West Park team make history at championships
HISTORY was made at the weekend as a team of West Park School boys won the English Schools’ Swimming Association National Primary Schools’ Championship finals.
The team won silver medals in both the medley relay finals and the freestyle relay finals at Ponds Forge, in Sheffield, to secure the highest overall points and the Championship Cup.
This is the first time in the 20-year history of the competition that a Worthing school has been represented and the first time that any state school has won the cup.
Two of the four swimmers, Ollie Hodges, ten and William LeMerle, 11, swim with Littlehampton Swimming Club and the other two, Calvin Fry, nine, and Arian Helgi Taherzadeh, ten, train with Shiverers Swimming Club.
It was a close race with 24 top teams from across the country competing in each of the relays. The West Park team missed out on gold in the medley by only 36 hundredths of a second.
They were the only team to win a medal in both events and have proudly brought the cup back to West Park School.
Arian’s mother, Johanna, said: “The boys’ performance and their significant achievement in Sheffield this weekend comes down to the quality of the training they receive at their clubs and the dedication the boys and their coaches show to the sport.
“It is a reflection of the standard of swimming in Sussex and what children can achieve training with local sports clubs.”
A few months ago, the four boys formed a team and competed on behalf of West Park School at Splashpoint, in the Worthing inter-schools gala. Their success inspired PE teacher Mark Duarte to enter them into the ESSA competition.
Worthing mayor Vic Walker, who attended the team’s last training session before the finals, said: “It was a great privilege and a moment of pride to meet the four swimmers. They are a credit to their school, their parents and to our town. Congratulations to them on winning the ESSA Championship in Sheffield.”