Swimmer James Kirton joins students at Alderman Peel High School

Olympic swimmer James Kirton held a special coaching session with pupils from Alderman Peel High Sch

Olympic swimmer James Kirton held a special coaching session with pupils from Alderman Peel High School. Picture: Matthew Usher.

An Olympic athlete gave students a coaching session to remember following a visit to a specialist sports college.

James Kirton, who represented Great Britain in the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, spoke to students and coached young hopefuls during the day.

He had been invited to the school as part of its annual sports celebration evening on Monday, which recognises students' achievements and commitment to sport over the past 12 months. Winners are listed in full in the table (right).

Mr Kirton, 31, said: 'The brilliant thing about these awards is that they are not necessarily about the being the best, but also giving your best, and that is commendable.

'I spent a lot of my career not being the best, but I was always happy to stand up and give it my all.'

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More than 100 pupils befitted from his coaching and advice.

Mr Kirton said he was aiming to go through the fundamentals of swimming with students to improve their efficiency in the water.

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He also spoke with groups of pupils about his experiences as an athlete and the importance of never giving up.

'It takes hard work, determination and resilience [to get to the top],' he said. 'I think we live in a world where we look to protect people from failure, but I am against that.

'There is a lot of value in failing and then standing back up again and that is one of my messages.'

The mens 200m breaststroke swimmer represented Great Britain on the world stage over a six-year period.

He now dedicates his time to working with young people at swimming clubs and schools across the country.

Assistant head teacher Bal Tawana said: 'We are a sports college and we believe the qualities that make successful people are developed in sport, such as leadership and resilience.

'One thing that James did say was that he was just given these skills. He had to develop them and for pupils to hear from someone who has done that might inspire them onto bigger and better things.'

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