St. George’s Senior Swimming Gala
The Senior Swimming Gala took place recently on Thursday 27th April at Langford Swimming pool. There was great excitement in the air as all the children from Forms IV to VI took to a coach and minibus to take them to the venue. For a few children, it was to be their first ever occasion swimming in a 25-metre pool! For most, it was the culmination of what has been an excellent year of swimming at St. George’s and a chance for them to show just how much they have improved. Each participant took part in a freestyle, breaststroke and relay race, with some also doing backstroke and butterfly.
Parents watched from the gallery as the children gathered in their house groups and Mr. Timothy addressed everyone and introduced the children who cheered loudly for their houses.
The nerves were building as the first racers were called up in the Form IV category. Mrs Le Neveu, as starter ensured there were no false starts and Mrs Jones and Mr Timothy recorded all the results as they came in from chief timekeeper Miss Morris.
The freestyle races were first and there were some very fast finishers, notably Emma Mwanga and Lara Spary who came in under 23 seconds and Paige Carter, who swam 19.37, coming very close to the Form IV girls’ record. In the boys’ category, new boy, Sebastian Bagot broke the school record in his first St. George’s race, in a time of 18.75. In the Form V freestyle races, Hector Somay raced well and came within hundredths of a second of the Form V record in a time of 18.19. Both Maya Gardner (19.46) and Olive Smith (20.37) achieved the St. George’s freestyle Standard with their winning times also. In the Form VI event, Bertie Cooke (17.98), Melanie Dixon (17.58) and Olivia-Rose Duffy (17.96) all won their heats, gaining a St. George’s Standard, plus the St. George’s Front Crawl Silver Speed Award.
After the fast and furious freestyle races came the start of the steady symmetrical breaststroke races. These gave Mrs Morgan a chance to see who had mastered the leg kick and again, there were some great performances. In Form IV, Amy White demonstrated her excellent technique when she won her heat in a time of 27.69, gaining a St. George’s Standard. Achieving the same award in Form V were Hector Somay (27.10) and Olive Smith (29.47) who were both winners in their heats. In the VI category, Jasper Lilley (24.20) and Thalia Fletcher (25.93) both produced fast races to gain St. George’s Breaststroke Bronze Speed Awards.
The backstroke races are always a little contentious as we never train with flags, and knowing the distance before the turn into the wall is tricky if you haven’t practiced it. In Form IV swimmer Paige Carter achieved the fastest time in 25.94, also gaining a Standard. In Form V, Maya Gardner (22.98) and Hector Somay (23.00) both won their races achieving a Standard and a St. George’s Backstroke Bronze Speed Award.
In Form VI fast times were recorded for Bertie Cooke (22.37), Melanie Dixon (23.05) and Olivia-Rose Duffy (23.14) who all achieved Standards and Backstroke Bronze Speed Awards and also to Jasper Lilley (21.99) and Thalia Fletcher (21.29) who achieved Backstroke Silver Speed Awards.
The Form VI sports captains in each house worked especially hard between races to ensure everyone in their house knew who was swimming next. They were extremely helpful and assisted Mrs Morgan greatly to fill in the places of absentees.
The butterfly event followed with a record number of competitors swimming the challenging butterfly stroke. Racing in a 25-metre pool is very different to training in a 10-metre pool doing dolphin kick, so it was especially remarkable to see so many of the Form IV and V’s having a go at racing. In fact, four butterfly records were broken! Both Form IV girls, Paige Carter (24.08) and Lara Spary (26.78) smashed the existing butterfly record of 30.55 set by Isabelle Patel in 2016. Sebastian Bagot keenly filled in for an absent St. David’s swimmer and in doing so, set a new Form IV butterfly record in a time of 28.53. Great determination and good technique was shown by the four Form VI swimmers, Felix O’Connor, Jasper Lilley, Thalia Fletcher and Olivia Rose-Duffy as they battled each other towards the deep end, with Olivia-Rose managing to reach the wall first, in a time of 24.01. In another butterfly race Melanie Dixon dominated the pool, finishing first in a fantastic time of 21.27, setting a new Form VI girls record and achieving a St. George’s Butterfly Bronze Speed Award.
The relays completed the gala and everyone was very excited, especially as the house results were so close. Two freestyle relays were raced, followed by two Medley relays allowing all competitors to compete in one more race. St. George’s came away with the win, followed by the other three houses which were within 3 points of each other!
Well done to everyone who took part and thank you to all the teachers who officiated.
Final results for 2017 were as follows:
1st Place St. George’s House 173 points
2nd Place St. Andrew’s House 148 points
3rd Place St. David’s House 146 points
4th Place St. Patrick’s House 145 points