Swimming: Bede’s Pupils Qualify for the Swim England Nationals


Congratulations to Upper Fifth pupils Tom Exall, Tom Barden and Milly Widdop for their successes at Swim England South East Regionals.

Tom Exall (pictured below) swam in two events: the 50m front crawl and 100m front crawl. Tom says, “I achieved a time of 24.69 in the 50m front crawl, which is only 0.2 of my personal best and 0.05 off my seasonal best (which I accomplished in Glasgow for the British Championship). In the 100m front crawl, I achieved a time of 53.89, which has qualified me for the Men's Open Final ranked seventh going in – and officially makes me ranked seventh in the region in this event at the age of 16.”


Thanks to his performances at the Regionals, Tom has comfortably qualified for the English Nationals in both events. “I won in the 16-year age group last year, and am aiming for similar success in the 17-year age group this year,” he says. Tom is also Captain of the Sussex National County Team.

Tom Barden (pictured top) competed in seven events at the Regionals: the 50m, 100m and 200m backstroke; 50m and 200m butterfly; 400m IM and 50m freestyle. Tom says, “I won the Bronze in the 400m IM, which I’m really pleased with.” In December, Tom took part in his first championship competition, competing in the 200m backstroke and 400m IM heats at the Swim England National Winter Championships short course in Sheffield. He is also on the qualifying list for the Nationals in the summer.

Milly (pictured top) competed in the 50m breaststroke in this month’s Regionals, winning her heat and finishing in the top 15 overall. She also competed in the Counties competition in Crawley in February, coming second place in the 100m breaststroke and finishing fourth in the open age group. Milly says, “I took part in my first camp at 8 years old and have competed in the Nationals twice (at ages 13 and 14) – a real Nationals highlight was becoming a finalist and finishing seventh in the 100 breaststroke.”

Tom, Tom and Milly also compete for Hailsham Swim Club, and dedicate early-morning and activity sessions to training in the pool, as well as specialist strength and conditioning training, at Bede’s.

Mr David Byrne, Director of Sport at Bede’s, comments, “Tom, Tom and Milly show a huge amount of dedication to swimming and their successes are a true testament to the hours they put in; it is not unusual to see them all in the school pool at 5am for a training session before lessons begin at 8.30am. It is fantastic to see that all of their hard work is paying off. We wish them the best of luck in their GCSE exams and upcoming championship tournaments, and have no doubt that they will achieve great things over the summer season and beyond.”

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