Ponds Forge, Sheffield, was the venue for one of Guildford City’s most successful British Championships on record. With a strong team of 7 swimmers from the National Youth Squad competing against the best swimmers in Britain the club had representation in 7 Junior and 3 Target Tokyo finals.
With the Championships representing a trials event for the World Championships in Budapest this summer there were also a number of junior team’s available to swimmers finishing in the top two of their respective finals. World juniors will take place in Indianapolis, European Juniors in Israel and Youth Commonwealth Games in the Bahamas.
From the 7 strong Guildford team, 4 were competing for the first time and all stepping up from previous experience at British National level. Furthermore, from those 7 swimmers there was representation across all 5 distances (50m, 100m, 200m, 400m and distance free). The depth of the programme was further demonstrated with swimmers competing in Freestyle, Butterfly, Breaststroke and IM Events.
Day 1 got off to a great start with Alicia Wilson posting a small personal best time in the morning heats of the 400m IM (4:57.84) while Amy Hodgson demonstrated her own fast swimming with a personal best time to touch out a tight field in the 50m Breaststroke (33.72). Meanwhile, Tatiana Belonogoff (32.65) and Sarah Tripp (33.07) also posted season best times in the same event and qualified for Junior and Target Tokyo finals.
An exciting finals session then saw Tatiana (32.46) lower her time from the morning session to finish 3rd in the Junior final while Sarah Tripp gained a place to finish 7th (33.19) in the Target Tokyo final. Inspired by the earlier successes, Alicia Wilson then gained a remarkable 4 places in the final of the 400m IM and smashed her own lifetime best by over 5 seconds (4.52.65) to finish third in the Junior Final.
Day 2 saw both Tatiana (2:36.38) and Sarah (2:36.98) post season best times in the 200m Breaststroke and Ellenor Rixon compete at this level for the first time in the 800m Freestyle. Ellenor gained great experience for future championships, showing that she can compete with the best in the country.
Alicia started her sprint campaign off with a lifetime best swim in the 50m Butterfly (28.17) in the heat before a sensational final swim (27.64) to gain third place in the Junior Final. Sarah, having also made it to the Target Tokyo final showed great resilience in competing in her second final in 2 days to finish 8th. Molly Robinson dropped her life time best in the heats of the 50m Butterfly to 28.52 seconds.
Day 3 was a much quieter day in terms of numbers but not with regards to performance. Alicia blew her heat away with a personal best time of 26.42 in the 100m Freestyle, making her the second ranked junior in the competition. The final, later that night saw her go faster again with a time of 26.23 for second place. A remarkable achievement for an IM specialist!
Day 4 saw our 100m swimmers at their best with Henry Offin lighting up the 100m Butterfly in a lifetime best 57.67 and Alicia in the 100m free (57.39). Alicia’s time placed her 6th in the Junior final and it was her determination that saw her jump 4 places to finish second in a scintillating time of 56.70 (another PB!).
Day 5 opened with a great swim in the 400m Free from Ellenor where she built on the experience from earlier in the week as she finished 25th in the Junior category. After her earlier success in the 400m IM Alicia again took to the stage but for the 200m IM and started with a great heat swim (2.18.42) before going on to swim another personal best time (2:16.01) finishing second in the junior final.
The final day of the Championships saw the return of our three breaststroke swimmers (Amy, Tatiana and Sarah) and Alicia swimming Butterfly – all four competing in 100m races. Amy recorded a lifetime best heat swim of 1.13.60 while Sarah and Tatiana drawn in lanes next too each other sensationally recorded the same time with Sarah going on to reach the Target Tokyo final. Also in the 100m Butterfly was Molly Robinson who scored a great life time best in the heats of 1.03.89 seconds.
Alicia continued her great form placing 4th in the Juniors in her morning swim (1:01.48) before a sensational final saw her rise to second in a time of 1:01.00 and new lifetime best. Sarah, competing in her third final of the week, went on to finish 8th in the 100m Breaststroke.
As a club we are proud of every swimmers who took part in the Championships and pleased to see everyone’s hard work pay off. Roll on the Regional Championships!