STRATFORD Sharks swimmers enjoyed a busy and successful weekend.
A group of individual swimmers travelled to the Derventio Gala at Sheffield, while nine, four swimmer, teams competed in the Coventry and District Relay Gala at the Coventry Olympic Pool.
The Derventio Gala, which took place on Saturday and Sunday, drew top class swimmers from across the country but the Sharks swimmers acquitted themselves well with 34 pb performances achieved out of 40 swims.
Ten-year-old Mai Castle topped the pb count setting a better time in all of her six events - 100m, 200m and 400m freestyle, 50m breaststroke and backstroke and 200m individual medley.
Lauren Penny, in the 11-years age group, set five out of five. Starting with the 200m, 50m and 100m backstroke she followed up with improvements in the 50m and 200m freestyle.
Another 11-year-old Charlotte Cox recorded pb’s in the 200m freestyle and breaststroke.
In her specialist stroke, the breaststroke, 12-year-old Annie Cox recorded pb’s in the 50m, 100m and 200m before adding the 50m freestyle.
Twelve-year-old Seren Mahon made the earliest start on Saturday morning with a new pb in the 400m individual medley. She followed up with pb’s in the 50m and 200m butterfly and rounded it off with a new time in the 200m freestyle.
In the same age group, Lucy Griffiths set pb’s in the 50m breaststroke, 200m freestyle and 200m individual medley.
Thirteen-year-old Ailsa Gavan-McHarg competed in the very competitive 13/14 age group. Starting in the 50m backstroke, she consolidated her position in the 100m and 200m freestyle then finished off with an almost six second improvement in her long course pb in the 200m individual medley.
The two 11-year-old boys fared well. Robin Hughes set pb’s in the 200m and 400m freestyle followed by the 50m and 200m backstroke.
William Foster achieved the highest place finishes. In the 400m freestyle, his pb saw him win by over 12 seconds. He followed up with another pb to take second place in the 100m breaststroke. Then late on Sunday afternoon, he again showed his winning form in the 200m freestyle.
The Coventry and District Relays took place on Saturday evening with Sharks competing against six other teams from Midlands clubs.
For many of the younger swimmers it was their first competitive outing in the 50m Olympic pool.
However, the 9-year-old boys’ and girls’ teams were not affected by this lack of experience.
In the opening race, the girls A team of Madeline Hoare, Ella Vickers, Grace Hale and Caitlin Craddock won the 4 x 50m freestyle relay by a clear 16 seconds.
They followed up in the second half of the gala with a win, by the same margin, in the 4 x 50m medley relay.
Not to be outdone, the girls B team of Evie Thompson, Abbie Wootton, Isabelle Hirst and Laura Griffiths won their 4 x 50m freestyle race again with a 16 second margin.
The 9-year-old boys team of Benedict Jones, Tom Beamer, Andrew Hall and Nick Evans were beaten into second place by just four tenths of a second but were 18 seconds clear of the third place team in the 4 x 50m freestyle. In the 4 x 50m medley rela, they reversed the placings, winning by nine seconds.
Competition in the older age groups produced much closer finishes.
In the 10-12 years age group both the girls teams came fourth in the 4 x 50m freestyle.
Kathryn Lythgo, Chloe Hale, Sophie Wootton, and Hannah Willis in the A team race, were just three seconds behind the winner, while the B team of Ysabelle Caswell, Erin Freeman, Isabelle Callaghan and Elinor Bird were even closer at just 2.3 seconds off the pace.
The boys A team of Oliver Quinn, Lewis Heal, Seb Hopper and Gregor Kelling plus the B team of Owen Lawton, Dan Malone, Kit Gallagher and Johnathan Furey finished fourth.
Another fourth place came for the 13/14 years girls A team of Lucy Castle, Alice Quinn, Caroline Furey and Arabella King in the 4 x 50m freestyle.
The other two A teams Ed Caswell, Jack Leeson, Josh Martindale and Austin Plowman (13/14 age group) and Josh Walker, Josh Newman, Jacob Humphreys and Alex Helliwell (Open Group) had to be content with fifth places.
In the second half of the gala, the 10-12-years age group teams were reorganised for the 4 x 50m medley relays.
The A team of Chloe Hale, Elinor Bird, Erin Freeman and Kathryn Lythgo and the B team of Sophie Wootton, Ysabelle Caswell, Isabelle Callaghan and Hannah Willis improved their positions to third.
The A team of Dan Malone, Owen Lawton, Gregor Kelling and Oliver Quinn finished 6th, while the B team of Seb Hopper, Johnathan Furey, Lewis Heal and Kit Gallagher were fourth.
This busy weekend saw some outstanding pb improvements and provided some valuable experience for the younger swimmers in the Sharks squad.
The winning nine year old boys team. From the left - Nick Evans, Tom Beamer, Ben Jones and Andrew Hall. Photo supplied by Joy Beamer (s)
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