Cranleigh took 12 students to the Bath Cup Swimming Championships at the London Aquatics Centre last week. This is the largest Public School event in the UK with over 100 schools competing in two specific events.  The girls compete in a 4×50 freestyle relay and a 4×50 medley relay; the boys in aDSC_0416 4×100 freestyle relay and a 4×50 medley relay.

The girls looked strong in the heats of the freestyle and were top seeds for the Aldenham Cup final. The team of Emma Grainger, Tash Gerrard, Jess Brooke and PJ Cunningham knew Lancing were going to be close on their heels in the final, but after a solid start from Emma, Tash took Cranleigh into first and Jess Brooke created space, which allowed PJ to bringDSC_0261 the team home in first place to take the gold medal and claim the Aldenham Cup championship. The second final, involved much larger schools than Cranleigh, but despite this, the time our team posted placed them in the top five overall for these championships. An outstanding achievement.

The boys’ event followed and a last minute sickness for Captain Ollie Taylor meant a quick team change, with fourth former, Joe Fulton, taking Ollie’s place in the 4×100 freestyle relay. Joe along with Rafe Scott, Tom Berry and Angus Burns produced another outstanding performance, beating the time posted last year by an exceptional Cranleigh team. The future is looking bright for this very young team.

The medley relays followed and the girls were hopeful of repeating their success of the morning. After a strong performance in the heats, PJ, Emma, Lulu Fulton and Amber Magee placed Cranleigh in 3rd for the final. Lulu and Amber made way for Jess Brooke and Tash Gerrard for the final and the quartet fought valiantly to claim second place behind a very strong team for The Leys. The girls broke the U18 School record in this event which shows just how strong this team is.

The boys took the field hoping for a place in the final and Tom Berry, Angus Burns, Max Fitzgerald and Rafe Scott worked hard in the heats to be rewarded with a place in the final where the boys produced a faster time than the heats to finish in seventh, having qualified in ninth. A great top eight finish for a team that has age on its side.

‘I’m so proud of them all. The hard work, early mornings and the dedication these swimmers have shown has finally paid off. It’s been a long road with lots of ups and downs, but I’m so happy they are reaping the benefits. I’m fortunate to have such a young team who will do so much in the coming years and we’re only going to get better as time goes on.’

Will Philpott