By Ruzaik Farook
Wesley College was established in 1874 and during its 139-year history, produced many swimmers in the past but there was a big vacuum due to the lack of a proper swimming pool. Fulfilling this requirement was a dream and many principals in the past worked hard towards this goal. However, when Dr. Shanti McLelland assumed duties as the principal in 2009, he really focused on this long time need.
His vision and the tireless efforts of the old boys, parents and well wishers saw the completion of this task and the swimming pool was completed on 2 March 2012 on Founder’s Day and was dedicated to Rev. Dr. A.W. Jebanesan, President of the Methodist Church Sri Lanka.
Wesley College started their inaugural squad training in August 2012 and there were three coaches, namely Asoka Serasingha (senior coach), Edward Vandendriesen (an old boy who represented Sri Lankan swimming at the age of 14) and Anton Silva (junior coach). They did a tremendous lot of work to achieve great heights in a short period.
The teacher in charge, Shamali Perera, too played a supportive role. The captain of the Wesley swimming squad is Mario Gurusingha. This squad participated in the sixth Sri Lanka Schools’ Aquatic Sports Novices organised by the Sri Lanka School’s Aquatic Sports Association for the first time ever, at which Shamod Athulathmudali won a bronze medal.
The squad also participated in the Novices Aquatic Championships 2013 organised by the Sri Lanka Sports Union where this same young swimmer won a gold medal. This was a great achievement for Wesley College, as they were able to produce these talented swimmers from school by making good use of the swimming complex provided by the school.