It takes quite some talent to make a splash at the Independent School’s Association’s National Finals, but that’s just what Launceston girl Molly Barton did this week when representing St Joseph’s school. Not content to bring a gold medal back across the Tamar, Molly did it in style, breaking the ISA National record in the process.
Molly joined St Joseph’s in Year 3, and it was and whilst swimming in the school’s swimming programme that she was invited to join Launceston Swim Club, and by the time she reached Year 5 Molly quickly advanced to become County Champion and age group record holder. When Molly was in Year 7 she qualified for races at Regional Level.
Molly’s talent and growing reputation in the world of South West swimming meant she came to the attention of Jon Rudd, the Head of Elite Swimming at Plymouth Leander, who approached her with a view to joining his elite athlete programme. This she did at the beginning of Year 8 and, due to the enormous time commitment required, reluctantly left St Joseph’s to join Plymouth College where an Olympic size pool beckoned.
By Year 9 Molly had reached number 6 in the UK for 50m Backstroke and was not only competing nationally but also internationally, and had been placed in ‘Performance Elite 3’ squad, a feat that only a handful of 13 year olds had previously achieved.
Unfortunately, continued recurring injury meant that it was difficult for Molly to complete the more arduous parts of the swim programme, a gruelling slog which consisted of 18 hours of swimming and 6 hours of gym each week. Therefore it was decided that she should take a break from elite performance swimming in order to allow her time to recover from injury. As a result of that Molly decided to return to St Joseph’s and all at the school were delighted to have her back.
Never being one to give in, she continued training with Launceston Swim Club and it was from here that she competed for St Joseph’s at the ISA National Swimming Gala having powered her way onto the team. It was in the prestigious surrounds of the London Aquatic Centre, scene of such Olympic success in 2012, that last week she achieved a Silver medal in the 200m Individual Medley and a Gold Medal in the 100m backstroke. An outstanding achievement, while in the process setting a new National ISA Record not only for herself but for St Joseph’s, for Cornwall and for the South West.