Four medals for Sutton’s improving swimming star Woodhall

Matthew Woodhall with his collection of medals.
Matthew Woodhall with his collection of medals.

Pride of place went to the ever-improving Matthew Woodhall when youngsters from Sutton Swimming Club took the East Midlands Regional Championships by storm.

A total of 12 swimmers from the club completed in 62 individual heat races and secured an astonishing tally of 34 new long-course, personal-best (PB) times. Tbey also contested 14 individual finals.

But it was Woodhall who emerged as the top Sutton swimmer of the weekend because he returned home with a medal haul of one silver and three bronzes.

Matthew is the son of club coach Chris Woodhall, who said he was delighted to be at poolside to see him enjoy so much success. But he was also pleased for all the other Sutton youngsters, particularly Harry Wakelin and Emma Peel, who were at the championships representing Sutton directly, rather than the elite Nova Centurion county squad.

The versatile Matthew competed in the boys’ 13-year-olds’ age group and began by finishing third fastest in the heats of the 100m butterly to qualify for the final. He soon made his second final by finishing fourth in the 50m backstroke heats before clocking a PB by coming home fifth in the heats of the 400m individual medley and then making his third final when finishing third fastest in the heats of the 200m backstroke.

As the finals came thick and fast, he bagged a silver in the 100m butterfly in a new best time by more than two seconds, and then bronzes in the 50m backstroke and in the 200m backstroke, again with PBs. The following day, he qualified for two more finals, contesting three in all. He collected his third bronze in the 100m backstroke, which was sandwiched by fourth places in the 400m freestyle, thanks to another best time, and the 50m butterfly.

Just missing out on the medals in the boys’ 11-and-12-year-olds’ age group was Michael Senior, who claimed two fourth spots in the finals of the 100m breaststroke and the 200m breaststroke, where he improved his heat time by nearly five seconds for a new PB.

It was a similar story for Keira Dobbs, who finished fourth in a new PB in the final of the 100m breaststroke in the girls’ 11-and-12-year-olds’ age group.

Several other swimmers reached finals, including Thomas Polley, the youngest Sutton swimmer ever to qualify for these championships. Other debutants included Callum Peel, Adam Read and Owen Wing.