The swimming squad of Stafford International School, Colombo which is known to be one of the best private schools in Sri Lanka, performed exceptionally well last year, establishing themselves as a force to be reckoned with in inter-school tournaments.
The story of this squad has been unique. The squad which was formed in April 2018 consists of students who were absorbed into the school community since the primary. It was determined last year that more opportunity be given to these fully fledged ‘Staffordian’ swimmers to improve and participate in Inter-School Tournaments on a more competitive level.
After successfully forming the squad, a regulated practice session was introduced with daily early morning training sessions. The students were given advice on fitness and nutrition. The young squad captained by Damitri Kariyawasam, took to this grueling schedule like ducks to water. With the guidance of well respected coach David Bowling, the squad worked diligently, and soon began to produce outstanding results. David Bowling is currently supported strongly by Prasad Janaka and Indunil Liyanage with the Teacher in Charge, Mahesha Wanigathunga.
Participating at the Inter International School Swimming event, which brought together top performers of leading international schools in Sri Lanka, the 34 student squad was able to win nine medals in all styles. The squad participated in their first National and Junior National Long Course competition in November 2018 at which Nisha Nilaweera won a gold medal in 50m Freestyle, establishing Sri Lanka record at 29.25 seconds. She also secured the bronze medal in the 50m breast-stroke.
At the Sri Lanka School Novices held in February 2019, the squad was able to showcase their talents further. Kimaya Adams was able to secure a gold medal, while Aaksha Gunatilake and Isha Vansandi won silver medals and Kaitlyn de Silva and Senuthi de Silva won bronze medals. Stafford was placed second runners-up overall in this competition.
At the SLASU Novices Swimming Championship held from March 15th to 17th, Isha Vansadi, Natara Kumarasinghe and Kimaya Adams won a total of four gold medals and two silver medals. Additionally the squad was able to produce some winning performances at the National and Junior National Short Course Swimming Championship in April. Nisha Nilaweera won the 50m freestyle, establishing national record with outstanding performance of 28.27 sec.
She also won two more silver medals, while Nesha Rathnayake secured two bronze medals. Through their performances in the last year, the swimming squad of Stafford International School has proven that with determination and perseverance anything is possible. The youngsters adapted to the plan and expectations set out for them by the coaching staff and have consistently produced successful results in a period of a year, gaining the admiration of their peers. They can only move from strength to strength in the years to come.