All six Merseyside Boroughs took part in the third Merseyside Panathlon Swimming Competition at the Lansbury Bridge School in St Helens as the new Panathlon season began with 48 students competing in a 10-race programme.

In addition, three leaders from Edge Cliff University and Liverpool John Moores University officiated the competition both in and out of the water.

Vicky Jones, a Great Britain 25-29 age group triathlon representative at the 2016 World Championships in Mexico and Lansbury Bridge teacher, said: “This is a great experience for the children to compete in a swimming event, as it is very rare for swimming to provide this kind of opportunity. It is an opportunity to see others from the area participate. It also enables them to showcase their talents, learning and progress they have made.”

The competition was won by the Borough of Halton, (pictured above left) represented by Chesnut Lodge Special School, after a close contest with last year’s winners from the Borough of Sefton. Halton won five out of the 10 events to regain the title they last held two years ago.

Eileen Campbell, teacher and manager of the Halton team, said: “It’s an amazing event. Children who don’t get to participate are in the water and competing as a team. All of them enjoy this day and now we also go back to school as champions. What an experience the children will receive on returning to school today!”

Halton competitor Cavana added: “Oh my God, what a trophy! My mother won’t believe I have a gold medal.”

Greenbank Sports AcademySteve Sullivan – event organiser of our partner, Greenbank Academy – said: “This event helps the development of the sport across Merseyside. It allows children who are missed out in the system to be part of a swim gala and show they too can enjoy the water.”

Tony Waymouth, of Panathlon, said: “It’s great to be on Merseyside again and attracting a range of children who don’t get this kind of experience through normal swimming pathways. It enables a range of abilities to participate and the atmosphere amongst all Boroughs supporting fellow competitors is terrific.”