GCSE student swam Channel during exams to raise money for Ukrainian refugees
Rose Owens with her GCSE results at Roedean School in Brighton, East Sussex (Gareth Fuller/PA)
PA Wire/PA Images - Gareth Fuller

A GCSE student who swam the Channel between exam papers to raise money for refugee children from Ukraine has achieved top grades in her results.

Rose Owens, 15, a year 11 pupil at Roedean School near Brighton, East Sussex, got one grade 8 and the rest 9s despite training for the swim during her studies.

At 11pm on June 15, just hours after her geography exam, she set off from Dover as part of a six-girl charity relay team, which included fellow pupils, arriving in Cap Gris-Nez, northern France, 13 hours and 13 minutes later.

The following week she had a chemistry paper to sit, for which she achieved a grade 9.

Rose told the PA news agency: “It was definitely tough, it was so cold in there and there were loads of jellyfish, big swarms of them that I had to swim through.

“Because it was so cold I didn’t really feel my body aching until the next day, when I was so tired.

Rose OwensRose Owens took part in a Channel swim between her GCSE exams (Gareth Fuller/PA)PA Wire/PA Images - Gareth Fuller

“We trained for months every Monday and Friday at 6.30am before school and at weekends so I was able to revise for my GCSEs in the evenings, but I’m still relieved that it’s all over even though it was an amazing experience.”

Rose is staying on at the school to study double maths, physics and chemistry, with teachers encouraging her to do another swim in two years.

The £7,000 raised by the sponsored swim will go towards supporting a group of Ukrainian refugee pupils who are set to start at Roedean in September.

Rose said: “We originally wanted to do it just to test ourselves, but after the war in Ukraine we decided to try and raise money for bursaries so refugees can come to our school.”

Headmaster Oliver Blond said: “The fact that two members of this year group swam in the cross-Channel relay in the middle of their exams is an example of how rounded Roedean students are, and there are also very many examples of exceptional commitment to sport, dance, drama, art, music and community activities across this year group.

“They have really shown that it is possible to contribute widely while achieving their aspirations.”

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