County Upper School swimmers compete in English Schools Championships

The County Upper School swimmers and their coaches at the London Aquatic Centre. Picture: BRENDON PY

The County Upper School swimmers and their coaches at the London Aquatic Centre. Picture: BRENDON PYLE - Credit: Archant

A team of Suffolk swimmers followed in the wake of the likes of Rebecca Adlington and Michael Phelps when they competed at the iconic London Aquatic Centre.

The squad, from County Upper School in Bury St Edmunds, did battle in the national finals of the English Schools Championships at the London 2012 Olympic venue.

With the GB squad, guided by Tom Daley’s coach, practising behind them in the diving pool, parents stood to sing the national anthem in a packed stadium before the swimmers enjoyed a 30-minute water acclimatisation session in the splendid Olympic pool, followed by an afternoon of relay racing against some of the top swimming schools in England.

One of the few state comprehensive schools to qualify for the finals, the boys and girls’ teams from County swam in both the Freestyle and Medley relays and finished a credible 12th and 14th out of 30 finalists respectively.

Both teams were either first or second from the east region in all four relays that they competed in.

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The girls team of Ella Hale, Charlotte and Lucy Hudson, and Hannah O’Connor all swam personal bests as did the boys team of Sam Wortley, Alex Harrison, Ben Wilkinson, Taylor Bowen and Ollie Pyle in their two events.

Freestyle specialist Wilkinson said: “This is my first time competing in the Olympic pool and it’s been great to swim with my mates from school and West Suffolk Swimming Club - you certainly feel as though you are swimming faster in this pool!”

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Team managers Pete Wortley and Elaine Bowen, were down on pool side with the pupils.

They said: “What an experience for the kids to compete in this famous venue - they should be very proud of how well they swam against some of the top swimmers in the country.”

The school, which is fast gaining a reputation as a swimming powerhouse, will compete in a Suffolk schools gala in Ipswich this month.

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