The Benefits of Sport.

Swimming for Success.

Mr Harnett is known as a significant member of the Mathematics Department, but less well known is his involvement with the swimming team.  A national swimmer in his teens, specialising in the Butterfly Stroke, Mr Harnett qualified as a coach when he was sixteen and coached from then and all through his university years.  It was only natural, therefore, that at St Augustine’s Priory he was encouraged to coach our swimming team!  Mr Harnett says:

‘This was my third year coaching the school swim team, which I stopped doing at Christmas. The girls were very appreciative of me volunteering my time and I thought some of them would like to speak about the benefits of swimming in life and learning and what it means to them’.

Mia Tobin, Upper V Alpha, writes, ‘Waking up before 6.00am to ensure I’m at the Acton Pool by 6.45am is quite a challenge.  However, I thoroughly enjoy the swim squad. It is a fantastic way to get an all-round low impact workout and improve overall fitness plus being part of a team. The main reason I continued swimming into Upper V is because I’m currently studying for my NPLQ. The Tuesday morning lesson is an additional session where I can develop and improve my swim technique and especially my speed on all strokes (as Mr Harnett did push us rather hard!!). I plan to continue until school breaks for GCSE exam revision.’

Trinny Dobson, Upper VA, continues, ‘I continued to swim in Upper V because I enjoy swimming, it helps give me a break from the pressure of GCSEs. It can be a focus as well; I learn faster after exercise and my brain is clear and ready to work. I started swimming in Form III and wasn’t an amazing swimmer, but since then my progress is clear and I feel fitter and more confident in myself.  I learnt how to tumble turn which was about as scary as learning to ride a bike. I hope I don’t stop swimming altogether after Upper V, however, I will most likely continue out of school in my free time.  I love swimming and always will. Thank you, Mr Harnett, for coaching us.’

Isabel Bathula, Upper VA, concludes by outlining all the benefits, both mental and physical, that swimming and sport provides, ‘I am a member of the St Augustine’s swimming team. I carried on with swimming in Upper V because I enjoy water sports very much and, as I am in Upper V with many exams taking place throughout the year, swimming helps me to relax and not become anxious. Swimming has also helped me in many of the other sports I do as I am injured quite a lot of the time and swimming helps me to recover and build up my strength. Swimming from a young age has made me more comfortable in the sea and also helped me build my confidence within aspects of my life.

As I am Sports Captain, Juniors, I can help and talk to younger students as swimming on a Tuesday morning is for girls of all ages from the Juniors to the Seniors.  Here I am able to spend more time with them and make them feel welcome to come up to the older girls if they want to talk. Through swimming with the school, I have been able to find friends as we all have something in common, it has helped me work on my time management by balancing my extra-curricular activities with my schoolwork, helped me develop a strong work ethic as I know that I have to be dedicated if I want to achieve my goals and get better. Through the school swimming club, I have improved immensely with my technique and speed in my strokes.  Being a PE student, this allows me to achieve high marks in my singular sport in my GCSE; it has also made me feel more comfortable in water and helped develop my strength.’

The benefits of swimming and all sports are clear from these accounts.  If you want to find out about how to swim at St Augustine’s Priory, please ask a member of the PE Department who will be very happy to help.