On Friday 9th March, 12 of Cranleigh’s top swimmers took part in the Bath Cup and Otter Medley event at the London Aquatics Centre. The 2012 Olympic swimming venue provided the team with inspiration and motivation ahead of the biggest swimming event of the school year. The team had a rough run up to the Bath Cup due to the school swimming pool undergoing repairs that took it out of action for two months, but in spite of this the team were in very high spirits and maintained positive attitudes.
The girls 4x50m Freestyle Relay was first and the team of PJ Cunningham, Tash Gerrard, Fabi Kohler, and Lotty Cunningham swam a fast heat to place the team 3rd into the final behind very strong opposition in the forms of St. John’s and Trinity. Tash Gerrard was replaced by Emma Grainger for the final and the team swam two seconds faster than the heats to claim the silver medal.
The boys 4x100m Freestyle Relay followed and with very fast swimming from all the schools in attendance. Joe Fulton, Max St. John, George Gosling, and Henry Macpherson swam a strong heat with Henry being the only member of the team to go under the 60 second barrier. The boys qualified 7th into the final and were relived to even make it that far. Experienced Bath Cup swimmer Rafe Scott came in for Max St John and the team looked to improve on their performance in the heats. With Joe improving his time from the heats, Rafe dropping significant time and both George and Henry dipping under the 60 second barrier, the boys moved up to 4th position, and in the process broke a 23 year old school record with a time of 4:00:45.
The afternoon brought the medley relays and the girls were the first team up for Cranleigh. PJ Cunningham, Annie Norton, Lotty Cunningham and Tash Gerrard swam a strong heat to place Cranleigh in a comfortable 2nd seed for the final. Tash once again stepped out for Emma Grainger and the team dropped three seconds from the heats, claiming another Silver medal. Emma produced a lifetime best swim with a 27:93 for the 50m freestyle at the Bath Cup. The boys followed with their medley relay and Rafe, George, Henry and Joe had a tough heat and were waiting with bated breath to see if they had made it into the final. The boys made it through in 9th place and were elated. They held their positon for the final but finished the race with optimism; with only Rafe leaving the school in the summer, the rest of the boys’ team will return at next year’s event.
When you look at the circumstances we faced coming into this year’s event, it was probably the worst preparation for a national event a team could have. The team spirit and previous years of hard work paid dividends and they swam way above my expectations. Emma, PJ, Tash, and Rafe have all been training with me and been part of the Bath Cup for the last five years and have finished on the highest note that both they and I could have hoped for.