Olympians Inspire Swimming’s Next Generation
Tuesday, 21 January 2014
Year 5 and 6 swimmers at this year’s Bolton Schools’ Swimming Championships were inspired by a visit from not one but two British Olympic medallists! Rebecca Adlington, who won gold in the 400m and 800m freestyle events in Beijing 2008 and bronze in the same two events in London 2012 joined Steve Parry, 2004 Athens 200m butterfly bronze medallist, poolside at Total Fitness Bolton to cheer on swim relay teams from local primary schools.
Becky Adlington said: “I’m delighted to be in Bolton supporting the school swimming gala at Total Fitness. The event will hopefully inspire the next generation of kids to take up the sport I love. With over half of kids in primary school now unable to swim it’s great to see such a proactive approach in Bolton."
Opening the event, Steve Parry, said: “It’s great to see so many children in the pool today, I am made up that you are all here. Swimming is a great sport but it can also save lives. Today is all about taking part and having fun.”
Rebecca and Steve spent the morning walking around the poolside, chatting to each school team and offering advice. Charlotte Hughes, an 11 year old Year 6 pupil in Bolton School Junior Girls’ School said: “It was very exciting to meet such a famous Olympian – a once in a lifetime experience. She told us that the secret to racing in swimming is to keep your flow with your strokes and not to get nervous.” Lawson Bates, aged 10 and in Year 6 at Bolton School Junior Boys’ School agreed: “It was really cool to meet Rebecca, I’ve never spoke to anyone so famous before! She told us about how she won the 800m gold medal as well as all about her exploits in I am Celebrity! She is a real inspiration to everyone here.”
Teacher at the Valley School and Old Boy of Bolton School, Mr James Orchard, said: “Today has been great for the children, they have been inspired by Olympians and it has been fantastic to compete against other schools.”
In the gala, Bolton School Junior Girls won the Freestyle Relay competition, with St James’s claiming second place and Markland Hill third. In the Mixed Relay (backstroke, breaststroke and two freestyle legs) St James’ School took first place, Bolton School Junior Girls were second and Markland Hill third. Bolton School Junior Boys were fourth in both races.
The event was sponsored by Total Fitness, Speedo and Innocent Smoothies. It was organised by Mr Chris Windsor of Bolton School as part of Bolton’s School Sports Partnership. The Year 5 and 6 Championships were hosted by Total Fitness and the Year 4 and 5 event will be hosted by Bolton School on Friday 31 January.
With four Olympic medals, Becky Adlington shares the record as Great Britain's most decorated female Olympian with rower Katherine Grainger.