North Independent Secondary School of the Year 2020 North Independent Secondary School of the Year 2021



GSAL swim team represent Yorkshire on the podium

Monday 13 December 2021

Four students from The Grammar School at Leeds (GSAL) scooped silver at the English Schools Swimming Association (ESSA) secondary schools’ team relay championships in London.

The team of Darcy, Hollie, Isobel and Eliza (pictured, left to right) won their medals in the junior girls’ 4x50m freestyle relay against a competitive national field. The students, who are in Years 7 and 8, all achieved personal best times in the final.

Alexandra Mehta, head of swimming at GSAL, says: “The team only started swimming together one month before the qualifiers. They’ve shown a lot of dedication. We are so proud that they represented Yorkshire on the podium of a prestigious national competition.”

The secondary schools’ team relay championship is the longest-running competition organised by the ESSA. It is open to secondary school aged swimmers from across England, and teams compete in 4x50m freestyle and medley relays.

The national finals were held on Saturday 20 November 2021, at the London Aquatics Centre. Country-wide qualifying rounds determined the 20 teams in each section. Only a handful of teams from the Yorkshire and North East region made the finals, with only the GSAL team winning a medal.

The girls’ squad complemented their freestyle success by also finishing in the top 5 for the medley relay. The GSAL’s junior and intermediate boy’s teams also represented Yorkshire at the event.

Simon Knowles, head of geography and a swimming coach at GSAL, says: “So much of swimming is about the individual, so to see our swimmers come together as a team and perform so well at a national level was joyous.”

Darcy, Hollie, Isobel and Eliza may be young, but all are successfully juggling schoolwork with early morning and after school training sessions. They are delighted that their hard work is showing results, especially after so many Covid-related disruptions.

Isobel says, “It’s been hard work, but it was an amazing experience to compete on such a big stage.”

Image: From left: Darcy, Hollie, Isobel and Eliza

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