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Islington’s Year 5 and 6 Swimming Gala has run for many years, and this time the younger kids got to experience the thrill too. 12 schools took their best swimmers from Year 3 and 4 to the two qualifying events at Cally Pool and Gym. From the 12 entrants in each race, the top 5 would qualify for the finals where every position mattered. The finals, hosted at Ironmonger Row Baths, saw 180 swimmers from across the borough compete whilst being cheered on by 150 loud supporters. It was an amazing occasion for these young people to showcase their talents, and thanks to the Islington Council, everyone in the finals got a well deserved medal.

On the evening there were points awarded for places and it was not a surprise to see two of the most competitive primary schools battle it out. In the end, Thornhill coached by Michelle from Anaconda Swimming Club pipped Carl’s Canonbury side by 4 points, 365 to 361. There was a three way tussle for third place with Grafton emerging with the team bronze medals. For the full table click on the photo of the winners. Each school should be proud of their achievements. By attending the qualifiers they were given the opportunity for their students to express their swimming prowess.

It is important to remember the bigger picture at these swimming events as across the United Kingdom it is reported that 1/3rd of 11 years olds cannot swim 25 meters unaided, despite it being a compulsory part of the national curriculum. In Islington, the majority of primary schools take up Better’s swimming offer which is pleasing in our efforts to help improve swim proficiency. This academic year we have added to our programme by including the option of ‘intensive’ lessons which is a lesson every day for two weeks rather than spread out across the term. Furthermore, in the summer holidays we offer up to 2 weeks of free swimming lessons, so keep an eye on that information.