Swimmers head to national finals

Shannon Campbell, Lauren Goddard, Eleanor Donald, Rachel Bate, Erin Hesketh and Catherine Ross are heading for the finals of the English Schools Swimming Championships.
Shannon Campbell, Lauren Goddard, Eleanor Donald, Rachel Bate, Erin Hesketh and Catherine Ross are heading for the finals of the English Schools Swimming Championships.

SWIMMERS from Priestley College have qualified for national finals where they will be competing in the Olympic pool.

Shannon Campbell, Lauren Goddard, Eleanor Donald, Rachel Bate, Erin Hesketh and Catherine Ross will compete in the medley and freestyle team events at the London Aquatic Centre on November 19.

They are the only team from the North who qualified in the top 25 of the English Schools Swimming Championships.

“It’s a phenomenal achievement,” said Priestley’s Head of Sport Nigel Howells. “Some of these girls are training 10 times a week, they get up at 4.30am and train before a full day at college. They are definitely national standard swimmers.”

Priestley’s squad of six will compete in two finals with Catherine and Shannon racing in both the medley and freestyle events.

They qualified at the regional finals held at Everton Park where they became North West champions in both the medley and freestyle team competitions.

Their performances have placed them ahead of the likes of Altrincham Grammar School for Girls and Queens School for Girls in Chester.

Nigel said swimming success was now embedded at Priestley thanks to past achievements and ongoing links with Warrington Warriors Swimming Club.

“We have strong links with the swimming club who have excellent coaches,” he said. “The tutors here give up their time to make sure our students have the chance to compete at a national level and that helps them as well.”

Two years ago Priestley finished seventh in the national finals behind some of the country’s strongest swimming academies.

Last year the college’s students made up 80% of the North West team competing at the AoC National finals in Newcastle and came home with the Silver Medals in both the male and female events.

“We’re hoping to continue that successful streak in 2016 and beyond,” said Nigel.

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