Mar 21 2019
WATER WARRIORS COME OF AGE
It has been quite a year for your BCIS Water Warriors. The competitive beginning was our first ever trip to Shanghai American School for their invitational meet. While we have been to this meet before (it is a three-way host with both SAS campuses and ISB), we have never traveled to Shanghai for it.
At that meet, we had many excellent individual swims, and the overall team performance caught the attention of observers from other schools, many of whom commented about the significant progress our team had made. Water Warriors were possibly the hottest topic of conversation at the meet. Suddenly we were on the radar of the large, ultra-competitive swim programs on the China international schools meet calendar.
Of course, although the impression made was sudden, the process was something that we had been working on and developing for nearly three years since initiating our partnership with the LJ Swimming Club.
The next big splash from your Water Warriors came with our first ever top-three finish at a meet. Your Water Warriors took third, as well as the quality team award at the ISAC 10 & Under meet at ISB in November 2018. While this was a hugely pleasing result, it was just a glimpse of what was to come.
In February 2019, your Water Warriors matched up against teams from across China, as well as international squads, and in elite company again managed third place. This result was especially significant given the high level of the competition, and the personal bests by all swimmers in your Water Warriors group. Warrior swimmers had participated in this Beijing vs Asian All-Stars meet (hosted annually by ISB) before, and although we had done more than just make up numbers previously, we had never before made such an impact. Again, the meet was abuzz with talk about the emergence of BCIS Water Warriors as a serious force at this level.
Although excitement in your Water Warriors group was high as a consequence of these performances, for many of our swimmers, the annual ACAMIS Swim meet creates the greatest anticipation. This is partly to do with our history at the meet (2019 being the sixth consecutive appearance by Water Warriors), partly to do with the friendships that our swimmers develop with athletes from other participating schools and largely to do with the very high level of competition. Last year, 16 records were broken just in the 9 to 12 years section.
Again, this year the standard was breathtakingly high. Records were broken over and over – some only lasting minutes before being bettered in the next heat. Some examples: 13-14 Boys 50m Freestyle – eleven different athletes swam less than 28 seconds; the performance by one athlete in 100m Breaststroke was 3 seconds faster than any school aged athlete in Great Britain this year; The Warriors 9-10 boys 4x50m Freestyle relay team broke the existing record by almost a second to take fifth place.
At a meet of such high standard, there are always exceptional individual athletes, but no team performs well overall unless the whole team contributes. We were fortunate to hear from James Goddard (former European & Commonwealth Games swimming champion) at the closing ceremony. He emphasized that while swimming appears to be an individual sport, elite swimmers can only reach lofty heights on the shoulders of their team who lift them up and motivate them to do the necessary work to become an elite performer.
The result by your Water Warriors in placing sixth out of thirty-one teams at an event of such a high standard is a spectacular achievement and is a testament to the dedication of the whole team over several years. A very pleasing aspect of the Water Warriors venture to ACAMIS swimming this year was the wonderful family feeling among the group. With 28 swimmers and 18 parents, it was certainly our largest presence at an ACAMIS swim meet.
Our congratulations to all Water Warrior swimmers, including those who were not able to swim in Suzhou. This was indeed, a special team effort and one which will help to inspire all Warriors in pursuit of their own individual passions – sporting and otherwise.
Special thanks to our wonderful LJ Swimming Club coaches for their training and leadership. Also, a huge shout out to our fabulous parents who selflessly support their own student athletes and our whole Warriors Athletics Program. You are the grease that keeps this special wheel turning.
It is important to also recognize the continuous and ongoing support of the BCIS administration and leadership teams. We are fortunate to benefit from their unwavering understanding of the importance of sport and activity in the development of well-rounded individuals and the invaluable lessons that can be learned from involvement in opportunities such as the ACAMIS Swim Meet.
Go well – go very well indeed.