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St Mary's Swimmers triumph at gala

posted 18 Nov 2013, 04:48 by Katharine Smith   [ updated 18 Nov 2013, 04:54 ]
On Thursday 14th November, our swimmers competed against 4 other local schools in the annual swimming gala organised by Chapeltown Swimming Club.  Having competed in this event in previous years, we were only too aware of the high standard that we would be up against. 
 
The gala consisted of relay races, some of which were swum in year groups, while others required one swimmer from each year group to make up the team. The swimmers were busy the whole evening with many of them swimming at least 6 races.  On occasions, they were getting out of the pool from one race and being sent straight back down to the other end of the pool to get ready for another one! The evening was then finished off with a diving competition where one boy and one girl from Year 6 completed two dives and were scored out a maximum 10 points.
 
At various intervals during the event, the points scores were totted up and announced.  After 8 races, we were in 2nd place, just behind Ecclesfield.  The next 8 races saw us achieve quite a few 1st places and we were delighted to hear that after 16 races we were in the lead.  The tension was building.  Although we won a couple of the next set of races, so did Ecclesfield and also creeping up on us were Lound - our old rivals!  It was neck and neck, with only a few points seperating us from Ecclesfield with 4 races left.  It came down to the final race - The cannon. Eight swimmers -1 boy, 1 girl from each year group. This race counted for double points!!  The Year 3s got us off to a great start, followed by the Year 4s and 5s with the Year 6s bringing us in in 2nd place.  A quick glance across showed that we had finished ahead of Ecclesfield.  Surely, we had done it!  Cruelly, they kept us waiting whilst the diving competition took place.  I had left it to the Year 6 swimmers to decide who was going to represent school in the diving competition.  So it was that Olivia Cooper and Alfie Broughton stepped up to the mark.  They both performed maginificent dives against excellent competition and again we awaited the totalling up of the points.  This became even more exciting as it was announced that there was a tie for 1st place in the girls event and Olivia had to go into a dive off against another diver.  She pulled off a spectacular dive and secured victory for us in that event.  Well done Olivia, I'm sure Lound will find the trophy soon!!  Alfie finished in 3rd place, which was brilliant as the two divers who finished ahead of him were competitive swimmers. Well done Alfie!  So, it was time for the overall scores to be announced. We listened nervously as 5th, 4th and 3rd places were announced, leaving just us and Ecclesfield.  In true X Factor style, they kept us waiting before pronouncing us winners!!
 
I must thank all family members and friends for the support you gave us from the balcony.  All your cheering and encouragement made a massive difference.  A special thanks goes to Mrs Cooper, who stepped in at the last minute to help out on the poolside and for organising our new school tshirts which gave us a very professional image.  However, my biggest thanks goes to the 17 swimmers who represented our school in true St Mary's style.  It was a very long night and some of our younger team members were shattered, but they kept going right to the end.  All our swimmers were competitive when it was their race and cheered on others inbetween.  The older children helped to look after the younger ones, making sure they knew where they should be and encouraging them.  They were a team.  As always, the behaviour was excellent and respect was shown to other schools and officials.  They were all great ambassadors of St Mary's.  But, most of all we had fun and WE WON!!!!
 
St Mary's swimming team 2013
 
Charlotte Mettham, Keira Wallace, Nathan Martin, Joseph Spicer, Melissa Walker, Alyssa Ramlakan, William Lajarige, Rhys Cooper, Holly Byrne, Katie Turner, Taione Sodje, Henry Bark, Anna Baxter, Tilly Turton,
Olivia Cooper, Alfie Broughton and Charlie Goacher.