A TEAM of open water swimmers from Taunton School came third in the inaugural Henley Classic Schools’ Open Water Swimming Cup, despite being the youngest team there.

The Somerset team, made up of mostly 14-year-olds, beat Radley College and were pipped by Churcher’s College and Harrow School, who took first and second place, respectively.

Third place is a superb feat for the team, considering all the other teams’ swimmers were aged 16 and 17.

The race took place on the course of the Henley Royal Regatta in the early hours of Sunday morning.

The team took the dawn river swim in their stride, holding their own amid a massed ‘cavalry charge’ start.

Ollie Halliday (who recorded the team’s fastest time of 33:41), Skyla Coate, Jonny Cole, Georgia Williams, Emily Lawton, Emma Hounslow, Ollie James, Freya Tyler and her sister Millie Tyler battled hard to the end.

Teacher Hamish McCarthy, who led the team, said: “This event was another great achievement, in our largest event so far with more than 750 swimmers.

“Normal people don’t jump in a river as dawn breaks, with little or no prior sleep and swim for 2.1km – extraordinarily special people do.

“I am immensely proud of the team.

“They all swam like the tenacious Tauntonians I have come to admire.”

Five of the nine students taking part also did a “Channel swim” last September, which saw seven school pupils swim the English Channel for charity.

Full Taunton School team:
Ollie Halliday, 14, from Taunton (Year 9)
Skyla Coate, 14, from Nether Stowey (Year 9)
Jonny Cole, 13, from Wellington (Year 9)
Georgia Williams, 14, from Taunton (Year 10)
Emily Lawton, 14, from Taunton (Year 9)
Emma Hounslow, 14, from Taunton (Year 9)
Ollie James, 14, from Lydeard St Lawrence (Year 10)
Millie Tyler, 17, from Bridgwater (Lower sixth)
Freya Tyler, 14, from Bridgwater (Year 9)