Every year the PE department takes our enthusiastic swimmers to a much enjoyable night swimming gala held at Bishop Mackenzie School in Lilongwe. This has always been a really fun gala, with a packed seating arena, alongside the floodlit pool offering that extra little adrenalin surge to our competitive swimmers. Although there are individual awards that our better swimmers strive to win unfortunately we have never had a chance at winning the gala due to the primary school races, which we never enter. However, this year to Bishop Mackenzie’s credit, they decided to level the playing field by not counting the U10 races meaning that SAIntS for the first time had a chance at winning. This gave the swimming gala a whole new competitive edge for our students who had very little rest bite from getting off the bus as Biko and Ammara were having them chanting various different calls at every opportunity to try and encourage our swimmers to swim that much quicker!
As the gala progressed through the night, the intensity and excitement grew! This was especially the case when we heard that SAIntS were currently tied with Bishop’s at the top of the leader’s board. All was to swim for!! All of our students worked very hard throughout the night at their various events. But who was going to be taking the trophy away came down to the relay races at the end of the night. The suspense grew!
The juniors showed great dedication and huge commitment to every race and managed to keep SAIntS in with a shout at victory by slender reaches for second places! The intermediate boys grabbed us a narrow first spot after some exceptional swims for Caleb Neilson and Nate Banda. The intermediate girls followed with a big effort gaining second place! We knew that it all came down to the last two races; the senior boys and girls 50m freestyle relay. Mrs Gaunt, the team leader was very confident that the boys would finish in first spot, as was I with swimmers such as Bradley Ferguson, Biko Bourgeois, Constantinos Yiannakis and Michael Swift in the team. Sure enough they destroyed the rest of the field, winning by a comfortable 20 metres. However, the girls were never going to get it as easy as both Bishops and ABC were very strong. We required at least second place for overall victory. All four swimmers; Ammara Pinto, Paschwa Benbow, Joanne Ferguson and Kamilah Bramsden were superb throughout the night but they now knew that the pressure was really on! The race was underway and Paschwa and Kamilah did very well to keep us up with both the other teams. Joanne put a superb swim in to get Ammara just behind the Bishop swimmer in third place. Just as Ammara set off the SAIntS staff and students were on their feet cheering (I’m not sure if Mr Stubbs will have his voice back in time for teaching on Monday!!), hoping that Ammara could just sneak second spot. Sure enough with a tremendous last ditch effort she came through and the SAIntS team was for the first time in a while victorious at the Bishop night Gala.