Swimmers from all three local clubs flew the flag for the area as part of the County’s elite Nova Centurion squad, at the British Gas National Age Group & Open Water Championships at Ponds Forge and Rother Valley Country Park in Sheffield, writes Alison Ottaway
Both national events only attract entries from the country’s most talented youngsters who can achieve the tough qualifying times, and this year local clubs were represented by Ben Sharrocks (12), of Mansfield SC, Mia Fergie (12), of Sutton SC (pictured), Elliot Clogg (13), of Sherwood Colliery SC, Rhys Taylor (13), of Mansfield SC, Ruslans Golubs (14), of Sutton (pictured), and Shannon Brown (15), of Sherwood Colliery.
Competing at their first national level event, 12-year-old Mansfield swimmer, Ben Sharrocks and Sutton swimmer, Mia Fergie, both enjoyed their first taste of the ‘Nationals experience’.
Having only recently turned 12, and being one of the youngest competitors in her age group, Mia remarkably knocked over a second off her qualification time in the 100m butterfly to set a new personal best time of 1:10.43, finishing a very credible 25th overall.
Ben swam just outside his entry times, but again secured credible overall placings in the 200m backstroke and 400m individual medley in the boys 12yrs age group.
Mansfield swimmer, Rhys Taylor, also competing in his first Nationals, clocked up two new, individual personal best times as a member of the Nova Centurion B 100m freestyle and medley relay teams.
Swimming the breaststroke leg in the medley relay, Rhys astonishingly bettered his time by over three seconds before taking a further 1.4 seconds off his freestyle.
Fellow 13-year-old, Sherwood Colliery swimmer, Elliot Clogg, had something of a rollercoaster week.
After securing a remarkable eight, individual event qualifying times, Elliot sadly had to withdraw from the final day’s events due to ill health, but not before taking over a second off his 100m freestyle to secure a new personal best time of 57.74 and another half a second off his 100m backstroke time at 1:05.19.
Elliot also swam alongside Rhys and Ruslans in the Nova Centurion B 100m freestyle and medley relay team, and, being only one of 12 competitors in his age group eligible for a British Age Group Category (BAGCAT) Award, finished a superb 10th overall.
Consistently high standards of swimming across the five days of competition earned Sutton swimmer Ruslans an outstanding four personal best times and three finals places - a remarkable achievement given that it was also Ruslan’s first taste of National level competition.
In the 200m breaststroke heats, Ruslan swam a new personal best of 2:34.96, before going even faster in the final later that day to secure fifth place in 2:30.23.
Continuing his successes in the 100m breaststroke heats, he swam a new personal best of 1:10.09 to qualify for the final, and turned up the heat again in the final, swimming a 1:09.81 to finish sixth overall.
Aside from his individual successes, Ruslan also swam alongside Rhys and Elliot in the Nova Centurion B freestyle relay team, before joining other team-mates in the Nova Centurion A team to swim the breaststroke leg in the medley relay.
A fast breaststroke leg helped Nova Centurion A qualify for the relay finals in which they finished fifth overall.
Away from the pool and into the open water of Rother Valley Country Park, Sherwood Colliery’s Shannon Brown, was the area’s sole representative at the National Age Group & Youth Open Water Championships, securing a qualifying time to participate in the Girls & Boys 15yrs 2km event.
This championship is the flagship event for the future of open water swimming in the country and Shannon finished 21st overall in a time of 25mins 43secs.