud of you all”.