South West region bring home the Wilkinson Sword - Bridgwater & Taunton College

Staff and students from Bridgwater College attended the AoC National Championships 2015 at Bath University, after sixteen students qualified to represent the South West in their chosen sports.

The 37th National Championships, one of the largest annual sporting events in England, were held with great success, with a weekend full of sporting brilliance and excitement. A celebration of college sport, the competition saw a great turnout with nearly 1,800 students attending and going up against each other in 14 different disciplines.

For the fifth year running, the Championships were held at the University of Bath, which gave the students access to some of the finest facilities in Britain. The students taking part were aged 16 to 19 years and each had qualified to take part in the event through regional tournaments that took place in the autumn term. As well as competing in their chosen sport, students competed for points for their region.

Rhianne O’Donnell wins her third gold medal at the AoC National Championships for squash.

The competition began with the opening ceremony, bringing together all 11 regions to enjoy a display by a freestyle basketball player and footballer, as well as an inspiring speech by guest speaker and England Netball Captain, Pamela Cookey.

Bridgwater College were well represented at the Championships. Student Rhianne O’Donnell, of Bridgwater, competed in the women’s squash event and won gold. Rhianne is one of the most successful participants in the history of the Championships, winning her third gold medal in three years.

Women’s trampolisists from Bridgwater College win the Silver medal for the South West, with the help from their coach. From left to right: Helen Wheller, Tanzy Watkins, Ashleigh Potter and Rosie Gibbs.

The Women’s Trampolining squad secured a silver medal and included students Tanzy Watkins, Rosie Gibbs, and Ashleigh Potter. The Men Trampolinists unfortunately just missed out on a top three placing and took fourth spot with Caleb Staple, Mason Page and Nathan Tabberer making up part of the squad.

Trampolinist Tanzy Watkins, of Burtle said,

“For my first time at the nationals it was an amazing and once in a life time opportunity. One thing that was clear throughout the different sports you watched or took part in was that you could see the amount of effort the whole team put in, but also how supportive they were to the other competitors that were competing as part of the south west. I think it was a well-deserved win for everyone who took part but also all the coaching and members of staff that made it such an amazing experience.”

The Bridgwater College Learning Disability Football Team

The Learning Disability Football Team had a challenging tournament in some tough weather conditions but enjoyed their experience none the less. Competition was also tough, but they played well and won precious points for the South West team.

Charlie Attwood, of Purition, won gold in both the 50m and 100m breaststroke, equalling his double win from last year's championships.

Bridgwater College help the South West win the Championships! From left to right: Tanzy Watkins, Rhianne O’Donnell and Carly Martin.

At the end of the Championships the Wilkinson Sword is awarded to the region with the most points accumulated over all the events. The South West were successful in retaining the title by narrowly beating the South East by just 3.5 points! A second title for the South West in two years, contributing towards them being the most successful region at these Championships.

Carly Martin, College Sports Maker at Bridgwater College and South West Female Staff Captain said,

“It was a privilege to be involved in this year’s National Championships as Staff Team Captain. The students were a credit to their colleges and the event was both successful and enjoyable. I am especially proud of all of the Bridgwater College students, who gave it their all and demonstrated some high quality performances.”

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