Clifton students show off their best stroke with swimming success

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Youngsters from Clifton CE Primary School, part of the RDSSP, are celebrating after coming in tenth and eighth in a national swimming competition, making their Head Teacher “so very proud.”

The school team, made up of Eddie Archer, Zizi Peck, Patrick Welsh and Alex Holt, came second in the Small Schools Sections of the English Schools’ Swimming Association Relay Championships in Lincolnshire earlier this year to qualify for the association’s 21st annual Primary Schools’ Team Championships, representing the East Midlands Division in both freestyle and mixed stroke relays.

24 teams qualified for the Team Championships in each category and in the Small School’s section there were just five state schools. The big event took place at Ponds Forge International Sports Centre in Sheffield on Saturday 20 June.

Youngsters took part in the mixed stroke relay with Eddie swimming backstroke; team captain, Alex, swimming breaststroke and Zizi and Patrick taking on front crawl, achieving a time of 1:10.78 (more than 5 seconds quicker than their previous best time from the regional competition). They came 8th in the overall final.

In the freestyle relay (with team captain, Zizi), they achieved a time of 1:05.76 (1 second faster than their regional time), coming 10th overall.

Head Teacher, Heidi Daughtry said: “What a fantastic day- our team really ‘swam their socks off’! I am so proud of their achievements- 8th and 10th in the country is tremendous for a small rural school and I am so very proud of them all.”

“The children benefitted from some additional training sessions at lunchtimes with Ashbourne Swimming Club Coach, Daf Bouchier and we would all like to thank her for her valuable input. Thanks also go to Andy at Ashbourne Swimming Pool for the extra work he has done with the children during our weekly swimming sessions, parents and families who have supported our swimmers and of course the children themselves for their hard work and enthusiasm.”

RDSSP Manager, Janice Price, who’s been a volunteer coach at Ashbourne and District Swimming Club for 15 years, commented: “It is inspiring to hear that such a small, rural school is celebrating such fantastic sporting success – the four youngsters really did an incredible job in Sheffield and I was so delighted to hear the news. I wish them every success for the future in their swimming careers and the RDSSP will be here to support them.” 

Year Six spectator, Alex Fryer commented: “The atmosphere of Ponds Forge was absolutely amazing. The team did so well, considering we must have been the smallest school there, coming 8th in the mixed stroke overall and 10th in the front crawl relay.”

The youngsters have also been celebrating after raising more than £600 for Christian Aid with activities including a sponsored swim.

Zizi wrote a letter to the charity recently and explained: “29 pupils swam 22 miles which is 35km and 35,125 meters! Five of us swam one mile or more. Jonny Cantellow swam 64 lengths, I swam 72 lengths, Eddie Archer did 92 and Alex Holt and Patrick Welsh completed an amazing 100 lengths each.

“We also did a charity bake sale (which Freya Etherington organised) and sold cakes and cupcakes. Loads of parents came and we managed to raise a lot of money.”

“We had an assembly for the school and parents and told them all about Christian Aid and our sponsored swim and had a collection box at the end. We aimed to raise £150 but altogether we managed to raise £680 which is enough to buy four cows for Christian Aid!”