The bank holiday weekend of 27 and 28 May saw Guildford City’s Under 15 year swimmers compete in the second weekend of the South East Region Age Group Swimming Championships 2017 at K2 Leisure Centre in Crawley.
The weekend started with the girls 800m freestyle event and saw Jasmine Findlay continue her winning form, from two weeks previous, collecting a gold medal in the 13 years age group with a personal best time of 9:44.71 which will qualify her for the National Age Group Open Water Championships in July at the Rother Valley Country Park in Sheffield. Charlotte Wensley also achieved a personal best swim and a 4th place in the 13 years age group with Rebecca Augier (13 years), Genevieve Moller-Butcher (14 years) and Louisa Hughes (11/12 years) also achieving personal best swims.
Guildford City’s very youngest stars were among those who shone the brightest over the weekend, the most impressive of which was Louise Bressler, who against opposition a year older than her, led the 200m breaststroke event from start to finish, winning the 11/12 year age group in a stunning time of 2:52.13, which was over 6 seconds faster than her previous best. Louise went on to pick up a silver medal in the 100m breaststroke event and a bronze medal in the 400m individual medley event for this age group. Louise will have the rare opportunity to defend her title and pick up many more next year in the same age group!
Mackenzie Russell, Alex Paton, Dan Hicks, and Alex Cook were among those who collected more personal best times and medals over the weekend; Mackenzie picked up a gold medal in the 50m freestyle event, three silver medals in the 100m backstroke, 200m individual medley and 400m freestyle and a bronze medal in the 200m backstroke events. Alex Paton, Dan Hicks and Alex Cook all picked up bronze medals in the 50m breaststroke, 100m butterfly and 200m butterfly events respectively.
Other finalists in the youngest age group included Annabel Mullooly and Will Smith with Charlotte Fakkel, just missing a finals place, finishing 9th in the 100m freestyle event. Lenny Page was one of the busiest swimmers of the weekend collecting personal best times “for fun” in almost every event he swam.
County squad coach, Sally Williamson said she was delighted with all of her swimmers over the weekend, with them all “having grown into the event” and gained invaluable experience of competition at this level.
Josh Shaw and Jasmine Findlay seemed to be unable to get out of the winning habit. Josh collected a gold medal in the boys 13 years 50m freestyle event in an astonishingly quick 26.14 seconds which is likely to rank him in the top 20 swimmers in the country in the 13/14 years age group, as well as securing his place at the National Summer Championships in July. Josh collected a silver medal in the 100m backstroke event for this age group and also made the final, somewhat unexpectedly, in the 50m breaststroke event to finish 5th, in a time of 35.63 seconds, at his first time of swimming this event competitively, in a long course pool.
Meanwhile, Jasmine collected another gold medal in the 13 year old 200m freestyle event improving her time from heats to finals, finishing nearly half a second clear of the rest of the field.
Having picked up a bronze medal on the 50m breaststroke event (13 years) for girls at the first weekend of the championships, recent joinee, Nicole Farmer showed she was still in good form by qualifying 5th fastest for the 100m breaststroke event. In the final, Nicole had a great race improving her best time by nearly 2 seconds and finishing in 4th place. In the 200m event, Nicole posted the 9th fastest time in the heats, narrowly missing out on the final by 0.75 seconds.
Harriet Southey and Callum Wimble were placed 5th and 8th in the 50m Backstroke and 50m breaststroke events for the 13 year age group, whilst Piper Ridley-Parrish and Nathan Potgeiter also narrowly missed out of final places in the 50m butterfly and 100m butterfly events in this age group.
The two boys who created a swim-off in the 14 years 50m butterfly event a couple of weeks ago, Ethan Habgood and Toby Stewart, were both competing in the 100m butterfly event along with Ollie Bedworth. On this occasion it was Ollie and Ethan who went head to head in the heats; Ethan had the better swim but narrowly missed out on a finals place, finishing 9th in a new personal best time of 1:05.01. Meanwhile, Toby swam a personal in the heats of 1:04.00 to qualify for the final as the 3rd fastest swimmer. In a really close race and despite going even faster in the final (1:03.57) Toby was touched out of the medals and finished in 5th, however, the time will see him swim this event again in the National Summer Championships.
There was an equally tight finish in the 14 years girls 50m butterfly final, where Abi Poulton finished in an agonising 4th place just 0.06 seconds behind the bronze medal, although this was the second time in a day that she had broken the elusive 30 second barrier for this event, having swum 29.94 in the heats and 29.99 in the final. Abi will also get the opportunity to swim this event again at the National Summer Championships.
Jordon McPhail also had a busy weekend, picking up three bronze medals in the 200m individual medley as well as 100m and 200m backstroke events. Jordon was also involved in what was arguably the race of the weekend in the penultimate event, the boys 14 years 400m freestyle. The final heat of this event saw Jordon line up with teammate and training partner Dan Donovan, Pietro Forconi (Winchester City Penguins Swimming Club) and Charley Langford (Thanet Swim) in a race which involved a great deal of competitive rivalry and bravdo. Cat and mouse tactics saw all four swimmers get to the half way point within less than half a second of each other. Dan relentlessly increased the pace and despite Pietro and Charley’s efforts to chase him down of the closing stages, Dan was showed huge amounts of determination, having just enough in reserve to win by 0.3 seconds in a time of 4:20.08 which places him into the top 10 ranked boys for his age in the country. Jordon finished 4th in a new personal best time of 4:24.37 which also sees him move up in the rankings for this event.
Ollie Bedworth and Toby Stewart also put in really gutsy performances to better their personal best times in the earlier heats of the event finishing in 6th and 7th positions respectively, with Ollie’s time enough to gain him a swim in this event at the National Summer Championships.
Guildford City’s very youngest competitive swimmers start the defence of their National Junior Arena League crown next weekend, whilst the older swimmers get back to some hard training in their preparations for the National Summer Championships at the end of July and beginning of August. Relentless Green Army!!