Amwell View and John Watson schools were the victors as an Aquatics Centre triple-header began with the Oxfordshire and Hertfordshire Swimming Finals on Tuesday January 16.
Amwell View School in Stanstead Abbotts were winners of the Hertfordshire title, while John Watson School from Wheatley won the Oxfordshire showpiece, as both schools progressed into the regional final later this year.
Amwell View’s swimming teacher Amanda White reflected: “Thank you for a fantastic day. We were thrilled to have won the trophy and the pupils are extremely proud of their gold medals.
“Our pupils love swimming and having the experience of competing, let alone one at the Olympic pool, which is immense! The camaraderie amongst all the schools on the day was excellent.”
Kevin Larsen, lead teacher from Oxfordshire winner John Watson, commented: “Competing in the Swimming Panathlon is now becoming part of the school calendar – an event that both staff and pupils look forward to with great anticipation.
“Competing in such events is important. It provides our students with life skill opportunities – planning the journey, the catering arrangements, travel and of course visiting an incredible and historic sporting venue. It also provides social opportunities where students can mix with other competitors from different schools, as well as experience the mix of emotions associated with competition.
“Panathlon has provided a focus for swimming lessons during the last two months. Students have worked hard training and preparing for their events, which have brought added meaning and excitement to the occasion.”
One of the competitors on the day for Kingfisher School was Ben Warne, who was part of the Panathlon team in the Superhero Series Triathlon last August. Watching from the stands at the Aquatics Centre, his father Darren said: “We are pleased to come along and support the kids at such a prestigious venue.
“The children all did extremely well, and thoroughly enjoyed themselves in an inspiring environment. We were surprised how competitive and inclusive it was.”
Tuesday’s Young Leaders (pictured above) were provided by Richard Hale School in Hertford. Teacher Steve Coote reflected: “It was a real pleasure to accompany our 10 sports leaders today.
“I particularly liked the fact that they had a degree of autonomy within their roles and that they rotated throughout the event, which gave all of our helpers an equal opportunity. This was my first experience of a Panathlon and it was very organised, friendly and professional.”
The following day at the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games venue saw Market Field School win the Essex Swim Final before Heathlands triumphed in Thursday’s inaugural National Deaf Primary Final.
Many thanks to the following partners for making the competition possible: