Local swimmers pool together for regional success

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Swimmers from all three local clubs were back at the Coventry and Ponds Forge pools for the second and final weekend of the British Gas Regional Age Group Championships.

The event attracts entries from the most talented youngsters in the combined East and West Midlands and North East Regions who can achieve the tough qualifying times, and this year local clubs were well represented with their very best 10-14-year-olds battling it out for regional champion titles, medals, National qualifying times and overall top eight finishing positions to achieve coveted BAGCAT (British Age Group Category) awards.

Swimming as part of Nottinghamshire’s elite Nova Centurion squad in the Midlands region, Mansfield Swimming Club’s entrants enjoyed another bumper weekend with 14-year-old Rhys Taylor adding to his first weekend’s successes with a gold medal and team regional champion title as part of the Nova Centurion A 4 x 200m freestyle relay team and a silver medal in the Boys’ 13/14yr individual 1500m freestyle.

Rhys’ time of 16:52.09 in this gruelling event was also a National Age Group Championship qualifying time.

Rhys also qualified for the final of the 100m breaststroke, where he placed sixth, and the final of the 200m individual medley, where he placed eighth.

With a total points tally of 2099, Rhys achieved a BAGCAT awards for finishing sixth overall in the Boys’ 14 years age group.

Mansfield SC and Nova Centurion team-mate, 13-year-old Ben Sharrocks, continued his fine form and celebrated achieving two National Age Group Championship qualifying times in the 400m individual medley and 1500m freestyle, taking off huge amounts of time in both events to set new personal bests.

Sherwood Colliery Swimming Club members celebrated adding another five medals and three BAGCAT awards to Nova Centurion’s second weekend tally, with Lily Boseley (12) leading the charge, taking two individual regional champion titles and gold medals in the Girls’ 10/12 years 200m backstroke and 100m freestyle and adding a silver to her trio of medals in the 100m butterfly.

Lily’s time in the 100m butterfly (1:09.95) added another National Age Group Championship qualifying time to her overall tally and her 2,043 overall points total earned her a superb runners-up spot and BAGCAT award in the Girls’ 12 years age group.

Lily’s Sherwood & Nova Centurion team mate, Declan Smith (14) added to his first weekend’s successes, taking a superb gold and team regional champion title, swimming as part of the Nova Centurion A 4 x 200m freestyle relay team, as well as qualifying for the finals of the Boys’ 13/14 year 100m breaststroke and 200m freestyle.

Declan’s overall points tally of 2,082 earned him a BAGCAT award for placing seventh overall in the Boys’ 14 years age group.

Owen Ottaway (12) added to his Midland Championship successes with Nova Centurion, taking bronze in the Boys’ 10/12yr 200m breaststroke, as well as qualifying second quickest for the final of the 200m backstroke, which he subsequently declined to swim to focus on the tough 1500m freestyle event later in the day, in which he placed sixth.

Owen’s overall tally of 1,696 points earned him a BAGCAT award for placing sixth overall in the Boys’ 12 years age group.

Proving that it’s not always about titles, medals and times, the Sherwood SC and Nova successes continued with individual achievements being celebrated by 11-year-olds Bailey Ward, Rebecca Hyatt and Abbie Scott and 13-year-olds Owen Wakefield, Evie Timms, Holly Whitehead and Jade Young.

Competing as part of the City of Sheffield squad in the North East Region, Sherwood SC’s Elliot Clogg (14) added another two individual regional champion titles to his tally, achieving gold in the Boys’ 13/14yr 200m backstroke and 200m individual medley.

Bizarrely, following a problem with the Ponds Forge pool before the start of the second day of competition, the second day’s events had to be abandoned and are now re-scheduled to take place in Sunderland next weekend.

Maintaining their Midland Championship successes from the first weekend of competition Sutton Swimming Club’s swimmers added more medals to the Nova Centurion squad total with 14-year-old Neve Fergie taking a superb silver as part of the Nova Centurion A 4 x 100m medley relay team, narrowly missing out on gold by just half a second.

Neve also swam as part of Nova Centurion’s 4 x 100 freestyle relay team, placing sixth out of the 30 teams entered, and qualified for the final of the Girls’ 13/14yr individual 200m freestyle where she improved upon her existing National Age Group Championship qualifying time in this event, swimming an impressive 2:09.82.

Younger sister Mia Fergie (12) took a great bronze medal in the Girls’ 11/12yr 100m butterfly, and although just missing out on a BAGCAT, Mia swam superbly throughout the two long weekends to finally place 10th overall out of the 91 12-year-old girls taking part.

Sutton and Nova successes continued with Chloe Quinn (11), Jim Fergie (12), Sophie Bunker (14) and Chloe Peach (14) all celebrating individual achievements, including new personal best times and top 10 finishes.

Representing Sutton SC independently, Joshua Leeson (11) continued his excellent form from the first weekend to finish a superb 15th overall out of 57 in the Boys’ 11 years age group.

Joshua’s rapid progression and outstanding performances over the two weekends of competition has been recognised by Nova Centurion and Joshua joins the elite squad alongside his Sutton SC team mates from July onwards.

With a number of National Age Group Championship qualifiers, all three clubs now continue to support the Nova Centurion and City of Sheffield training schedules ahead of the National swimming showpiece that takes place in July and August at Ponds Forge in Sheffield.