THEY battled against sickness, fatigue and even a bizarre incident with an immigration coastguard.
But now pupils at Warwick School have been honoured nationally for being the first in 30 years to complete a two-way swim of the English Channel.
As we have previously reported, youngsters were shortlisted for the Aviva School Sport Matters Awards at Lords in London.
And at the glittering ceremony - which was attended by Olympic and Paralympic legends including Jessica Ennis, Sarah Storey, Christine Ohuruogu and Jonathan Edwards - the school was highly commended in the Aviva Unsung Hero category.
Pupil Patrick Haynes and teacher Peter Nield were on hand to collect the prize.
The swimming challenge took 25 hours and 37 minutes. Patrick said: “It is called the Unsung Hero award and it is great to get recognition for something that you have done and all the effort you put in and it was just great to be a part of it,”
“People were being sick, someone was stopped by the coastguard to make sure he wasn’t trying to enter the country illegally and it certainly wasn’t plain sailing. Jumping in the sea in the dark was incredible and a strange experience and it was the first stint I was doing so having to swim at 3.15am was interesting to say the least.
“Unfortunately one of swimmers, Tim Walton, got selected for the British sailing team three days before we were going to swim the channel so we had to draft someone in at the last minute. But Max Clarke stepped up at just 14 years old and he showed tremendous teamwork and the right mentality to do it.”
Olympic heptathlon champion Ennis, who was the star guest at the ceremony at Lord’s, said: “This is the best year yet to celebrate schools like Warwick School and it’s fantastic that we are getting this chance at an awards ceremony like this.
“School is the first place that young kids can get involved in sport and the work that they do is just as, if not more, important for the future than me winning gold.”
The Aviva and Daily Telegraph School Sport Matters Awards recognise outstanding achievements in school sport across the country, and are part of Aviva’s wider commitment to support the next generation of British sporting talent. For more information click here