Harry Flies through the Pool

Mrs Felton writes ……. Harry qualified back in February for the IAPS National Finals having won his 25m Butterfly race at Stamford and achieving the third fastest qualifying time in the country.  This was a real achievement in itself and we were delighted that Harry would have the opportunity to travel to the London Aquatics Centre to compete against the fastest U10 boys across the UK. 

Harry worked incredibly hard in the lead up to the big event, in extra pool sessions at school and with his club, Louth Dolphins.  Harry has achieved a number of county times this year but could only enter one event for this competition so opted for fly. 

With an early start on Saturday morning, we headed to Grantham to catch the train to Kings Cross and then the high speed train across to Stratford International.  It was a great moment for Harry walking into Queen Elizabeth Park and we approached the Aquatics Centre full of excitement!  Harry was thrilled to think that he was swimming in the same lane as some of the world’s best back in 2012!  (particularly with him swimming in lane 5 due to his impressive qualifying time). 

On entering the Aquatics Centre Harry headed straight for the enormous glass window to take in the stunning sight of the 50m Olympic pool.   Following his warm up, he enjoyed watching some of the relay events and remained cool, calm and collected! As his race approached, he headed for the marshalling area where he watched the next generation of young divers training.

As an U10, Harry was the youngest he could be to compete at this event and I was so proud of the way he conducted himself and coped with his nerves.  To get onto those blocks, with a huge audience and alongside some of the best swimmers in the country really is quite something! Hearing his name and school during the announcement of the starting line-up was very special.

Harry was in the second heat for his event which turned out to be the faster of the two heats and he finished 4th.  He achieved a personal best of 17.00s which was super!  Across the heats, Harry qualified for the final with the 8th fastest time.  Following his first performance, Harry knew he had done what was required to get him into the final and he approached this race knowing he had got to the top! 

Despite being nervous, Harry took time to get back in the warm-up pool to get a feel for the water and worked through his blood flow exercises. The final was very tense from a spectator point of view so I have no idea how he was feeling!  However, Harry got on those blocks very determined to give his best.  He had a good start and his first 15m was particularly strong.  He was very much in the race and I had to rely on the electronic scoreboard to confirm his place.  On looking at this, I could immediately see that Harry had swum his heart out, smashing his personal best in a time of 16.87!  This put him in an impressive 6th place in the national final for U10 Butterfly (0.03s behind 5th place).  A huge congratulations and well done, Harry!  You did yourself and St Hugh's very proud.  What the rest of us don't see are the number of hours Harry spends training both in the pool and on land.  He has worked extremely hard and is a great example of what you can achieve as a result of hard work and dedication.

We look forward to travelling to Ponds Forge next Saturday for the English Schools Swimming Association Relay Championships. Harry will be part of this team, alongside George P, Esme M and Joseph S.  Good luck team St Hugh's!