Top Girl at Essex Swimming Championships Congratulations to Third Form (year 7) pupil Neha Pillai (3W) who has recently been awarded the title of Top Girl at Essex County Swimming Championship. In the 2017 Essex County Swimming Championships, held at the London Aquatics Centre and Basildon, Neha won ten Golds, two Silvers and three Bronzes in various disciplines over three demanding weekends. She broke the Essex county record for both 50m and 100m breaststroke (her strongest stroke). This impressive medal tally and race times won her the Top Girl award in the 12 year old category. This was only her second championship, which makes the award even more of an achievement. She is currently preparing for the Regional Championships, which pit the best swimmers from the South East counties against each other. Neha, who has only been swimming seriously for the past two years and has swam for Waltham Forest, says that winning the Top Girl title was a dream come true for her. It made the training sessions of early morning swims as well as evening sessions over the past years worthwhile. She trains 4 or 5 days a week, for a total of up to twelve hours. Surprisingly for someone who is in the water regularly for training, Neha says, “I hate getting my hair wet and yet manage to do that twice every day when I am at training.” In a recent junior gala against Coopers’ Coborn, Forest and Brentwood Schools, Neha set a new school record in the 100m Individual Medley.