Pupils rally to teacher's call

The spirit of Braveheart was invoked at Tahunanui beach as children braced for a midwinter dip.

"I want you to feel the freedom," year five and six teacher Aidan Barnett yelled as he rallied 85 of Tahunanui School's senior students for the annual swim yesterday.

"I can! I can!" the jittering troops fired back.

"And when you come out, I want you to have a shower because it is going to be freezing," Mr Barnett said.

The group of students, teachers and parents then raced into the water while other parents and younger siblings stood in jackets, hats and scarfs holding towels in wait.

Students were warmed up by a shower, milo and chocolate fish after the freezing dip.

Ben Mercer, 8, completed his first midwinter swim and said the best part was "getting out because it's really cold".

Mr Barnett later said his swim was "very good, very chilly" and the hot drink and chocolate fish made the swim worthwhile.

After the success of his pre-swim speech, Mr Barnett has been put in charge of future inspirational speeches.

He said the school's motto "I can, I will" was very important at inspiring the right attitude at these kinds of events. "We live the school motto and try to incorporate it into everything we do."

Numbers were down from last year's 150 because of sickness. Mr Barnett said at least four students from his class were unable to attend because they were still recovering.

The Nelson Mail