Thursday 13 December 2012 Updated: 13/12 15:14
STRATFORD Sharks clinched promotion to Division One of the Arena National League following another impressive display in the third round at the new ARC Leisure Centre in Matlock, Derbyshire.
With all seven teams chasing promotion the competition was fierce but seven personal best performances (pb’s) and 19 top three places contributed to a fourth place finish which, with wins in the previous two rounds, was enough to secure promotion.
As in the previous round, Ailsa Gavan McHarg started with a pb in the 200m individual medley but was beaten into fifth place.
Three second places in the eight age-group relays that followed proved the quality of the competition.
In the 4 x 50m medley relay, 13-year-olds Sophie Wootton, Elinor Bird and Seren Mahon all bettered their split times before Kathryn Lythgo secured a hard earned second place.
Another second place followed from the 15-year-old girls in the 4 x 50m freestyle. Lucy Castle, Ailsa Gavan McHarg and Sophie Wootton stayed in touch with the lead for Kathryn Lythgo to swim the final leg inside her best time and take the second place.
Sandy Forysiak, William Foster and Josh Martindale swam strongly to secure a leading position in the 15 years 4 x 50m freestyle relay for Ed Caswell to swim inside his best split time to grab second place.
The 32 individual events were hotly contested with Sharks managing just 13 top three places in this round compared to 18 in the previous one.
In the 11-year-old group, Madeleine Hoare secured excellent second places in the 50m backstroke and 50m freestyle.
A new pb in the 13-year-old 100m breaststroke saw Will Foster claim the first of his wins. Foster and Kathryn Lythgo won their 100m freestyle races and the latter was also third in the 100m breaststroke.
Ailsa Gavan McHarg also finished third in the 15-year-old 100m butterfly.
Eleanor Vickers and Michael Allen set new pb’s in the 11-year-old butterfly, the latter securing second place, while Sophie Wootton honed her pb in the 13-year-old 100m backstroke.
Lucy Castle and Sandy Forysiak both finished second in the 15-year-old 100m freestyle, while Chris Clements’ second place in the 13-year-old butterfly required a pb performance.
Lucy Tame chopped more than a half second off her pb in the open 100m butterfly before finishing third in the 100m freestyle.
The 11/under girls team of Hoare, Clayton, Vickers and Hannah Lythgo started the final section of the gala with an excellent second place in the 4 x 50m medley relay.
The boys team of Foster, Clements, Hughes and Kelling pushed hard to take third place in the 4 x 50m freestyle relay.
Gavan McHarg, Tame, Kathryn Lythgo, Mahon, Wootton and Castle completed the gala with a clear second place in the ladies 6 x 50m freestyle.
Wins in the previous two rounds of this competition proved invaluable in securing an overall third place which enabled promotion to be celebrated.
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