So going to the achool swimming gala was a bit different. It’s an outdoor pool (well two pools in fact) with concrete stand which had been covered in floral canopies to keep off the sun. It was 28C so the shade was welcome.
Proceedings started with us all standing for the Indian national anthem. I can’t imagine a UK school swimming gala contemplating playing the National Anthem before starting the competition or asking anyone to stand for it too. We all took our seats again expecting the racing to start.
Then came a statement of sportsmanship read by one of the children competing. It was beautifully read in English and stated a commitment to upholding the beliefs of the sport amongst other things.
Then the races started. One of the teachers jumped into the pool and was at the side of the lanes in case anyone needed assistance. Another thing that wouldn’t happen in the UK.
All the races were relay races for different age groups and abilities. Zahra was in the 2nd relay race and just a short sprint of 15m across the large pool. Then another 15m relay race across the large pool followed by another 15m relay race carrying a hoop in the small pool.
Then Zahra’s done racing by 1.50pm and joins me in the stands waiting for the gala to finish and to hear the results. She’s soaking wet from the pool and just sits next to me to dry off. Yes it’s 28C and no one is cold or shivering or rushing to get out of wet swimmies – just sat at the poolside enjoying the noise and excitement watching their friends and teammates swim.
An hour later and all the races are complete and it’s time to announce the winners in reverse order (of course!). Zahra’s house, Chawla, came second overall and they were delighted with the result.