Youngsters from primary schools in the Ilkeston area made a big splash at two swimming galas organised by the Erewash School Sport Partnership.
More than 100 youngsters competed in a variety of races at the events, which took place at Victoria Park Leisure Centre in Ilkeston and West Park Leisure Centre, Long Eaton.
Schools represented at Victoria Park included Hallam Fields Junior, Granby Junior, St Thomas, Chaucer Junior, Scargill Primary, Kensington Junior, Cotmanhay Junior, Stanley St Andrew’s and Mapperley Primary.
There were 40 races which saw girls and boys competing as individuals in front crawl, backstroke, breaststroke and butterfly and as part of a team in relay contests.
The small-school winners were Stanley St Andrew’s and the overall winners were St Thomas, while fair play awards were presented to Mapperley Primary and Hallam Fields Junior School.
Donna Henshaw, a teaching assistant at Cotmanhay Junior School, said she was proud of her pupils. “I took eight of our children from years four to six,” she commented. “They were all really excited. Some of them aren’t members of clubs, so this was the first time they have had this experience. They really
enjoyed it and gave it their best.
“It also helped to boost their confidence. Hopefully, it will inspire them to improve as they get older.”
Nine-year-old Faith Bussell, who helped Mapperley Primary School to win one of the fair play awards, said: “I smiled the whole way when I was swimming my races because I could hear all of my friends cheering me on. I enjoyed taking part as I like learning new skills.”
The six schools who took part at West Park Leisure Centre were Shardlow, Ockbrook, Dovedale, Longmoor, Cloudside and Ashbrook, along with 15 young leaders from Wilsthorpe School who helped to run the event.
Ockbrook School were the overall winners, while Shardlow Primary came second and won the small-schools’ trophy. Ashbrook Junior took the fair play award.
Shardlow teacher Sarah Wilkinson said: “It was another great event, thoroughly enjoyed by all. There were some great individual performances too. I hope the event continues to be such a success every year.”
Rhian Lilley, Erewash School Sport Partnership’s development manager, said: “The atmosphere at the galas was amazing, and everyone who took part was absolutely brilliant. The standard of swimming was very high. I’d like to thank to all the teachers.”