Olympic Masterclass

Pupils enjoy swimming masterclass with Double World Champion and Olympic Silver Medallist

A group of Royal Hospital School pupils were treated to a swimming masterclass with Double Word Champion and Olympic Silver medallist Keri-anne Payne.

Keri-anne is a South African-born British swimmer, specialising in marathon open water swimming, and long-distance freestyle swimming in the pool. She is a two-time 10-kilometre open water world champion, and an Olympic silver medallist in Beijing in 2008. She narrowly missed a medal in the 2012 London Summer Olympics with a 4th place and went on to win the LEN European Open Water Swimming Cup Super-Final in Castellabate, Italy in 2014.

In 2016, just ahead of competing in the Rio Olympics, Keri-anne was announced the ambassador for the Great Swim, Europe's biggest open water swimming series. She said, "I'm a passionate advocate of open water swimming, it's an exciting and rewarding sport that people of any age and any ability can enjoy. When I won my medal in 2008 it was the first time open water swimming had ever been included on the modern Olympic programme, but I think it really struck a chord with people. Since then I've seen it go from strength to strength".

The GB swimmer visited Suffolk today to launch the 2018 Great East Swim which will take place at Alton Water Reservoir on Saturday 23 June. She was one of the Great East Swims debutants in 2009 and, although retired from competitive open-water swimming, will enter again this summer in the Great East Swim's 10th anniversary. Each year, the Royal Hospital School enters a team of between 35 and 50 swimmers in a range of distances and, of those training for this year's challenge, two swimmers are entering the 10km distance.

Keri-anne said, "It was good to work with the Royal Hospital School swimmers; many of whom will be taking part in this year's Great East Swim. The masterclass focused on technique; small, but useful changes, to a swimmer's position in the water, pivot action and breathing can make all the difference over a long distance. The 15 to 18 year olds took on board the advice and made significant improvements over the one hour session."

Joe F who took part in the in the masterclass said "I really enjoyed the session with Keri-anne Payne and learnt a lot. I hope that making a few of her suggested adjustments to my stroke will help enormously when I attempt the 5km and half mile open water swim challenge at Alton Water in June at the Great East Swim as well as my 5km charity swim."