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In another stroke of genius from St John’s swimmers, the School’s Lower Fifth boys qualified for the ESSA national relay swimming finals over the weekend.
At the London Aquatic Pool right next to the Olympic Park, the team, made up of captain Ben Simpson (West), Edward Reed (Surrey), Tom Shepherd (Surrey), Tom Stansfield (Monty) and Charlie Bennett (East), worked hard to capitalise on the double Surrey champions title they attained last month, and got off to a flying start in the pool.
Despite earlier fears that a fractured hand might stop Tom Stansfield from swimming at all, he showed true resilience and was able to compete in all events throughout the day. The boys started strong in the medley relay, coming 3rd in their heat with a time of 2:01.18, only just losing out to the likes of Millfield and Whitgift.
Tom Shepherd was able to break his PB in the freestyle, a great personal achievement. The team qualified for the finals, where 10 teams competed. St John’s finished well with a time of 2:02.33, which resulted in the School achieving 7th place in the country overall.
The boys managed to scrape qualification for the final of the freestyle relay, with a time of 1:47.53. Reaching the final for the 2nd time, the squad started off well, but were piped at the post by a few stronger schools, and at one stage were in 9th position. St John's were able to pull back during the race, and in the dying moments, managed to gain the 7th place they were all hoping for.
Assistant Director of Sport, Kerry Walsh, commented: “Credit must be given to all the boys, their commitment and courage has been unfailing. Huge thanks must be given to all the parents and staff who were able to support the boys on the day, including our own Headmaster.”
Team coach David Vine added: “As a school we are really proud of the squad's efforts, and we are sure this team will go from strength to strength in years to come. Competing in this event will no doubt have given them the confidence and valuable experience at the highest level.”
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