A Sixth Form perspective on Concord’s House Swimming Gala

The annual House Swimming Gala came around yet again on the 1st of May, a breath of fresh air in the lungs before the launch into exams, that made even the most stressed of us all invested in cheering for our ‘houses’. A barrage of people eagerly waiting at the windows, at the railings, yelling at the water as the music, and Mr Kerslake’s enthusiastic commentary, blasted through the speakers.

Just from watching them all cheering, you could tell the races were nail-bitingly exciting. The swimmers all tried their best and there were some amazing feats of athleticism displayed.

The stand-out athletes of the day were Myrtle and Will who won the awards for the best overall swimmers. However, it wasn’t just these two swimmers that rose above and beyond to represent their houses – everyone who participated from all years, Form 3 to 6.2, brought house pride and those that didn’t swim made sure to yell extra loudly in support. Even the teachers were fully invested in the competition, waving house flags, sporting house colours, their voices raised to support the swimmers.

After the competition, students and teachers alike, filed into West End for a victory feast laid out by the catering staff, and a feast it was with enough food to feed an army and ice cream despite the drizzly weather. However, there had to be a winner and this year, that honour went to Pankhurst who paraded the victory trophy with beaming smiles. Mandela took 2nd place with Teresa in a close 3rd and Gandhi in 4th. After the results had been called, the overwhelming sense of support and joy only continued to circulate. The results didn’t matter, what seemed to matter to everyone was how well their friends had done and congratulating those who participated.

A final well done to Pankhurst for grabbing the trophy this year and a big well done to everyone who turned out to compete and cheer.

Ruth – 6.1

The 1st May Swimming Gala was a much anticipated event in Concord College, another part of the highly competitive Inter-House Competition. There were many events available, from team relays to individual swimming – students enthusiastically participating in them with their friends. Competitiveness, duty to their houses and maybe even a thirst for glory pumping within their veins as they all strived for victory.

Even before the Gala begun in earnest, the pool was already packed with students and teachers alike, all cheering for their friends, classmates and housemates. Jet lag, stress and end-of-holiday exhaustion did nothing to dampen the energy of both the participants and crowd, raucous cheering resounding as records were broken and victories were won, and all the while Mr Kerslake’s running commentary kept excitement and tension levels high.

In the end, Pankhurst and Mandela wound up with the same points from the events, an unexpected and surprising twist to the proceedings. The podium went to Pankhurst as they had achieved the most victories. Teresa was third, and last but not least was Gandhi. Congratulations to all four houses for their participation and excitement, even if they did not win everything, all showed great sportsmanship and camaraderie.

Nicholas – 6.1

Dive in!

Winter is over – It’s time for one of the biggest spring-summer events in Concord, the annual Swimming Gala! Held on the 1st May, students took part and competed in the exciting event, each aiming to win as many points for their houses as possible. Being a major house event, house points earned from the Swimming Gala would give the winning house an immense edge in the overall Inter-House Competition.

On the warm Wednesday afternoon, the school’s swimming pool was bustling with staff and students. The Vice-Principal even played pop music for us to dance along to! There were so many spectators that some had to watch the event from the West End through a live broadcast – a nice touch! The swimmers looked nervous, but were extremely excited to compete against their friends in the highly anticipated event.

Starting off with the individual matches, we cheered loudly and enthusiastically as wave after wave of students from all forms dived into the pool. After the competition began, everyone commenced to cheer and encourage all the swimmers, regardless of skill or speed. After all, the event was not about winning or losing – it was about having fun and making new friends!

My favourite events, of course, were the relay races. In a relay, individual strength is not as important, instead, it’s all about teamwork! Nearing the end of the event, the cheers grew louder as the houses were neck to neck; the scores were so close that the relay results were a game changer in claiming victory.

Overall, it was a sensational event. Congratulations to Pankhurst House for winning! It was a remarkable afternoon! I look forward to seeing what next year’s Swimming Gala has in store for us.

Zevida – 6.1

The Swim Gala was a great opportunity for students of all forms to come together and compete for their houses. Personally, I find this event especially timely with the summer exams looming, as it gave students the perfect opportunity to temporarily leave their worries behind and just focus on racing their hardest or cheering their loudest for their houses.

As a spectator, it was very heart-warming to see so many people come together to put in their very best efforts and swim for their houses. It was also really nice to see so many people standing in the cold and rain to support their friends. In addition, the incredible sportsmanship displayed by all the competitors was truly praise-worthy.

I am really glad to have been able to witness such close and intense races. The relays were also particularly exciting as the swimmers were tailing so closely behind each other on many occasions and there were also a number of occasions when the ‘tables’ completely turned at the very last seconds of the race.

With exactly the same number of points, it truly was a very close battle between Pankhurst and Mandela. However, having bagged the most number of victories (a combined 8 individual and relay wins), Pankhurst ultimately took the championship trophy home. Congratulations, Pankhurst!

Michelle – 6.1

The first major sporting event of the Summer Term was held on a rainy Wednesday afternoon. Upbeat music could be heard to cheer up the competitors and was only interrupted by the staff finishing the final preparations before the race. The lifeguard team was prepared but hoping that their advanced swimming skills wouldn’t be needed on that day.

A crowd already gathered by the pool anticipating the beginning of the race and eager to support their friends and houses. Drizzle could not break the houses’ spirits as many supporters showed up wearing house-themed T-shirts…. Heads of Houses were also present – Mr Weaver and Mr Rawlinson were giving out their final advice before the race and Mr Arthur could be seen waving his huge blue flag. Mrs Canney was mentoring the future champions of the event – the Pankhurst House.

Nobody knew until the very end which house was going to win. The final race was the freestyle relay which was won by Mandela House. Despite the fact that Mandela had as many points as Pankhurst and put up a good fight, the ‘red house’ had more wins overall. “All houses had good swimmers and it was impossible to predict the final outcome” said one of the victorious Pankhurst swimmers.

We are looking forward the next major sporting event this term, Sports Day, which perhaps is the most attended event in the academic year. Moreover, I would like to congratulate Pankhurst House and all the competitors and express a special thanks to the lifeguard team and the staff who organised the event and kept us safe.

Danylo – 6.1

Four swimmers perch on the edge of the pool, crouched frames poised to dive. Their focuses uninterrupted, they aim straight down their lanes, arms and fingers outstretched, almost as if to clutch at the wall on the opposite end. Students and teachers alike watch intently, with anxious murmurs rippling like the water through the crowd. Then, for a split-second, the shrill command of a whistle slices the tension, and the swimmers launch into the water, each one’s strokes executed to outdo the others. The crowd erupts into cheers of encouragement, as the swimmers torpedo across the pool.

This is just a humble attempt to describe the excitement of the Swimming Gala this year, although no description could adequately capture the spirit and camaraderie that was demonstrated by everyone present today. The event took place on 1st May, and had swimmers from the four school ‘houses’ (Mandela, Pankhurst, Gandhi, and Teresa) competing against each other. The most impressive thing, however, was that it extended beyond the houses, with everyone in the crowd cheering on friends and strangers alike. From individual races to the relay, it was a dynamic and energetic spectacle to say the least. Mr Kerslake’s stirring commentating perfectly complemented the vibrant atmosphere.

The individual races of Backstroke, Breaststroke, and so on, divided between the Upper School and Lower School, were heated and exciting, with our aquatic gladiators almost neck and neck, giving their all to try and surpass each other. The events where I personally felt the most excitement from the crowd, however, were the relay races, where teams of swimmers fought fiercely to complete the race the fastest.

Ultimately, while the competitors from all houses swam valiantly, only one house could ultimately be victorious. However, even this proved to be exciting, as both Pankhurst and Mandela achieved exactly the same number of points! Therefore, the result was decided on victories (essentially which house had the most swimmers in first place), and Pankhurst was eventually crowned champion. As a Mandela boy myself, this was slightly disappointing, but the graciousness and sportsmanship shown by the victors, as well as all those present, was enough to have me and everyone else smiling by the end of the awards ceremony. Truly, this had been an unforgettable display of house pride and camaraderie by the students of Concord.

Luke – 6.1

“Mens sana in corpore sano” or “a healthy mind in a healthy body” – remember that your brain is part of your body and a healthy body is the first step to a healthy brain.

Following tradition, Concord’s annual Swimming Gala took place during the first week after the Easter Break. The event was a spectacle of colour and support as students and staff took a seat on the viewing platforms.

The students were so proud to show off their swimming skills and water confidence and to showcase the improvements they have made over the year so far. Our highly skilled swimmers were a delight to watch as they demonstrated excellent technique, stamina and competitive spirit. But we were also so impressed by the determination and perseverance shown by the students who are still developing their swimming. They battled to reach the end, doing their very best and never giving up. Well done to you all.

The competition was full of surprises until the end as many previous records were broken. When adding together the points and announcing the winner, it turned out that Mandela and Pankhurst had scored the same score. To avoid the draw, judges decided to choose the overall winner according to the total wins of both houses which lead to the dominance of Pankhurst house. Congratulations!

Special thanks to the organisers and our lifeguards who kept an eye on the competitors throughout the whole event to ensure their safety and well-being. Thank you to all of the swimmers and supporters who made the event really enjoyable. It was really wonderful to see how Inter-House competitions – once again – bring the whole school together.

This event will surely grow again next year with even more swimmers and spectators as we look forward to 2020. Open to all abilities, whether you are a beginner or competitive swimmer, come and have a go!

Linda – 6.1

The Summer Term’s sporting calendar at Concord opened with the Inter-House Swimming Gala, and was widely regarded as one of the most intense Inter-House competitions of the year.

The swimming talent on display was outstanding and many of the races were keenly contested. Five school records were broken this year; Will (Pankhurst) in the Sixth Form Boys Backstroke, with a time of 28.69 seconds. Myrtle recorded a time of 33.16 seconds in the Form 3 & 4 Girls Breaststroke race for Teresa. Mandela’s Ronnie, Wun, Rasim and Chatchai broke the record for the Boys Breaststroke Relay with a time of 1:26.25 minutes. Also, Mandela’s Michael, Benjamin, Paval  and Argus set a new record of Boys Freestyle Relay with a time of 1:06.66 minutes. Last but not least, the Pankhurst Mixed Medley Relay team also set a new record of with a time of 1:12.81 minutes.

Individual champion awards were presented to two students who excelled on the day. Will (Pankhurst)  won the prize for the ‘boys individual champion’ whilst Myrtle (Teresa) won the ‘girls individual champion’.

Large crowds of students, staff members and Heads of Houses gathered at the pool to cheer for competitors and support their teams in this year’s gala event. All four houses were determined to put in a strong performance in the gala. Every competitor did their best, striving for glory and outdoing themselves.

It was heart-warming to see the different values put into action by both competitors and the audience alike. Audience members were very essential in being the ‘fuel source’ of the competitors. Students cheered enthusiastically for their friends, house relay teams and even for other rival relay teams! What a show of sportsmanship!

Amidst all the loud cheering and excited chattering, swimmers kept their cool, taking deep breaths before springing into the pool, taking big strokes forward. The strong fighting spirits could be observed when some swimmers – despite lagging behind – did not give up. Instead they pressed on, and with the roaring encouragements of the house, they finished in good time, helping the house win valuable points.

Alex from Form 3 mentioned that he joined the Swimming Gala in order to help his house, Teresa, gain points for the overall House Competition, and I believe many others joined the competition not simply because they are extremely good swimmers, but because they all wanted to contribute to their respective houses too.

Later, during the prize-giving ceremony, the excited buzz was cut out by the official announcement of the results… The anticipation. Many awards were given out to the winners of the various categories. A number of prominent winners emerged, breaking records, doing a medal sweep. In the end, it was Pankhurst who were victorious, winning 8 of the 24 races, followed by Mandela, Teresa and Gandhi. However, we think that what was most commendable was the sportsmanship, the overwhelming support and the resilience shown by students.

Congratulations to all the winners and well done to all those who took part. Thank you to all the staff involved and the 6.2 lifeguards for their contribution to the success of the event.

Sam, Randall and Eunice – 6.1