The first of two South East Regional Age Group Championship weekends took place on 12th and 13th May 2018 at K2 Leisure Centre, Crawley. This event was a great opportunity for Guildford City Swimming Club’s younger completitive swimmers to test their skills against the best in the South East.
The first events to take place were the distance freestyle events, 800m for girls and 1500m for boys, and it appeared to set a precedent for the day in terms of Guildford City’s medals. Both Kennedy Gordon and Charlotte Wensley claimed silver medals in the 13 year and 14 year age groups respectively. Alicia Peinado and Lenny Page also swam well to finish in the top 8 in each of the respective events/age groups.
The heats produced many creditable performances, not least of which, was Mackenzie Russell qualifying as the fastest swimmer for the boys 13 years 100m freestyle final. In what was to be the highlight of the first day of competition, Mackenzie produced a great swim, executing his race plan to perfection, to take the regional title and gold medal with his final few strokes in a time of 59.22 seconds. Mackenzie also collected a silver medal in the 50m backstroke for this age group.
Another silver medal came from 12 year old, Louise Bressler, in the girls individual medley event as well as finishing in 6th place in the 200m butterfly event which took place shortly afterwards. Louise achieved personal best times in the heats and finals for both events, an outstanding achievement.
One of the youngest swimmers competing over the weekend was Alexandra Hughes, 11 years, who despite competing against girls a year older than her, displayed real determination to also qualify for both the 200m individual medley and 200m butterfly finals. Alexandra was the only 11 year old competing in the 200m butterfly final and swam a well-judged race, finishing strongly to take a bronze medal. Coach, Sally Williamson commented that “it was a fantastic achievement to make a final against older children and an even more amazing achievement to win a medal in such a tough event.”
Other finalists on day one included; Dan Hicks, who finished 4th in the boys 13 years 200m breaststroke event, narrowly missing a medal, Jasmine Findlay, Louisa Hughes, Alicia Peinado, Lara Turan, Rory Quirk, Charlotte Wensley, Annabel Mullooly, Kennedy Gordon, Alex Cook and Ryan Rautenbach.
Day two began with some fast swimming in the girls 50m breaststroke and boys 50m butterfly events, with Connie Mortimer, Ryan Rautenbach, Dan Hicks and Nathan Potgeiter all qualifying for finals later in the day.
Mackenzie Russell was in action, once again, this time in the 200m freestyle event, and similar to the previous day, he qualified as the fastest swimmer for the final.
As the temperature rose outside, the finals session commenced with Guildford City’s Connie Mortimer claiming a bronze medal in the girls 13 years 50m breaststroke event. Connie was delighted with this medal, particularly as she missed out on a medal on her final stroke in the same event 12 months ago.
The boys 13 years 50m butterfly event saw both Ryan Rautenbach and Dan Hicks finishing just outside the medals in 5th and 6th positions respectively, whilst in the 14 year age group, Nathan Potgeiter, who had smashed his personal best by 0.61 seconds in the heats, went quicker again, to post a time of
28.37 seconds in the final, however, he narrowly missed a medal, to finish 4th.
As the fastest qualifier, Guildford City’s gold medallist from the previous day, Mackenzie Russell, was in Lane 4 for the boys 13 years 200m freestyle final. Once again, Mackenzie swam a really intelligent race, keeping a close eye on his competitors and executing his race plan. As a result, Mackenzie claimed his second title and the gold medal. In the boys 14 years 200m freestyle event, new recruit, Rory Quirk, won a bronze medal in a new personal best time of 2.04.20, a time which should see him qualify for the British Summer Championships which take place at the end of July.
Bronze medals were also claimed by Louisa Hughes in the 13 years 200m backstroke event and by Dan Hicks in the 100m breaststroke event.
The weekend was rounded off with the girls 400m freestyle and boys 400m individual medley events which were both swam on a heat declared basis. In the girls event, Guildford City collected silver medals in each of the three age groups; Louise Bressler (11/12 years), Kennedy Gordon (13 years) and Charlotte Wensley (14 years). In the boys event, Alex Cook, finished the weekend on a high with a new personal best time and a 6th place finish.
The second weekend of the Championships will take part over the bank holiday weekend at the end of May and Lead Coach’s, Lewis Dunford and Matt Smart are both excited at the prospect of more great swims.