WADE Deacon pupils Ben Clayton, Joshua Howard Hughes, George Winckles and Alfie Mather competed with the country's top 30 teams in the 60th ESSA Secondary Schools' Team Championships at the London Aquatics Centre.

Qualification came from fine wins in the North West Region round at Everton Park, where their times put them in eighth place overall in England in the 200m medley and 17th overall in the 200m freestyle relay events.

The best chance of a final appearance for Alfie Mather, Ben Clayton, Josh Howard Hughes and George Winckles was considered to be in the 200m medley relay event and the boys put in a great performance to finish fourth in heat two, qualifying in 11th place overall - one of only two north west teams to do so.

Alfie put in a solid backstroke performance to get the team underway, Ben managed to hold the team's position of eighth on the backstroke leg, Josh claimed a new personal best time on the butterfly leg and then handed over to George who put in a battling freestyle performance to hold off the swimmer next to him to claiming eighth place overall.

Putting the achievement into perspective, the boys were up against competitors from the best swimming academies in the country.

Millfield Swimming Academy, who have produced 24 Olympians in their short history, won the event in a new 200m medley record of 2:04.78.

It was always going to be a tall order to make the final of the freestyle event, having qualified in 17th place, but the quartet put everything into their heat before finishing in equal 19th place overall.

The Wade Deacon team had been training at Halton Swimming Club in preparation for the finals.