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Pooling talents

OLYMPIC medal-winning swimmer Cassie Patten has inspired students at Felpham Community College to succeed.


Cassie motivated the pupils in and out of the pool with how she became one of open water swimming’s true legends.


The lessons she learned from her schooldays to her international successes were enthusiastically received by the Year 7 classmates.


One of them, Alex Jordan, 12, said: “Cassie told us about the way, when she was growing up, she wanted to get a swimming medal. It was amazing seeing a video of her winning bronze in the Beijing Olympics.


“She said about how she was bullied when she was at school for being taller than the other children.


“She didn’t like it because people picked on her but she didn’t listen to them and just carried on swimming.


“When she won the medal at the Olympics, she knew the mornings getting up at five past four to train had paid off.


“It was a really powerful talk and very interesting. I enjoy playing the piano and I learned that if I keep going I will become good at it. Resilience and determination will make me get better.”


Last Wednesday’s session took place through the Sky Sports Living for Sports initiative. It was the latest tie-up between the college and sports body.


The visits aim to teach the young people the six keys to success – mental toughness, hunger to achieve, people skills, sports and life knowledge, breaking barriers and planning for success.


Cassie has taken up coaching after her retirement from competitive swimming. As well as the Olympics, she has won silver and bronze in the British championships and is a double European silver medallist and a swimming World Cup winner.


She said: “I’m here today to inspire young people and get them to realise their potential.


“There is a lot of pressure put on young people today academically but not everyone is academic.


“I was really dyslexic and sport was my solace. These sessions are a way to teach young people the core values of life. They go hand in hand with education.”


Keira Smithers, 12, said: “It was interesting learning how Cassie became a professional swimmer. We learned about resilience and to keep trying because that is what Cassie did.


“I do some boxing with my dad in the gym and I’ve got pads at home. I’ve not entered any competitions yet but Cassie made me want to become better at sport.”

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