Swimmers poised to dive from diving boards, with spectators in background

By Nick Yates, ISB Communications

The International School of Beijing (ISB) has topped the rankings in the Global Virtual All Stars (GVAA) swimming competition after athletes from around the world raced in this innovative event designed by ISB to broaden participation in the pool in these unique times.

All eyes have been on the Olympic swimmers (including ISB alumna Camille Cheng!) gathered in Tokyo over the past few days. Worldwide, from schools to professionals, rules on gatherings of people over the past year and a half have also inspired a lot of virtual swimming meets, in which teams race in separate pools but have their results ranked. Up until 2019, hundreds of swimmers from ISB and peer schools gathered at the ISB pool for the annual Asian All Stars, an invitational designed to serve as an age group national-standard qualification event. This year, the All Stars was renamed the Global Virtual All Stars (GVAA) and redesigned by ISB in partnership with International School Aquatics (ISA).

The GVAA attracted 16 international schools from the Middle East, Europe, Africa and Asia with swim programs large and small. The schools clocked times for the ranking in isolation in a two-month window to May 2, with around 100 ISB swimmers enjoying their meet on April 24 and 25. Almost 1,000 athletes took part in the GVAA in total. More than 3,000 individual entries and almost 200 relay entries were factored into the rankings.

A young male swimmer racing breastroke

The full results were finally announced by ISA on Tuesday, July 27. ISB was the overall team champion as well as the female team champion. Wan Hin L from ISB was the highest individual male scorer, with his time of 1:00.48 in the 100m backstroke awarded 979 points.

ISB Aquatics Director Nic Wilson thanked all the GVAA swimmers around the world: “In a very challenging year, we were so grateful to stage an event that could help bring us together and showcase some of the amazing swimming that is taking place in our international community.

“We are hoping this can be just the beginning of an event that has great potential for its future editions.”

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