Atlantis Swimmers at the ESSA 60th Anniversary National Relay Finals

27th December 2017

Atlantis Swimmers, representing their local secondary schools; Millais, Forest, Collyer’s, Steyning Grammar, Reigate Grammar and Hurstpierpoint College took part in the 60th ESSA (English Schools Swimming Association) National Relay Championship finals, held at the iconic London Aquatic Centre on Saturday 18th November 2017.

To qualify for the National Finals, 385 Secondary Schools from across the country had previously participated in County and Regional qualifying heats with the fastest 30 teams making it through to the 4x50 Freestyle Relay and 4x50m Medley Relay Finals in junior, intermediate and senior age group categories, (swimming 2,120 relays in total!)

The Sussex round of the South-East heats took place in October at the Pavilions in the Park, where the Atlantis swimmers had guaranteed their schools a place in the finals!

The world class facilities at the venue formed the perfect backdrop to the competition and the teams were eager to take up their well-deserved places against reigning Champions.   By the end of the morning’s heats, the top 30 schools were reduced to the 10 finalists in each age category for the 2 events. 

Steyning Grammar Junior Girls; Amber Ranson, Anna Sayers, Grace Trodd of Atlantis, with Freya Hunt (Worthing SC) put in some solid performances finishing 30th overall in both events.

Millais’ Intermediate Girls, Emma Harrison, Jessica Glassford, Anna Templar and Millie Weeden, all of Atlantis, faced a tough challenge. Having made it to the finals for the third year running, this tenacious team were determined to pull out all the stops.

In the 4x 50 Freestyle medley heats, the girls put in some superb swims, swimming nearly 2 seconds faster than their entry time, elevating their qualifying position of 18th to a fantastic 15th position overall.   In the 4x50 Medley heats, the girls also gave it their all, to finish in a brilliant 14th position.  Their performances will see them extremely well placed for next year’s competition as year 10s in this category.

Forest’s Intermediate Boys team comprising Ralf Georgeson, Michael Pallister, Junior Club Captain Ryan Gant (of Atlantis) and Gerasim Vuliyerys (of Crawley SC), making their debut at the competition, swam a brilliant 4 x 50m Medley Relay in the heats. Pushing themselves hard they swam a huge 3.7 seconds faster than their qualifying time. With a particularly outstanding 50 freestyle performance from Gerasim of 26.02 secs, the boys moved up from a qualifying position of 27th, to finish in a very impressive 18th position overall!

Reigate Grammar Intermediate Girls, Issy Hayes competing at the ESSA finals for the first time alongside Daisy Gilder and Ruby Jamieson from Crawley SC. The team posed a direct threat to rivals Millais Intermediate Girls! Some gutsy swims for Reigate, saw them finishing 19th in the 4x50 Free and 23rd in the 4x50 Medley.

Collyer’s Senior Boys team of James Hartley, Dan Jones, and Joe Carter from Atlantis, with Martin Schofield and Sam Murray (of Crawley SC) put in a steely performance in both events, to finish in 26th position in the 4x50 Medley and 22nd in the 4x50 Freestyle Medley.

Also in the Senior Boys category was Hamish Milne-Skillman, who trains with Atlantis when not at his Somerset based Millfield School.

In the Senior Girls category, Atlantis swimmer Gabby Eltham and her Hurstpierpoint team came 23rd in the 4x50 Free and 20thposition in the 4x50 Medley. 

The Collyer’s Senior Girls team of National breaststroker Lily Davis, Sussex County Champion and Atlantis Club Captain, Zoe Cawsey, Anya Elvin and Freya Fulcher had a very real chance of a medal at the competition having qualified in 3rd in the 4x50 Freestyle Medley and 9th in the 4x50 Medley respectively. Unfortunately, they were unable to attend due to them chasing Commonwealth Qualifying Times at an event in Bristol!

Overall, some outstanding and thrilling performances from all Atlantis swimmers who were extremely proud to represent their schools at such a prestigious event and finish within the top 30 in the country. 

Becky Harrison, Regional Atlantis Coach, said of the day “This year we had 16 Atlantis swimmers representing 7 different schools.  All of the swimmers put 100% into their races and achieved some fantastic results. The Forest boys were awesome and I know that next year the Millais girls will be back again hunting down a place in the final”.