A flurry of goggles, shorts, caps, briefs and sporting two-piece swimsuits signalled the start of the borough’s primary schools’ swimming gala.
All eight lanes at Fulham Pools were a blur of splashy action in one of the most competitive events anyone could recall as the young swimmers of Hammersmith & Fulham went head to head.
As the puffed youngsters hauled themselves out after the first event – a two-length freestyle race – Greenside were leading the boys’ table, and Good Shepherd the girls’.
After the Year 5 and under boys’ backstroke, Good Shepherd had edged forward in the boys’ tournament, while St Peter’s had put on a surge in the girls’.
But when the final freestyle relays had finished – the noisiest, splashiest races of the entire competition – the final placings revealed a dramatic shake-up on the leader board.
In the end, the boys’ swimming was won by London Oratory with 50 points, from Larmenier & Sacred Heart with 40 and St John’s with 34.
The girls’ competition was won by Larmenier & Sacred Heart with 44 points, followed by St Stephen’s with 33 and John Betts with 32.
It meant that Larmenier & Sacred Heart were overall tournament winners with 84 points, with John Betts second on 57 and Good Shepherd third on 52.
Breathless organiser Calum Fairley from the Hammersmith & Fulham Primary Schools’ Sports Association said: “The event was a great success, underlining the growth in importance of swimming as a sport, nationally and at local level.”
It was the 15th annual primary schools’ swimming galas to be held at Fulham Pools, although some of the shields and cups awarded are antiques in their own right, dating back to the 1930s.
“The gala was noisy, highly competitive, fun and very hot!” added Calum.
“The staff, parents and friends supporting the children were enthusiastic and supportive.
“I believe swimming to be a key life skill, and I hope this competition encourages our young children to be competent and confident swimmers.
“The children had a great experience of swimming in a competitive event in a positive and enjoyable way.
“I'd like to thank all the staff from the schools that helped. Also Flo Barnes, Pam Croft and Trevor Hyde from Ealing and Haringey swimming clubs, who refereed. Without their help the event would not have been such a success.”