SWIMMING: Princethorpe girls victorious at ISA Midlands Championships

Princethorpe's swimming team
Princethorpe's swimming team

Success earns event winners selection to national gala

Fifteen Midlands Independent Schools participated in this favourite annual sporting meet at Walsall earlier this month. With individual event winners earning automatic selection to the ISA National Gala to be held for the second time at London’s Olympic Aquatic Centre in January 2016, it was all to race for.

Sporting a predominantly female team, and many of those hard working club swimmers, College stopwatches were twitching amidst the packed spectator gallery. And it was in the breaststroke that Princethorpe was rewarded with the first of its wins.

Year 9’s Caitlin Newbold, a City of Coventry swimmer, ripped apart the competition with her two length sprint recording 52.32 secs – a blistering 4 seconds distance between her and second place. Just two events later in the Senior girls’ race Emily Smith-Williams proved that her recent move to Northampton Swimming Club has made all the difference. A dominant win in 49.97 secs left the competition literally trailing in her wake.

Princethorpe had to wait until event 37 to witness another individual first. This time Year 7’s Lucia McKosker-New, incentivised by having been pipped into second on the fly, used lane six as an aquatic runway with her firing on all cylinders. The Leamington swimmer’s emphatic first place was a masterclass in front crawl technique bringing her to the wall in 20.75 secs.

Two wins in the Year 9/10 and Senior Girls medley relays caused explosive spectator cheers for swimmers: Caitlin Newbold, Mollie Dibb, Cerys Allen, Freya Barnett, Emily Smith-Williams, Grace Webber, Sophie Hutchinson and Beth Taylor taking the total first place tally to five.

So many Princethorpe swimmers just missed out on automatic qualification with second places awarded to: Smith-Williams and Jack Dennis in the Individual Medley, Luke Palmer, Stan Brocklebank and will Dunderdale in the backstroke, McKosker-New, Toby Rigg, Mollie Dibb, Sophie Hutchinson and Jack Dennis in the fly, Lauren Mason in the breast and Will Dunderdale in the freestyle. A clutch of third places went to Dibb in the I.M, Rigg in the breast, Cerys Allen in the back and Grace Webber, Freya Barnett and Charlie Bracken in the free.

The final event of the afternoon was the freestyle qualifier with faster swimmers vying for coveted National places in the regional relay teams. Certain qualifiers to date are Mollie Dibb and Jack Dennis with confirmation yet to be received on Emily Smith-Williams, Toby Rigg and Stan Brocklebank.

The gala drew to its close with the sparkling news that Princethorpe’s senior Girls had come 1st with the boys’ team in second. But the loudest cheer of all erupted at the fire cracking news that Princethorpe College’s Girls Team had blown 14 schools out of the water to be crowned overall Midlands Champions.

Head of Girls’ Games Louise Harrison said: “We had a great day. Princethorpe has shown what a force they are in the water. New additions to the team from Year 7 up have increased the depth of talent we have in this sport. Here’s to 2016 and the Nationals where we have a tradition of achieving highly against the rest of the country.”