Over the last week Panathlon has delivered four swimming competitions in the North, South, East and West of London.
This involved a staggering 178 swimmers (up from 166 in 2016) from a total of 25 schools. These first round events allowed schools to compete against other local schools.
This including Whitefields School (main picture top) retaining their title from last year and The Rise School (pictured left) who won their West London semi-final.
With many pupils competing for the first time, it was humbling to hear such positive feedback from teachers and pupils.
Sarah Hutchinson, a teacher at The Rise School who won the West London gala, said: “The boys had a great day and returned to school with a winners’ banner on arrival. They were so happy – one of our pupils even cried. Thanks for a great day and we can’t wait for the finals in the New Year.”
The first competition took place in West London on the 30th November, where The Rise school from Hounslow ran away with gold after winning almost every race. Hot on their heels were Linden Lodge School from Wandsworth who finished in an impressive second place; much improved from last year.
On the 1st December, the East London gala saw Whitefields School in Waltham Forest show they have strength in depth and plenty of pace, one year on from being crowned 2016/17 London Champions. A deserving 2nd place went to St John’s Roman Catholic School, after they finished one point ahead of Hackney’s Stormont House.
In North London, Enfield’s West Lea School (pictured right) were comfortably crowned champions, but 2nd, 3rd and 4th were hotly contested. Durants School, who were last year’s winners, managed 3rd just ahead of Queensmill in 4th. Perhaps the surprise was to see The Vale School in Haringey pinch the silver medal – a huge personal best for this extremely promising team.
The largest of all the competitions was South London on the 5th December. A total of 55 pupils competed in the pool on one day. It was thrilling stuff throughout with Riverside pinching gold at their first Panathlon gala. In second place it was Parkwood Hall from Kensington and Chelsea, who although in the past have excelled in Panathlon Multi-Sport, will be thrilled to reach the swim finals for the first time.
Steven Day, a teacher at Riverside School said, “it’s been a fantastic day. Some of our pupils are concerned about getting in to water and so this was a perfectly pitched event to allow our weaker swimmers a chance to still compete.”
A big thanks must go to all of the wonderful Panathlon Leaders who volunteered their time to help run the gala’s – Kingsbury High, Sydenham High, Mill Hill and Llamas School.
A special mention to our volunteers from EQ Investors (Pictured left) who supported the East London swim competition and have funded various Panathlon programmes for the last 3 years. Thank you for your ongoing support and enthusiasm to get stuck in to all of our competitions.
We now look ahead to the Finals at the London Aquatic Centre on the 1st March 2018. The final line-up is:
Champions Finals: The Rise, Whitefields, West Lea, Riverside
Plate Finals: Linden Lodge, St Johns RC, The Vale, Parkwood Hall.
Thanks to the Jack Petchey Foundation and the Mayor of London for supporting the swim programme.