English Schools National Swimming Gala at the London Aquatics Centre

On Saturday 21st November, Maddy, Lottie, Megan and I took part in the English Secondary Schools Swimming Gala, at the London Aquatics Centre in the Olympic pool. We had qualified previously for this event after competing in the Kent Schools’ Swimming Gala, in which Kent schools swam against each other. We won our 4 x 50 metre freestyle relay, and came a close second to Weald of Kent in the 4 x 50 metre medley relay.

We were delighted to find out that the times that we had managed in the Kent Schools Gala meant that we qualified for the English Secondary Schools Gala, where the top schools from across the country would all compete. Schools all the way from Devon came to participate at the Olympic Park, and we faced a day of two heats and a potential two finals.

Our first event was the heats of the 4 x 50 metre freestyle. We swam in the second of three heats, and were entered second fastest into our heat. However, all the times were very close, so anyone could win. I swam the first leg, followed by Megan, Lottie and finally Maddy. With a strong opening swim, we all swam fast and won our heat, and went through to the final as fifth fastest.

An hour later, we had our freestyle final. We all swam well and managed to finish sixth, which meant we were the sixth fastest team in the country! Then we had to quickly get ready for our next event, the 4 x 50 metre medley heats. In this event, each swimmer swims a different stroke. I swam the backstroke leg, which came first, followed by Maddy on the breaststroke, Lottie swimming the butterfly and Megan swimming the freestyle. Despite our effort, we didn’t win our heat, and just managed to get into the 8th lane in the final.

We knew we needed to swim faster, and in the final we all did a faster split time. Combined, we achieved a 3 second improvement on our heat time, which we were very happy with. After a very close finish, we finished a strong sixth, and delighted with how the day had gone. As a team, we’d had a very successful day, finishing the highest placed school from Kent in both events, competing against the very best in the country, making two national finals and two sixth place positions.

By Izzy Year 8