Established in 1928, Pearson is a dual medium school in Port Elizabeth. As the school lacked its own swimming pool until recently, it does not have a strong tradition of aquatic sports. However Pearson moved to a new campus in Summerstrand during 1976, where it got a beautiful water pool which is uses to good effect. At the end of 2017 the girls team was ranked number one and the boys team is ranked in the top twenty of schools in South Africa in 2017. Local rivals Grey High boys were ranked 6th at the same time. Swimmers have traditionally swum with local swimming clubs like PEA and Aquabear SC. Local star swimming Kaylene Corbett is a Pearson pupil, who competed in the FINA World Championships, while the 2017 Headboy Ian Venter regularly wins open water swimming events like the Redhouse River Mile and the Bell Buoy Challange.
2017 Pearson High goalie in action.
HISTORY OF WATER POLO AT PEARSON
Water polo is a relatively new sport at Pearson. The first polo practices started in 2005 when there wasn’t a pool at school. The players had to practise in a normal swimming-pool and in the sea! The first games were played that year and by the following year it was clear that polo was the fastest-growing sport at Pearson.
A mere two years later, the first Pearson players were chosen to represent Eastern Province at the South African Schools’ Championships in Cape Town. That year Pearson was also invited to its first tournaments. By 2008, our polo had grown so much that 25 of our polo players were selected for Eastern Province teams.
The rate at which Polo was growing meant that it was impossible to continue without a pool and so construction started on our Olympic-standard Water polo Pool in November, 2008. In 2009 our boys’ and girls’ polo teams travelled to Hungary to learn from the then World Champions. That year saw Pearson host its first 1st Teams’ Tournament – the Van Staden Cup – in its own pool.
The 1st Boys’ Team won the Co-Education Schools’ National Tournament in 2011. They ended second in the prestigious Vides Tournament in 2012. Our junior teams give a good account of themselves at major tournaments such as the Grey Bloem U14 Tournament and the Ian Melliar Cup for U15’s. Presently, 20 of our water polo boys and 24 of our girls have been selected to represent Eastern Province at Nationals.
The school newsletter records the following achievements by Pearson High pupils in January 2017:
Our swimmers who participated in the Interprovincial Gala held in Oudtshoorn on 7 January and achieved podium positions: Amy Bellairs (3rd) - 50m & 100m Breaststroke, Lindelize Bester (1st) - 100m & 50m Breaststroke, Kirsten Bester (2nd) - 400m Freestyle & 50m Breaststroke, Jessica Beukes (2nd) - 100m Butterfly & 200m Individual Medley and (1st) - 400m Freestyle and 50m Backstroke. Cullen Biddulph (2nd) - 50m Freestyle & (1st) - 200m Individual Medley & 100m Freestyle, Jessica Canter (1st) - 100m Freestyle, 50m Butterfly & 100m Butterfly, Jade Grobbelaar (3rd) - 50m Backstroke, Marcell Müller (3rd) - 100m Backstroke, (2nd) - 100m Butterfly & 100m Breaststroke & (1st) - 50m Backstroke, Mark Müller (3rd) - 200m Individual Medley, (2nd) - 100m Backstroke & (1st) - 50m Breaststroke, Ruben Smith (3rd) - 50m & 100m Butterfly, Ashton Volkwyn (3rd) - 50m & 100m Breaststroke, Ian Venter (2nd) - 50m Backstroke & 100m Freestyle, (1st) - 100m Backstroke & 400m Freestyle.
Ian Venter who was named NMBA Swimmer of the Month for November 2016. He received the following Medals in the NMBA Swimming Championships (15 years and over category) held on 2—4 December: Gold + Trophy in 400m Freestyle, Gold + Trophy in 200m Backstroke, 4 Gold in 800m, 400m Freestyle & 400 Medley Relays, 5 Silver in 100m, 200, 50m Freestyle and 100m and 50m Backstroke. Well done, Ian!
Our swimmers in the Open Water Swimming Round 3: Ladies’ 3km: Paige Black (5th), Hannah Haswell (4th) & Jessica Beukes (2nd). Men’s 3km: Flippie van der Spuy (4th), Slater Black & Cullen Biddulph (1st).
Jessica Beukes on her 3rd place in the 200m Backstroke final at the African Union Sports-Region 5 u/20 Event in Angola.
Ian Venter swims with the Aquabea swimming club with coach Brian Elliot.