A team of open water swimmers from Taunton School have been chosen to take part in the inaugural Henley Classic Schools’ Open Water Swimming Cup, which takes place on the course of the legendary Henley Royal Regatta.
Eight pupils from the senior school (most aged just fourteen), along with several members of staff and some parents, will be swimming the challenging upstream 2.1km ‘Performance Wave’ class of the Henley Swim at dawn on Sunday 25th June. Ollie Halliday, Skyla Coate, Jonny Cole, Georgia Williams, Emily Lawton, Emma Hounslow, Ollie James and Millie Tyler have been rigorously training over the past few months, giving up much of their free time in preparation for the big event.
Just two other schools are taking part in this national event, and the Taunton School team will be put through their paces as they are up against Radley College in Oxfordshire and Churcher’s College in the South Downs. The times of the fastest four swimmers from each school will be recorded, and the school with the fastest combined time will be declared the winner and awarded the School’s Cup.
Teacher Hamish McCarthy is leading the school team and commented: “For Taunton School to be invited to be part of the very first school event on this world-famous course was a great privilege. Our team motto is to ‘train hard, swim easy’ and I am so proud of the incredible commitment and determination of all of our swimmers.”
For the last few years, the Henley Classic has hosted the Varsity Open Water Swimming Championship, where Oxford and Cambridge battle it out to be crowned Varsity winners. To build on this, Henley Swim have this year decided to introduce a Schools’ Open Water Swimming Cup. The event is described as a “truly unique experience” and hundreds of swimmers taking part are led by a torch bearer to the start, and enter the water just as the sun is rising.
Five of the eight students taking part also did the Channel Swim last September, which saw seven prep school pupils swimming the English Channel for charity in an amazing feat of bravery and endurance.