Gulf swimmers went above expectations in last week’s World School Swim Championships in London, with many leaving with performances they can be immensely proud of.
Six Schools from around the Middle East took part in the two-day swimming competition on the international stage at the state-of-the art London Aquatics Centre.
35 schools from 11 countries (including three continents) made the trip to the home of the 2012 London Olympics at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.
Before the fun began in the pool, a special guest joined the students last Friday to provide a motivational story of her successful swimming career. Former Team GB breaststroke competitor and two-time Olympian Molly Renshaw spoke with the young Middle East swimmers about her experiences as a young athlete on the world stage.
At the age of just 14 Molly made her debut at the World Championships – with many students of a similar age in the room her knowledge and tips were invaluable ahead of the competition kicking off.
After discussing her Olympic journey, youngsters were able to ask Molly questions and, of course, obtain autographs and take pictures!
The following day the main event sprung into action, as each school took to the competition pool for the first time with 50m events and relays taking centre stage across the four age categories on Day 1.
In addition to the individual medals up for grabs, every school looked to gain points from each event to contribute to the age category World School Swim Championships team competitions. There were prizes for the winning boys and girls teams in the U11, U13, U15 & Open age categories with four overall age group winners also set to be crowned at the end of proceedings.
DIVING INTO MEDALS
One particular school that went the distance in the pool was AIS – Riyadh of Saudi Arabia. Through a tremendous display of hard work, this school finished second in the Boys Open 4x50m Freestyle Relay race, with an impressive time of 1:53:33.
A member of the previously mentioned AIS – Riyadh relay team, Jack, explained just what an incredible opportunity it was to swim in the same pool as 2012 London Olympians.
“It’s a pretty rare chance you get to swim in an Olympic pool. There’s not many swim events like this…swimming in the same pool as where people I’ve watched in the Olympics win medals feels surreal, it’s a pretty crazy experience.”
The colours blue and white, representing JESS Dubai, stood tall on the podium when everything was said and done. JESS had absolutely strong performances as the school took home four World School Swim Championship titles between the U13 and U15 categories.
JESS Girls Swimming captain Tara explained what the secret ingredient was to their overall success while in London.
“Eating well, especially before your race, a good mindset, and making sure you have a lot of energy and not too tired (lead to winning races).”
Many in attendance praised how electrifying the atmosphere was at the London Aquatics Centre, including Dubai American Academy swimmer, Marcos. He would go on to say, “I’m enjoying my time, it’s very fun to doing all of the events, swimming with other people, and seeing how I can improve.”
Safa Community School from the UAE was diving into the swimming festivities as well. The school’s dedication to the water would pay off in remarkable fashion. U13 swimmers from Safa’s stood tall on the podium as they earned silver overall in the age category.
Both GEMS Wellington and GEMS World Academy had incredible moments at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. The former led the way by finishing bronze and silver in the U11 and U13 overall categories.
For further information on the official World School Swim Championships results, please view here.
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You can hold on to your favourite memories of this year’s event by purchasing photos here.
We are proud to be an official partner of the both the World School Games Event Series, which hosts The World School Swim Championshships.
And don’t forget, The World School Swim Championships is just one of six events throughout the year the World School Games Event Series puts on. If you’d like to find out more about our multisport, netball, football and basketball events please see here.
Lastly, well done to everyone involved in The World School Swim Championships 2023! We look forward to having everyone back next year!