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East Sutherland Swimming Gala returns successfully following a four-year hiatus

Golspie Big Schools Winners

Seven Primary Schools were represented at the East Sutherland Schools Sports Association (ESSSA) Swimming Gala on Tuesday 5th September, hosted at Sutherland Swimming Pool.

A total of 49 swimmers took part in the following heats and finals: medley relay, backstroke, breaststroke, butterfly, freestyle and freestyle relay. There were 35 heats before the final races took place, for which all swimmers put in their best performance.

Elissa Stevenson, High Life Highland’s Active Schools Co-ordinator, said: “This Swimming Gala hasn’t been organised since 2019 due to the pandemic and post-pandemic recovery period, so it was great to see it back in the ESSSA programme for 2023-24.

“It is heavily supported and run by volunteers – Rona Gordon, Clare Crisp, Gayle MacRae, Aileen MacKay, and Claire Gordon – so a huge shout out of thanks to all of them. My gratitude also goes out to all the school staff and parents who organised the race timings.

“We were delighted to have so many pupils attending the Gala, there was such a great atmosphere on pool side. The pupils did their schools’ proud, listened to the race officials and cheered all the swimmers on.

“It’s great to have swimming back in the programme. Loads of the schools have been fortunate to have school swimming lessons, so it gives the pupils the opportunity to compete – but also for the pupils to mix with the other schools in East Sutherland.

“It was an honour and a privilege to have the World Champion Scottish Paracanoe Athlete who hails from Rogart, Hope Gordon, to present the awards!”

Steve Walsh, High Life Highland’s Chief Executive, concluded: “Following an unprecedented hiatus, it has been fantastic to see pupils flock to the swimming pools to compete with and cheer on their peers.

“Making lives better is at the core of what High Life Highland sets out to achieve daily. The high spirits and overwhelmingly positive team morale at Sutherland’s Swimming Gala this year is one of many examples on how the charity achieves its goals in making lives better.”

Trophies were awarded to the schools coming first in the Small Schools and Big Schools categories, as well as each pupil receiving a medal for first place.