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On the first weekend of term, the School’s swimming squad performed tremendously in their opening fixture against Cranleigh and Charterhouse, arguably two of the most accomplished opponents the School will face all season.
The senior boys were also against tough opposition, especially an able Charterhouse cohort. Nevertheless, a number of strong swims were recorded. Ben Wadsted finished 3rd in the 50m freestyle and Iain Alexander matched this place in the 100m freestyle. The senior girls had a difficult day against some very good swimmers and lost their competition 30-12, but all involved deserve to be commended for their fine efforts.
With a slight reshuffle, the U16 were spread thin and competed tirelessly against a large Cranleigh squad. Jemima Lowe was pushed into 2nd place in the 50m backstroke and all other girls swam well.
The U16 boys had a fantastic day. With no Bruce McCormick, Ben Simpson and Joe Duncan bravely swam in a higher age group. New recruit Vincent Lowry won his 50m fly in a fantastic sub-30 swim (29.84s), while Matt Thomas came 3rd (31.00s). These places were reversed in the 50m freestyle, with Matt finishing 2nd in a superb personal best of 27.29. Pride of place in the section was Ben Simpson, swimming in his first competition for the School. Despite competing against older swimmers, he not only won his races, but inflicted a crushing defeat on the rest of the field, winning his 50m breaststroke in 35.06. Joe Duncan swam admirably and would have placed third had he been in the U14s with the identical time (40.68). Ben then went on to win convincingly his 50m backstroke in 32.54. The four then swam their way to a win in the 4x50m medley relay. Matt, Ben and Vincent set a large lead for Joe and he swam hard to (just) touch into 1st. They also came 2nd in the 4x50m freestyle relay, beating Charterhouse. Overall, the scores were: Charterhouse – 16, St John's – 35 and Cranleigh - 39.
The U14 girls’ squad excelled. Ella Cawthra won the 25m butterfly and 50m freestyle, and Martha Hansford the 50m backstroke. Ellie Tredgett swam wonderfully to finish in 2nd place. Despite Martha’s disqualification in the breast stroke, these results helped the U14 girls beat Cranleigh 19-18. Likewise, the U14 boys’ performance was masterful. Not a single U14 boy was beaten, with St John's boys (Tom Stansfield, Charlie Bennett, Ed Reed and Tom Shepherd) coming 1st and 2nd place in every event.
In the U14 relays, no one was within touching distance of St John’s. The 4x50m medley relay was won by 14 seconds: Cranleigh were a full length behind. As for Charterhouse, 46 seconds and 2.5 lengths separated them from the rest! In the 4x50m freestyle, there was a similar story. St John's easily won and, again, the boys lapped Charterhouse, winning their competition 50-33.
The overall competition was won by Cranleigh 159-190, but the day can be summed up with the words of Cranleigh’s master in charge, who commented with regret, “Your boys coming through are going to be a real pain for us for the next 5 years.” How delighted was the St John’s team to hear that.
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