Double Olympian makes a splash with visit to Thrapston school

Lizzie Simmonds with pupils from Thrapston Primary School
Lizzie Simmonds with pupils from Thrapston Primary School

Youngsters got the chance to meet a double Olympian when she popped in for a visit.

After recently returning to the UK following the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Australia, double Olympian Lizzie Simmonds visited Thrapston Primary School with the Mintridge team on Friday (May 18) to lead a silver swimming programme with students and staff.

Lizzie Simmonds in the pool with pupils

Lizzie Simmonds in the pool with pupils

Lizzie gave a presentation on her career from completing a mile swim at the age of six through to competing at two Olympic Games in 2008 and 2012.

And the swimming star ensured that she shared her insight on various discussions including mental health as Friday was the end of national Mental Health Awareness Week.

Lizzie urged the students to speak out if they are feeling low, saying ‘it is ok to not be ok.’

After watching video clips, seeing photos and hearing more about Lizzie’s career where she specialised in 100m and 200m backstroke, students had lots of questions for the British record holder.

Lizzie went along to the Year 6 classrooms where she spent the rest of the morning with the older students of the school.

Year 6 pupils had completed their SATs the day before so Lizzie’s topic of choice in the classroom sessions helped the students by talking about coping with nerves and worries, and dealing with success and failure.

Each class enjoyed lots of photos with the swimmer and there was time for some autographs before moving onto the next activity.

After enjoying some time with Year 5 pupils, showing her medals from European, World and Commonwealth Championships and giving out more autographs, Lizzie took a brief lunch break before making her way to the Nene Centre for an afternoon in the pool with the Year 3 pupils and the school’s gifted and talented group.

The Year 3 pupils were wowed by Lizzie’s demonstration to kick-start the afternoon before she worked with a small group of six students to help improve technique in a variety of strokes.

Following a hotly contested race at the end of the day, Lizzie presented medals to each of the students that she had worked with before announcing her two chosen mentees.

As part of a silver programme with a school, two students are selected to receive six months of remote mentoring with the ambassador which will be delivered by Skype and Playwaze.

These sessions are an opportunity to gain one-on-one access to an Olympian and look at setting different goals and targets while helping with confidence along the way.

Lizzie ended her day at Thrapston with a short discussion with her two mentees, explaining a little more about the programme.