SCHOOL SPORTS: Leweston pupils are inspired

Dorset Echo: FAMOUS FIVE: Portia Manson, Olivia Manson, Anya Evans, Poppy Boyden and Elektra Covell at the European Biathle Championships in Portugal FAMOUS FIVE: Portia Manson, Olivia Manson, Anya Evans, Poppy Boyden and Elektra Covell at the European Biathle Championships in Portugal

LEWESTON School has had a fantastic first year competing in the biathle, biathlon, modern pentathlon and sports associated with the pentathlon.

GB biathle and regional pentathlon coach Mick Flaherty, was appointed to the Sherborne school in September 2012 to enhance the Leweston’s offering in these events and to reinvigorate the school’s swimming programme.

Since Flaherty’s appointment, Leweston’s biathletes and pentathletes have improved immen-sely and their achievements have inspired many more girls to take up the challenge.

The school has hosted Easter and Summer residential and non-residential biathle/triathlon and tetrathlon training camps, with specialist coaching in swimming, running, shooting, fencing and cycling.

Such camps had never been run at Leweston, or even in the local area.

There have also been 10 training days throughout the year, held in conjunction with the local, and very successful, Dorset Pentath-letes club.

These training days included coaching for the South West English Talent Programme.

The school runs its own coaching programme for swimming, pony club tetrathlon, biathle and tetrathlon with shooting, fencing, and running.

Leweston’s girls have the opportunity to take part in five coached swimming and running sessions weekly, plus shooting, fencing and fitness training (land conditioning).

The girls are also given coaching mentoring to balance their school work and their training.

This training programme is proving very effective, improving performances and generating brilliant results across all fields of competition, from biathle to pony club tetrathlon.

Looking ahead, the school is planning to instigate a similar training programme for the triathlon with specialised coaching in swimming, cycling, and running.

Leweston has hosted the inaugural South West Biathle and South West Schools Biathle.

The Dorset Schools Relays and Leweston Open Aquathlon were also both held on site.

These events proved very popular and all attracted more than 150 competitors.

The school teams have gone from strength to strength.

Leweston produced the top team in both the Dorset Schools Relays (where the school forwarded 36 competitors) and the South West Schools Biathle – both great achievements for a school of its size.

At the regional Biathlon qualifier, 13 girls went forward to the National Biathlon Champion-ships.

Here they represented the school and the Dorset Pentath-letes, who were the top club at the event.

The Leweston School under-16s and under-17 were also the top school teams in their divisions.

The school also produced outstanding results at international level biathle, with six girls selected to represent Great Britain at the European Championships in Portugal in July, and three girls selected for the World Champion-ships in Cyprus.

At both championships, the girls performed superbly, helping Great Britain to glory and gold medals.

Leading the way was Weymouth’s Victoria Halford, who was competing at her seventh successive World Championships and proved a real inspiration for the other girls at Leweston.

The school is fast cementing its reputation as the best school for aspiring biathletes and pentathletes in the region.

In September, Leweston was the number one choice for up-and-coming penthathlete Rebecca Bowles.

She joined the school Sixth Form and is combining her studies and her training as part of the Pentathlon World Class programme.

The school is looking forward to a very busy 2014 and will be running training camps at Easter (April 7-12) and over the summer (August 3-8) and will also continue to hold training days once a month.

These camps and training days are not just restricted to Lewes-ton’s pupils, but are open to all girls and boys who are interested in biathlon, triathlon and pentathlon.

The school will also be hosting the Dorset Schools Relays (March 23), the South West Biathle (April 12), the South West Schools Biathle (May 17) and the first ever National Schools Biathle (June 22).

For more details of these events, or to enquire about attending the training days or camps, contact Flaherty by email at flahertym@leweston.dorset.sch.uk

* Leweston’s next open day will be held on Bank Holiday Monday, May 5.

For details, or to request a prospectus, contact the school’s registrar Chiara Damant on 01963 211010 or email admissions@lewest on.dorset. sch.uk

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