Pupils from Toot Hill School in Bingham have qualified for a prestigious national schools swimming event taking place in London on Saturday.
The National Finals – run by the English Schools’ Swimming Association (ESSA) – are being held at the London Aquatic Centre on the Olympic Park – the venue for swimming at the 2012 Olympic Games.
The four students – Oscar Ferrar, Lewis Hare, William Newham and Ben Roberts – are in years seven and eight at Toot Hill, which is part of the Nova Education Trust.
Oscar said: “The chance to swim with my friends at the Olympic pool is amazing and I am very happy to be representing Toot Hill. I compete in many swimming galas but this is a huge step.”
Lewis added: “I’m so excited to have the opportunity to swim for the school. It’s the biggest race I have ever done and it takes my swimming to a whole new level.”
It’s the 63rd year of the event which sees hundreds of schools participate in qualifying in a bid to reach the national final. The four pupils will get to swim in the same pool as some of the sport’s greatest-ever swimmers who participated at London 2012, such as Michael Phelps, Ryan Lochte, Missy Franklin and Nottingham’s two-time gold medallist Rebecca Adlington.
William said: “I was very excited when I got told I was doing the time trial and would go to London if we swam fast enough. I wouldn’t have got this chance at primary school and it’s good that I can represent my new school when I haven’t been there very long. I’m excited to get to stay in a hotel.”
Ben added: “I’m proud to be representing the school at the finals in London. I already swim for my local swim club at county level, so it’s nice to be able to now swim for my school too at such a big event.”
Amelia Hall, Head of the PE Department at Toot Hill, said: “We are extremely proud of Oscar, Lewis, Ben and William. The competition was extremely high with 140 schools entering the competition from around the country.
“Toot Hill’s qualifying time placed them as one of the fastest 20 teams in the country. The boys work extremely hard within their local swimming clubs, training early mornings and multiple evenings to ensure they continually improve their swimming performance, as well as balancing school work.
“Their hard work will be rewarded as they will be provided a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to compete at the iconic London Aquatic Centre at the Olympic Park. We wish the team the best of luck.”