This year the IAPS National Swimming were held a month later and at the London Aquatic Centre and was both a blessing and a curse.
A blessing because the swimmers were inspired to work & train hard for the chance to swim in the same pool where Becky Adlington & Michael Phelps competed in London 2012 but a bit of a curse as the finals were the Saturday after the year 8 CE exams and the all day regional athletics qualifier in Bedford.
Four U13 Year 8 boys qualified in Bishop’s Stortford in March in both the U13 4 x 25m Medley and Freestyle relays, qualifying 11th out of sixteen. (Wilf Sheepshanks, Fraser Johnson, Archie Shelley-Taylor and Will Lamprell) with Will also qualifying for the U13 50m free.
Anna Cogdell (U12 & year 7) also qualified for the 50m free in her age group. She had taken inspiration after seeing Lampost (Will) qualify last year and when she realised the finals were at LAC she was determined to get there.
The boys travelled to Stratford on the Friday evening (Archie & Will coming from Bedford after both qualifying for the National Athletics finals) and on the Saturday morning after a large breakfast headed over to the pool. During the day over 1500 swimmers, 4000 spectators, 120 races, 50 officials & volunteers and 9 hours of swimming meant that this was the largest IAPS competition of the year – so to qualify both as a team and individually has been a tremendous achievement.
First up the boys swam the Medley relay in a PB of 1.06.49 taking 4 seconds off their entry time, followed shortly after by a 57.39 for the freestyle relay, again setting a new PB. It was then over to Will to swim in the 50m free, making the “final” final. After having secured a regional high jump record and the U13 boys qualifying in the relay at Bedford the day before, there wasn’t much gas left in the tanks, and that was his mum’s words!
However, Will put in a monumental effort to finish in 8th place nationally setting a new PB of 28.64, an outstanding achievement and one that he should feel extremely proud of.
Later that afternoon, it was the time for Anna Cogdell to take to the water. Swimming in the first heat Anna came 4th in her heat with a new PB of 32.47 so our hopes were high that she would make the final. However, the second heat was to prove the faster of the two so Anna finished 13th overall out of 20.
Exciting times lie ahead for Fram Prep swim squad next year, with galas already organised for the Autumn & Spring term. We have developed a strong pathway from activity sessions & PE lessons into squad swimming and have some very promising youngsters coming through.
The coaching team would very much like to congratulate all our swimmers for their achievements in the pool this year, their commitment to attending regular training and to all the parents for supporting the children’s efforts in the pool. All the evenings and early mornings swims were worth it.