BOURNEMOUTH schoolboys Xavier Jebb and Matteo Simmons became national relay champions after taking the plunge in London’s Olympic pool.

The Park School youngsters were selected for the Independent Schools Association’s National Finals after strong performances in the regional trials at Sherborne in November.

They are the first to represent the school at this level. The pair made up 50 per cent of the south west team which won the year five 4x50m freestyle relay at London Aquatics Centre.

And they were unfazed by the grandeur of a 10-lane 50m pool which hosted the likes of Michael Phelps and Rebecca Adlington at London 2012.

Ten-year-old Jebb, who trains with Poole SC, got the south west off to a promising start as he touched second after the first leg.

Bristol’s Will Brown, Seagulls-coached Simmons, aged nine, and Fletcher Wickham from Devon completed the job to claim victory by exactly two seconds in 2:33.37.

They received their gold medals from Rio Paralympian Ryan Crouch.

The north won silver in 2:35.37 with London west a distant third in 2:41.21.

Park School head Melanie Dowler, who was at London Aquatics Centre to cheer on her pupils alongside their families and sports teacher Hannah Miller, said: “The boys are passionate about swimming and were delighted to represent the region.

“They have done not only their school and their clubs proud but most of all themselves.”

The Dorset Novice League is shaping up to be the most exciting yet after first-round thrillers at Dorchester and Weymouth.

Just seven points separated the first five teams at Dorchester, where West Dorset edged ahead of Christchurch-based Seagulls by one point with Wareham a further two points behind.

Meanwhile at Weymouth, Tornadoes of South Dorset and Weymouth SC tied in first place with Iwerne Minster’s Clayesmore nine points adrift.

Poole have won the league five times in the past six years but face a fight to retain their title after their yellow and black teams finished fourth and sixth, respectively, at Dorchester.

Poole yellow – the only team to finish last season with a 100 per cent record – were not helped this time by three disqualifications and seven 'speeding tickets' for swimming faster than the cut-off times.

The time penalties are imposed to ensure clubs select genuine novice swimmers.

For the third year running, the league featured a Hampshire club to fill a vacant lane.

Southampton’s Bassett JSF finished sixth at Weymouth after replacing 2016 champions Ringwood Seals.

Results – Dorchester: 1 West Dorset 139, 2 Seagulls 138, 3 Wareham 136, 4 Poole yellow 133, 5 Blandford 132, 6 Poole black 120.

Weymouth – 1= Tornadoes of South Dorset 142, 1= Weymouth 142, 3 Clayesmore 133, 4= North Dorset Turbos 122, 4= Bridport Barracudas 122, 6 Bassett JSF 110.

Second-round draw – Dorchester: Weymouth, Seagulls, Clayesmore, Blandford, North Dorset Turbos, Bassett JSF.

Weymouth: Tornadoes, West Dorset, Wareham, Poole Yellow, Bridport Barracudas, Poole Black.