Cranleigh Prep took their biggest swimming team ever to the IAPS National Swimming Championships held at the legendary London Aquatics Centre, home to the 2012 Olympic Games. With a lot of expectations going into the event, the Cranleigh Prep team had been training exceptionally hard for the event, with many using club training alongside their regular school training with current Swim England South East Regional Skills Coach and Head of Swimming, Will Philpot.
The morning saw the first set of races get under way with the boys relays. Cranleigh managed to get four qualification places in the U11 medley and freestyle relays as well as the U13 medley and freestyle relays. The day did not start well for Cranleigh as the U11 boys medley was disqualified for an early takeover. They clearly learned from their mistakes as they later swam the freestyle relay and managed to drop 3.73 seconds off their qualification time and place 13th overall. The U13 boys were next and they had a bit more luck in the medley relay claiming 8th position and taking off 4.90 seconds off their entry time and followed that up with a further 2.86 second improvement in the freestyle relay claiming 14th positon overall.
Whilst many of the relay teams left the arena for the day, Jamie T, James M, Max C and boys captain, Ollie W, remained behind to take part in the individual events. Max stepped up first for his 25m butterfly and claimed 15th overall, almost matching the time he swam in the preliminary rounds back in March. Next James M, who qualified last minute due to withdrawals, showed why he should have made the cut from the start, swimming himself from 21st to 16th position and dropping 2.97 seconds off his qualifying time in the 50m breaststroke. A superb effort and a prospect for the future. Ollie W was next up and a very experienced swimmer who is no stranger to pressure, reacted well and improved his seeding from 14th to 12th just missing a spot in the final against a very fast field. He managed to improve by 1.89 seconds from his prelims round time and set a lifetime best time. Jamie T was next into the pool and had one goal in mind: to break the 30 second barrier in the 50m freestyle. Only two other boys born in 2007 have achieved this feat and Jamie was aiming to become the 3rd. In the heats, Jamie swam a speedy 29.92 to place himself 4th and the first Cranleighan of the day to make a final. Against a fast field Jamie held his place and broke the 30 barrier yet again with a 29.99.
The afternoon saw the girls step up and although only two relay spots were qualified for, they were within striking distance of claiming the first podium finish of the day. The U12 medley relay came first and after a blistering swim, seeing the team drop 6.19 seconds off their original entry time, they touched third and claimed the bronze medal just 0.19 ahead of the 4th place finisher. The team of Isla A, Kyarra S, Sasha P and Sophie S won Cranleigh’s first medal of the day. The freestyle relay was next up and an excited Cranleigh were ready to try and podium again. On this occasion they were pushed to 4th place by a very fast Mount Kelly team but, in spite of this, the team still managed to drop 4.01 seconds off their prelim time which is an outstanding achievement in its own right.
The individual swims came next. Sasha, Isla and Kyarra were joined by the youngest member of the team, Sienna R, and girls captain, Lily H. Sienna was the first race up in the 25m backstroke and the big occasion did not phase her one bit as she was 0.69 faster than her prelim time and placed 8th getting her into the finals. Sasha was next in the 25m butterfly and, against tough opposition, placed herself 17th, nearly matching her already fast time from the prelims. Isla stepped up next in the 50m backstroke. She held her place and dropped 0.88 seconds off her prelim time after an already packed programme for her. Lily was next in the 50m backstroke and improved her time by 0.17 to place 7th and qualify for the final later that day.
Finally, Kyarra swam the 50m freestyle and she, like Jamie T before her, wanted to break the 30 barrier for the 50m Freestyle. Kyarra swam a 29.75 to qualify 3rd for the final. The finals saw Sienna move from 8th to 5th and drop another 0.33 seconds in her first outing at IAPS. Lily H swam slightly slower than the prelims in the 50m backstroke to finish in 9th overall. Lily will be coming across the road in September to join the very strong Cranleigh Women’s team who have yet to be beaten in head to head competition in 5 years. Kyarra was the last Cranleigh race of the day and, saving the best until last, although she swam 0.03 slower in the final, she outswam one of her competitors and claimed the silver medal.
Will Philpot, Head of Swimming, says ‘The swimming at this event was been outstanding, with all of our swimmers finishing in the top 20 positions out of 200 schools taking part. Everyone really stepped up and didn’t let the occasion get to them, showing real team spirit, cheering on their teammates for every race. It’s great to see so many young swimmers coming through at this level, it’s going to make the future bright for Cranleigh swimming as a whole’.
Lily H (Captain)
Ollie W (Captain)