Forest School hosts Team GB swimmers

For 10 days in May, the swimmers trained in the School’s pool while taking part in the European Aquatics Championships at the London Aquatics Centre.

Assistant Team Manager, Rob Wardell, said: “It’s been fantastic to use the facilities here at Forest. This is the first time the Olympic team have all been together following selection in April. Despite the meet at the championships, the swimmers are still training and being able to come here has been perfect.”

“It is close to the Aquatics Centre in Stratford and far away enough for our swimmers to train without distractions.”

The Team GB swimmers included Adam Peaty, who won gold medals in the 50m and 100m breaststroke, Francesca Halsall, who won gold for 50m backstroke, and Siobhan-Marie O-Connor who won silver in the 200m individual medley.

The swimmers, along with Chris Walker-Hebborn, also won a gold medal in the mixed 4×100 relay.

Mr Wardell singled out the School’s facilities for praise: “Forest pupils, staff and members of the local community are very lucky to have this on their doorstep. Having travelled around the country, I would suggest, with the exception of a few universities, it is a facility second to none.”

“The championships have gone really well with our swimmers coming home with golds and silvers and for them to have this resource so close has been brilliant.”

All of the swimmers will be travelling to Rio this summer where they will hope to add to their collection of gold medals. One of the younger swimmers also took their A level exam alongside Forest Sixth Formers while here.

This is not the first time Forest School has hosted Olympic athletes. During the London 2012 Games, the School served as a secret training camp for Team GB athletes in the boxing, swimming, hockey, fencing and taekwondo teams.

Sylvestrian Leisure Centre Manager, Wayne Bishop said: “We were contacted in early 2015 about being a quiet training venue for Team GB swimming following the success of our quiet camp during the London 2012 Olympics.”

“It was an honour to welcome the elite swimmers to Forest and lovely to hear the praise for the School by the swimmers and coaches.”

Speaking about what advice he has for pupils thinking about taking up competitive swimming, Assistant Team Manager, Mr Wardell said: “You’ve got to enjoy the sport, it’s a huge commitment. Our swimmers will be training at least 11 or 12 times a week with gym sessions. If you put the work in, you’ll get the results back.”