Three outstanding swimmers, from Richmond School and Sixth Form College, took part in the prestigious Welsh Nationals, ranking them among the best swimmers in the north. The dedicated trio, Aaron Wharton, Daniel Cutter and Georgia Hadley, who are all 15 and in Year 11, are now setting their sights on the English Nationals.
Balancing their studies with early wake-up calls and gruelling training, the students are dedicated to their weekly 17-hour training programme, of which three hours are dry land and fourteen hours in the pool. This involves seven sessions per week of three mornings and four evenings, with only a Sunday off. They are all valued members of the Richmond Dales AS Club.
Qualifying for the first time for the Welsh Nationals, Aaron swam in five events, making two finals and reserve for another final. He came away with the bronze medal for the boys’ 16-year-old 200m butterfly. A relatively-late starter to the swimming competition arena, Aaron only joined Richmond Dales AS Club in 2014 but has quickly shown his prowess. This is down to his commitment to the sport, he even goes back to the pool on a Sunday evening as a volunteer to assist one of the coaches. Aaron is currently training very hard as his next big goal is to qualify for the English Nationals, and he is hoping to pursue a career in swimming and compete in the commonwealth games.
Aaron said: " I find swimming really enjoyable and love to go every time, I love completing the training each session and seeing the results at galas. I have made some great friends at the club and it’s great to share the highs together and we support each other through the lows. It can be very tiring, some days, but so worth it when you achieve the big milestones. “
Georgia also brought back a bronze medal from the Welsh Nationals for the 200m backstroke. She has been swimming competitively since she joined Richmond Dales seven years ago. In addition, Georgia competes once a month for a full weekend, at events all over the country. Georgia will be competing in the North-East regionals in November and her aspirations for this season are to qualify for the British and English championships, having narrowly missed out in the last English nationals.
Daniel reached the finals of two events at the Welsh Nationals. He competed in the 1500m, with a 5th place and personal best as well as the 400m freestyle, missing out on third place by just 0.3 seconds, with another personal best. Daniel has been competing with Richmond Dales since he was nine years old, initially to improve his swimming in triathlon, then just swimming. His favourite stroke is freestyle, the distances from 200m up. He has been qualifying for counties and regional championships since he was ten years old and is looking forward to the next regional event in November.
Jenna Potter, Headteacher at Richmond School, commented:"We are immensely proud of Aaron, Georgia and Daniel who are excelling at swimming and showing great resilience in their approach to training, they simply never give up. They put in a huge amount of time before and after school and are doing so well to manage this without compromising on their studies."