The London Aquatics Centre, a 2012 Olympic venue, played host to the annual Bath Cup Swimming Championships last Friday and 12 of Cranleigh’s finest swimmers competed in this biggest swimming event of the year. All 12 members of the squad, led by captains Tom Berry and PJ Cunningham, took part on the team’s training camp in October in preparation for this event.
The morning session saw the Freestyle Relays being contested with the girls going first. PJ, along with Lotty Cunningham, Lulu Fulton and Emma Grainger swam a strong heat to find themselves seeded third for the final, behind City of London Freemans and Culford, both of whom have very strong club swimmers amongst their team. They went on to claim the bronze medal and a new school record by just over half a second. The boys had the same line up that swam last year (Rafe Scott, Joe Fulton, Tom Berry and Angus Burns) who were looking to improve on the 4:16:00 and 16th in 2015. And improve they did, swimming 4:04:39 in the heat and 4:01:78 in the final, just off the all-time school record of 4:00:77 set in 1995. The boys came 5th in that final just getting out touched by Eastbourne.
The afternoon saw the Medley Relay events being contested and a change in personnel saw the team of PJ Cunningham, Annie Norton, Lulu Fulton and Emma Grainger seeded second for the final after breaking the school record by just under 2 seconds. Every member of the team swam faster in the final and after a nail-biting final leg, where Emma had to fight to the death, she passed her opponent in the final 2 meters to hold on to the silver medal. The team broke the school record again by a further 1 ½ seconds and 3 of the team swam lifetime best times in that race.
Using that as motivation, the boys were desperate to get on the podium and they knew a big swim was needed by all. The team of Tom Berry, Matt Ludlow, Max FitzGerald and Angus Burns swam a great heat to seed themselves 3rd for the final with a time of 2:01:58, again just off the all-time record of 2:00:61. The final saw Cranleigh, Bradfield and Eastbourne all fighting for a podium spot behind Hampton; after a photo finish, Cranleigh claimed 3rd place in a time of 1:59:99, with a 21 year old school record finally broken and the first podium finish for the boys in 16 years. The difference between 2nd and 4th was less than 0.20 seconds making this the race of the day.
Head of Swimming, Will Philpot, commented: ‘Everyone stepped up today; most of the team swam lifetime best times and 3 out of the 4 all-time school records were broken, showing just how fast this team is. We were the only team at the event to have representatives in all 4 finals and the only team to get on the podium 3 times out of 4, proving just how strong the swim team is as a whole.’
Head of Swimming