In the week that we took part in our first virtual swimming gala, we look back at swimming at Lambrook:

Last term we dived into the archives to find out about how our swimming facilities have changed over time:  

 

https://www.lambrookschool.co.uk/our-swimming-pool-is-five/

We are extremely fortunate to have several Old Lambrookian International Swimmers. We asked two who left in 2006 and 2016 about their time at Lambrook, their swimming and as well as advice for our current Swim Squads.

 

Joe Patching (2006)

 

What were the best things about being at Lambrook? 

The best thing about attending Lambrook was the chance to try out so many new and different things. Whether it was academics, sports, extra-curricular activities, or the new dish on the lunch menu, the list of opportunities was pretty endless! I particularly enjoyed flexi-boarding on the odd occasion, it really helped to build my confidence and independence!

You are a swimmer – tell us about swimming at Lambrook. What was the pool like? When did you swim?  Did you swim competitively? 

The old pool used to be in the current location of the new changing rooms. It was a small 4 lane, 15ish metre pool and was covered by what essentially was a large green house. In the cold winter months, a thick chlorinated mist used to rise from the warm pool, filling the entire room with steam and sometimes it was so dense, that you could not see end to end. Despite the challenging conditions from time to time, I fell in love for swimming at Lambrook. I competed for Lambrook all 4 years I attended, racing against other local schools and also completing at the IAPS championships. During my final year at Lambrook and after winning my first national age group medal, I realised it was something I wanted take up full time.

What else were you involved with at Lambrook? 

Sports, Sports, and Sports. From memory I was on all the teams and representing the school kept me very busy, but I also had the chance to try music (drums) and drama and all this, set in 52 acres of beautiful grounds.

What did you go on to do after Lambrook? And what are you doing at the moment? 

After Lambrook , I received a Swimming Scholarship to attend Plymouth College which enabled me to train and swim to a high level whilst achieving the academic results needed to study at an American University. After graduating University in 2017, I returned to the UK to start my professional career. I am currently a Manager at Deloitte Risk Advisory and work within Operational Risk Services. We help support our client’s risk management functions to assess and enhance their control environments, in order to meet evolving regulatory requirements and operational challenges.

Tell us about any swimming that you are doing now, if any

After I left University in the USA, I decided to concentrate on my career and so swimming had to come second. However, I am currently training for a Half Ironman scheduled to take place in 2021. A Half Iron man consists of 1.2 mile swimming, 56 mile bike, and a 13.1 mile run. Therefore, I have been trying to fit in some swimming sessions where possible!

What is your greatest swimming achievement? 

On an international stage, my greatest achievement was becoming European Junior Champion (U19) in the 200m backstroke. The feeling of listening to your national anthem on top of the podium is indescribable and something I will never forget. During my career, I was ranked amongst the top 25 swimmers in the world and went on to complete for Great Britain at multiple international competitions. Although not measured in a trophy or medal, another one of my greatest achievements was securing a scholarship to Auburn University in Alabama, USA. This allowed me to live in a new country, compete against some of the best swimmers in the world and receive a first class education.

Why is it so important for children to be swimming as much as possible? 

Swimming is a key life skill. Not everyone needs to be the next Adam Peaty but having confidence in the water makes a huge difference-even if only allowing you to enjoy the hotel pool on holiday! The fitness benefits that swimming brings are incredible and it is a sport that is not affected by the weather in the UK!

What advice would you give to young swimmers at Lambrook? 

Make the most of the world class swimming pool! The new facility really sets Lambrook apart from other schools and you should be really excited to jump in for lessons and training! If it is something you really want to pursue, talk to your local swimming club and explore what the options are in terms of sessions and membership. It is great to be part of club.

Where is the most exciting place that you have swum? 

I competed in the Olympic Trials in the London Aquatic Centre. I have also competed internationally in over 20+ countries, including South Korea, Dubai, America and Monaco.

Do you remember any of your teachers from Lambrook? 

Mr Romanes was my Year 6 form tutor. Not only was a he superb teacher, he also took an interest to show and explore new topics with us, one of which was picking a set of company stocks and on a weekly basis, to check the share price in the Financial Times. I ended up studying Finance at university,  so he must have planted a seed of interest for all things financial early.

Mrs Manley was my swimming teacher throughout my time at Lambrook. Although she had quite a terrifying voice when we misbehaved in the shallow end, she taught me everything I knew about diving, turning and not breathing in the final 5 metres. I would not have achieved half of what I have in the pool if it was not for Mrs Manley.

When I wasn’t in the pool, I was running around the school’s grounds playing “capture the flag”. Mr Liddell used to host (and still hosts) the Lambrook Summer camps, which I used to love having an extra few weeks at school with my friends!

How did Lambrook prepare you for the future? 

My time at Lambrook built my confidence and showed me the importance of team work. Lambrook gave me the tools and foundation that I needed, to achieve my goals in Secondary School and US College and today in my career.

 

Eliot Desforges (2016)

What were the best things about being at Lambrook?

The food, good friends and freedom to run around the fields.

You are a swimmer – tell us about swimming at Lambrook. What was the pool like? When did you swim?  Did you swim competitively?

When I started swimming at Lambrook, the pool was in a greenhouse type building and was only 17m. By the time I left, the new pool was finished which made a massive difference. I trained at Lambrook twice a week but also swam at Windsor and then Bracknell Swimming Club.

I came second at IAPs in 50 Fly two years in a row at Lambrook. Our team also won a medal in the Medley Relay.

What else were you involved with at Lambrook?

I loved all sport, but particularly Rugby.

What did you go on to do after Lambrook? And what are you doing at the moment?

I went to Wellington for three years as a day boy and continued to swim with Bracknell. After GCSE’s and medalling at the Summer Nationals I was awarded a Swimming Scholarship to Plymouth College where I am studying three A Levels and a DISE (Diploma in Sporting Excellence) as part of the Swim England Performance Programme.

Tell us about any swimming that you are doing now, if any

I swim a lot, currently about 8 sessions a week as well as doing 3 gym sessions and I am hoping to compete at the delayed Olympic Trials in 2021, if all goes well.

What is your greatest swimming achievement?

Winning Silver in the 50m Fly at the British Championship and winning Gold in the 100m Fly at the English Championship.

Why is it so important for children to be swimming as much as possible?

It keeps you clean! It’s also a great way to get fit and strong.

What advice would you give to young swimmers at Lambrook?

Enjoy your swimming but find time for other sports and activities too.

Where is the most exciting place that you have swum?

The London Aquatic Centre, where the 2012 Olympics were held, is a great place to race but my favourite pool is Tollcross in Glasgow which hosted the Commonwealth Games.

Do you remember any of your teachers from Lambrook?

Yes, quite a few, I can still hear Mr Liddell shouting!! Seriously, he was a really great teacher and

How did Lambrook prepare you for the future?

It helped to learn how to balance things. I have to train hard and as well as study and have time to be with my friends.  Lambrook helped me to learn how to manage my time.

 

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