THIRTY-FOUR Stratford Sharks juniors competed against six other clubs in the Nuneaton Friendly Gala on Saturday.
It was a useful warm-up for the Nuneaton Junior League which starts in April and Sharks rose to the challenge by setting 20 pb’s, two club records and securing fourth place overall.
In the opening event, ten-year-old Madeleine Hoare continued her recent form by winning the 50m freestyle in a new personal best (pb) and club record.
Nine-year-old Laura Griffiths followed up by winning the 25m breaststroke. In the equivalent boys’ races, ten-year-old Benedict Jones and nine-year-old Kieran Speechly recorded pb performances.
The 4 x 25m medley relay events always provide exciting races and the 11-year-olds did not disappoint. Both the girls’ team, of Lauren Penny, Isabelle Callaghan, Mai Castle and Charlotte Clements, and the boys’ team, of Dominic Furey, Owen Lawton, Robin Hughes and Felix Gallagher, swam split times either close to or better than their pb’s for the various strokes.
Twelve-year-olds Ysabelle Caswell and Sebastian Hopper both set new pb’s in their respective 50m backstroke events, while in the ten-year-old age group, Hannah Lythgo pulled off an excellent win and Nick Evans set a new pb to take third in the 50m breaststroke.
More outstanding performances by the nine-year0old girls’ team of Abigail Boff, Laura Griffiths, Isabelle Hirst and Isabella Walters secured another fine win in the 4 x 25m medley event.
Morgan Evans, Kieran Speechley, Tom Beamer and Luke Palmer swam valiantly to finish fifth.
Kathryn Lythgo was a close third in the 12-year-olds’ 50m butterfly, while just fraction of a second covered the swimmers in the equivalent boys’ race with Will Foster sixth.
Madeline Hoare set the standard in the backstroke leg of the 4 x 25m medley which Hannah Lythgo (breaststroke), Jessica Martindale (butterfly) and Caitlin Craddock (freestyle) followed up with excellent performances to triumph.
Despite three best split times the boy’s team of Nick Evans, Owain Jones, Benedict Jones and Andrew Hall could only finish fifth.
The 11-year-olds 50m backstroke saw Lauren Penny take a strong third place in the girls’ event and Owen Lawton set a new pb.
The nine-year-olds girls’ team of Boff, Griffiths, Hirst and Walters enjoyed another outstanding win in the 4 x 25m freestyle, while the boy’s team of Tom Beamer, Kieran Speechly, Guy Joseph and Luke Palmer swam well to finish third.
Lucy Griffiths was fourth and Dan Malone set a new pb in the 12-year-old 50m breaststroke.
Excellent times in each leg helped the ten-year-old girls’ team of Madeline Hoare, Hannah Lythgo, Isobel Foster and Caitlin Craddock secure another win in the 4 x 25m freestyle.
Six more individual events, at the half way point, produced three more pb’s and top three places.
In the 11-year-olds’ 50m butterfly, Isabelle Callaghan slashed her pb to claim third as did Robin Hughes. In the nine-year-olds 25m butterfly, Isabelle Hirst and Tom Beamer both set new pb’s, the former also finishing second.
Twelve-year-old duo William Foster and Kathryn Lythgo finished first and third respectively in the 50m freestyle.
Two girls from each age group swam in the all years 8 x 25m freestyle. Abigail Boff, Laura Griffiths, Jessica Martindale, Isobel Foster, Mai Castle, Charlotte Clements, Ysabelle Caswell and Kathryn Lythgo produced some excellent split times to finish third.
Swimming anther pb and club record, Madeline Hoare enjoyed another victory in the 50m backstroke.
Two pb’s followed in the nine-year-old 25m freestyle for Tom Beamer and Laura Griffiths, while Isabelle Callaghan set another pb in the 50m breaststroke.
The boys all years event saw Luke Palmer, Guy Joseph, Nick Evans, Benedict Jones, Robin Hughes, Owen Lawton, William Foster and Dan Malone gain a hard earned fourth place.
Hannah Lythgo and Benedict Jones set new pb’s in the 10 years 25m butterfly, while Morgan Evans and Isabelle Hirst did the same in the nine- -year-olds 25m backstroke, the latter finishing second.
Charlotte Clements and Robin Hughes finished sixth and third respectively in the final individual event, the 11 years 50m freestyle.
The final event at a team gala always produces ear splitting support from the gallery with a boy and girl from each age group swimming in the mixed all years 8 x 25m relay.
Laura Griffiths, Tom Beamer, Madeleine Hoare, Nick Evans, Isabelle Callaghan, Robin Hughes. Kathryn Lythgo and William Foster responded to the encouragement to finish an excellent third.
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