The first weekend of the South East Region Age Group Swimming Championships 2017 took place on 13 and 14 May, with Guildford City’s Under 15 Years swimmers competing against the best age group swimmers from across the South East Region.
The weekend started with the boys 1500m event and saw personal best swims for Alex Cook, who finished 4th in the 11/12 years age group, ducking under the 20 minute barrier for the first time, and Mackenzie Russell who won gold in the 13 years age group. Dan Donovan picked up a silver medal in the 14 years age group with a new personal best time which will qualify him for the National Summer Championships in July/August.
Other events that took place over the weekend included the girls 50m freestyle, 50m breaststroke, 100m butterfly, 100m backstroke, 200m backstroke, 200m individual medley and 400m freestyle. The events for the boys included 50m backstroke, 50m butterfly, 100m freestyle, 100m breaststroke, 200m freestyle, 200m breaststroke, 400m individual medley as well as the 1500m freestyle.
Mackenzie Russell and Josh Shaw showed sparkling form winning gold medals in both the 50m backstroke and 100 freestyle events in the boys 11/12 years and 13 year age group categories, respectively, with personal best times. Mackenzie also won the boys 200m freestyle event with Josh picking up a bronze medal in their respective age categories.
Dan Hicks won a silver medal in an extremely close finish to the boys 11/12 years 200m breaststroke event, which saw six swimmers fighting for the medal positions. Alex Paton also made the 200m breaststroke final. Meanwhile in the older 14 year age group, Jordon McPhail also achieved a personal best time and secured a Summer National swim, narrowly missing out on a medal finishing in 4th.
Guildford City’s very youngest high performance swimmers performed outstandingly well in the 11/12 years age group; Louise Bressler finished 5th in the 200m individual medley and 6th in the 50m breaststroke against opposition that was a year older than her, as well as achieving a massive six second personal best time in the 200m individual medley event. Connie Mortimer was another who shone in the 50m breaststroke event finishing 4th as did Alex Paton who finished 5th in the 100m breaststroke event. Darcy Revitt, Louisa Hughes, Annabel Mullooly, Charlotte Fakkell, Heidi Hemming, Katie Sherlock, Freya Taylor, Ciara Wimble, Lenny Page, Alex Paton, Thomas Agar, Harry Readhead and Dan Hicks all achieved numerous personal best times.
Nicole Farmer, a recent joinee to Guildford City, collected a bronze medal in the 50m breaststroke event for 13 year old girls in a time of 36.48 seconds which may see her swim this event again in the Summer National Championships, dependent upon her final ranking position.
One of the busiest swimmers over the weekend was Jasmine Findlay who made finals in almost every event she swam, collecting numerous personal best times together with silver medals in the 200m individual medley and 200m backstroke as well as a bronze medal in 100m backstroke girls event (13 years age group).
The boys 50m butterfly event saw Will Smith win a silver medal in the 11/12 years age group and also saw both Ethan Habgood and Toby Stewart finish with exactly the same time of 29.49 seconds in the 14 year age group. Both Ethan and Toby elected to swim again to determine their placing in the top 10 for this age group. The boys bettered the previous times in the swim-off which was very tight and came down to a finger-tip finish, won by Ethan in a time of 28.80 seconds closely followed by Toby in a time of 28.91 seconds.
Abi Poulton was another swimmer who was involved in a blanket finish in the girls 100m butterfly (14 year age group). With a determined swim, she won winning a silver medal in a time of 1:05.95, a huge 3 second personal best time, but agonisingly missing the gold medal by 0.05 seconds.
After his 1500m freestyle swim on the first day, Dan Donovan competed in the 200m freestyle event on the Sunday. Dan swam a solid race in the heats in a time of 2:06.53, a personal best time, which saw him placed second going into the final. Unfortunately, Dan was unable to better this time in the final but the time should be enough qualify for this event in July/August.
The girls 400m freestyle and boys 400m individual medley events concluded the weekend and both events provided superb performances from Abi Poulton, Izzy Bryant and Ollie Bedworth potentially adding these events to their Summer National Championship swim programmes, as did Jordon McPhail who secured a hard-fought bronze medal in the 14 year old age group, getting the touch against his great rival, Nicholas Skelton from City of Oxford Swimming Club.
The second weekend of the Championships will take place on 27 and 28 May and will, undoubtedly, contain lots more close finishes, personal best times and medals for Guildford City swimmers. The Green Army marches on!!