Water, (H20), is a very strange substance. It is our major life source yet most do not delight in the taste. We wash in it, we play with it, float on it, swim in it and are incessantly reminded to drink it to remain “hydrated”. In the EIC, this list is expanded by a further one. We also RACE in it. A lot!
I suppose “two parts by heart and one, even more so, by obsession..” Due to the unique relationship in this school with H20, a sizeable chunk of August and most of September is lost in an aquatic swirling, splashing, blur. I am incredibly fortunate to work with an impressive group of young people who share an obsession with this most versatile and mercurial of substances and forego real normality in their lessons as they commence the Autumn term.
Holiday swim training, before school and after school slots and an oversubscribed trip (49) to 2320m above sea level, in most cases would lead to a quick divorce in this relationship, however, in our little school it only seems to add to the love affair. The trials of high altitude place the swimming athlete in a constant state of duress due to a mildly uncomfortable starvation in oxygen supply. I cannot scientifically assert that there are real physiological changes in our young swimming bodies over our 3 day excursion; what is quite clear, is that on our return to sea level, EIC swimmers experience a marked improvement. A buffet in oxygen supply, a now “tiny” 25m pool, combines to see previous P.B.s slashed by 4,5 and even 6 seconds! The mind is responsible for so much in terms of sporting performance and I am sure it is the major component in powering our team with such prowess on their return.
As the backstrokers took off it was clear that Kate, Alec, Katya and Elliot amongst others were determined to get under the finishing flags first! Their starts, turns and finishes were a testament to their hours of practice, with each athlete fully deserving their gold medal. Amaelia, Caitlin, Adam and Daniel produced four straight victories in breaststroke with gliding aplomb. Amelia setting a new Year 7 record and Mario Yr 10, sadly, being pushed out by the finest of 0.01 margins! Next it was Varvara, Richie, Daniella, Holly and Javier who set fire to the pool, blazing their way to gold freestyle medals. This was followed by the most challenging of all strokes.
Despite the benign nature of the name, “butterfly” remains the most technically and physically demanding of the 4 swimming disciplines. However, we are fortunate to have a surplus of talent in this area with Nick, Maxim and Noe all setting new school records as each flew home in 1st place. Furthermore, Claudia, Julie, Luibava and Charlie all consolidated with golds won via effortless style and well refined technique. To make something so difficult look so naturally proficient is a sign of real mastery and I congratulate each and every swimmer who even attempts this stroke, let alone those who are able to claim gold medals under race pressure!
Reflecting on the day, as I am sure those who witnessed first hand will attest, despite the skew of the overall results table, this was one of the most fiercely fought contests in years. Numerous races were only won on the turn or in the last few strokes. Indeed, I must thank and congratulate Swans, Sotogrande and Alboran for providing such a fantastic and competitive field. It is only through the relentless pursuit from our rivals that team EIC continues to seek further advancement. As proof of this, one of the oldest records of 57.1 seconds (2010) fell this year in the freestyle relay (Year 10 Boys). Alboran claimed the title in an unprecedented 55.46, however in so doing, our EIC boys slipped home in 56.8. Two outstanding teams both thriving off each other. The very premise of competition; heart feeding obsession and an obsession that keeps motivating the heart!
What makes our achievements in competitive swimming so remarkable at EIC is the time frame. Unfortunately, as love affairs too often unravel, EIC can only really have a fleeting “warm weather romance” with the pool. While we are forced to turn our attention to other sports in Autumn and Spring, our rivals have the luxury of training indoors throughout the year. Moreover, when further analysed against the size of visiting schools, the achievements of our students are simply off the scale!
My indebted thanks to all EIC swimming ¨families ? and the school for their unequivocal support in our build up to such a rewarding day. Huge thanks to Mr Alex, Mr Will, Miss Lynsay and our specialist Sixth Form coach Miss McCafferty! Your dedication is outstanding and a thoroughly deserved congratulations to everyone involved with TEAM EIC. I hope, like all former romances and obsessions, you take with you many positive memories of the experience and a medal or two incase any finer details are forgotten. The 17 new records established will last longer than any Summer fling I would hope!
See you all at the Triathlon! Tuesday 8th