Quartet make a splash

Ariella St-Pierre Collins, Laura Verdina, Isabella Forsberg and Principal Darryl Brown with Alyssa Anderson and Clark Burkle.

Dedication, commitment, compassion and support for your peers, open-mindedness and curiosity. These are just some of the terms used by the four special guests at The Codrington School, when describing what the secrets of their success were.

Following their successful swim clinic at the Aquatic Centre on Sunday, the four Olympic swimmers, Matt Grevers, Alyssa Anderson, Annie Chandler and Clark Burckle from Team USA came to talk to the students at the school. They spoke of their experiences at both the recent London Olympics and the Beijing Olympics, but most importantly they described their journey from keen youngsters who loved to swim, to becoming one of the best in the world at what they do.

Their words had profound resonance with the students at the school. As Darryl Brown the new principal said: “Our whole approach to learning and teaching is built upon the International Baccalaureate Learner Profile and influences all that we do here. We challenge our students to become knowledgeable and reflective thinkers, inquirers, communicators and risk-takers; along with being individuals who are caring, principled, open-minded and balanced. The swimmers embody such characteristics and it was great for the students to see first-hand that pursuing such traits will lead to success.”

Generous with time

At 6 feet 8 inches tall, Matt Grevers has been in two Olympics and is already talking of getting ready for Rio in 2016. He has a silver and gold medal from Beijing and a gold from London in the 100m backstroke. However, from the way that he handled the students and had them laughing with his stories of what drove him to succeed, he would make a great teacher whenever he feels like getting out of the pool. All four of these gifted athletes were so generous in their time and advice to the students, and Alyssa even let a number of the students hold her coveted gold medal.

When asked whether they enjoyed being here in Barbados, all four gave a resounding yes, speaking about the beauty of the island and being swimmers, they loved the idea of being able to get into warm sea 365 days of the year. All the swimmers are based in Tucson, Arizona, and as they said, for them, a trip to the beach is a six-hour drive. Furthermore, they told the students that even though they go to a number of schools around the USA on swim clinics, they had never been anywhere with such an amazing view. The swim clinics will be held on a yearly basis for those interested in developing their swimming.

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