Rio is the coast ahead for Bourne swim pair Alex and Isabel

Alex Wray (back second right) and Isobel Spinley (front right) with other members of the Deepings Swimming Club team.

Alex Wray (back second right) and Isobel Spinley (front right) with other members of the Deepings Swimming Club team.

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Deepings Swimming Club can boast a vintage crop of speed merchants, including Bourne Grammar School pair Alex Wray (17) and Isabel Spinley (15).

Alex is ranked second in England and third in Britain at 50m freestyle while Isabel achieved the biggest success of her career so far when setting her first-ever national qualifying time in the 200m butterfly at the Midland Short-Course Swimming Championships.

Bourne Grammar School students and Deepings Swimming Club pair Alex Wray and Isabel Spinley, both of Bourne.  Photo by Tim Wilson.

Bourne Grammar School students and Deepings Swimming Club pair Alex Wray and Isabel Spinley, both of Bourne. Photo by Tim Wilson.

But as the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games come into view, Alex is getting set for the biggest swim of his life at the British Championships in Glasgow between April 12 and 17.

Alex said: “I was there when Britain’s Adam Peaty broke the world record for the men’s 100m breaststroke at the British Championships in London last year and I’ve just started doing it myself.

“There are quite a few big competitions for which teams are being selected from the British Championships and there are qualifying times to get those places which I have to aim for in Glasgow.

“If I win my race at the British Championships or come second, I can go to the Olympics.

Everything Alex and Isabel have done has been achieved outside of school and I genuinely don’t think anybody has any idea of the stresses they go through

Chris Ray, head of PE at Bourne Grammar School

“But I’m just trying hard to get prepared for Glasgow in order to medal there and get one of those times needed for one of the teams.”

Isabel has a swim school to thank for her introduction to the sport which led to her joining Deepings Swimming Club after taking up the sport as a seven-year-old.

“I started off doing a couple of sessions in the lower squads before moving up to having sets with the older groups which were designed to help the club locate new talent,” Isabel said.

“I remember one of my first competitions and thinking that it showed I could go from a low level and push on.”

Alex added: “I was seven when my sister Lauren joined the club and my mum constantly made me go along to watch her.

“In 2014, I made the decision to take the sport seriously when up until then, I was swimming just to keep fit.”

In July 2012, Alex and Isabel were part of a group which represented Deepings Swimming Club at a swimming tournament in Holland where the pair got their first taste of overseas competition.

Isabel said: “Swimming in Holland was really fun, completely new and something I’d never done before.

“All the announcements were in Dutch and it was quite hard to get my head around it.”

Since then, Alex set club and county records in the 50m to win bronze at the 2013 Midland Youth Championships, qualify for the 2014 National Swimming Champ-ionships in Sheffield and win his first major medal when taking bronze in the 100m freestyle at last year’s British Championships.

“I like doing the 50m and 100m as much as each other, but it’s quite a lot to do with my schoolwork as well,” Alex said.

“I’ve no idea how I juggle them but it seems to come naturally.”

Alex and Isabel, both from Bourne, do benefit from the school’s threefold pastoral system made up of students, teachers and parents.

Isabel said: “We have to be really disciplined with your school work and get it done as soon as it’s handed out.

“But I always find the school really supportive and if I get stuck about handing a bit of homework in, they tend to be really understanding.”

Isabel combines her swimming with cross country running, helping the school to second place in last year’s English Schools Athletics Association Regional Cup last November.

“I’ve done cross country since Year 7 because I’ve got the stamina which has also allowed me to swim the 200m butterfly,” Isobel said.

“It’s quite a hard stroke to master because there’s quite a rhythm to it.

“But once you know how to do it, it becomes easier.”

Isabel collected a bronze medal at the Midland Short-Course Swimming Champ-ionships, compared to Alex who won 50m and 100m 
freestyle golds at last year’s county championships and three medals at the Midland Short-Course Championships in November.

Alex captured gold in the 50m freestyle and bronzes in both the 100m freestyle and 50m breaststroke, just months after breaking the 50m freestyle long-course county record that has stood since 1997.

Chris Ray, head of PE at Bourne Grammar School, said: “I don’t know whether we’re fortunate to have a lot of talented students but 
recognising this amount of success and sporting achievement is very difficult.

“However, it’s the higher level achievers who come to the fore a lot more and we try as much as we can to publicise their achievements.

“Swimming isn’t a sport that’s on our curriculum so everything Alex and Isabel have done has been achieved outside of school, getting the balance between swimming and school right.

“I generally don’t think anybody has any idea of the stresses they go through in going out and training before going to school.”