On Thursday 1st March, Bedford Girls' School Upper Sixth student Grace Spong adventured through the Beast of the East and made it to the Edinburgh International swimming meet, which incorporated the British Swimming Championships (Thursday 1st – Sunday 4th March).
This is the biggest national event swimmers can compete at in the UK, racing against all the best swimmers from around the country. There were over 500 competitors including Olympic Gold medallist, Adam Peaty.
Grace had qualified to swim in two events the 50m Backstroke and the 50m Fly. She had a fantastic race in her preferred event the 50m Backstroke, producing the fastest time from the afternoon heats and only 1.66 seconds behind the fastest time of the day, finishing 21st out all swimmers in the UK.
She put in a good performance in her 50 Fly just a little off her personal best. This was fantastic experience for Grace, racing against many national team swimmers from other countries.
Grace said: “It was my first time at an international meet and I was faced with the prospect of swimming against some of the fastest athletes in the world, so I was definitely nervous. After arriving in Edinburgh and getting a feel of the meet, I felt much more relaxed and really enjoyed my time competing.
I learnt how to handle myself at a meet of that level whilst surrounded by extremely tough competition. It gave me a big boost to my confidence to be able to swim with athletes I have looked up to for years.
Looking forward, I hope to qualify for British Championships again next year, as it was an eye-opening experience. Additionally, I am also hoping to qualify for the Summer and Winter Nationals, which will allow me to compete once again alongside some amazing athletes.”
Watch Grace competing in the 50m Backstroke at 2:39.07s (Lane 8, top of the screen) here