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Thursday 27 December 2012 Updated: 03/01 10:49
THIRTY-nine swimmers from the newly-formed Team Mercia performed well in Northampton ASC’s Winter Festival Meet at Corby’s 50m international pool.
The swimmers, buoyed by confidence boosting record-breaking relay success in the Midland Short Course Championships at the beginning of December, travelled in good heart to face strong opposition from elite clubs such as Loughborough University, Nova Centurion and City of Coventry.
Formed only a few months ago, Team Mercia offers additional training and competitive opportunities to the most talented swimmers from five participating clubs in Blythe Barracudas, Kingsbury Aquarius, Leamington Spa, Nuneaton & Bedworth and Stratford Sharks.
Thirteen-year-old Thomas Stacey got the team off to a spectacular start by producing an outsanding swim in the gruelling boys’ 1500m freestyle.
He sheared over 17 seconds off his entry time, achieved 2nd place in his age group and most significantly comfortably obtained a national qualifying time.
Emily Cutler followed with an inspirational swim in the girls’ 800m freestyle, claiming Team Mercia’s first win at the meet.
Taking the gold medal, Emily easily achieved a district qualifying time and took some seven seconds off her personal best (pb).
Emily continued to demonstrate excellent form in other freestyle events, claiming her second victory in the girls’ 14-year-old 100m event and 3rd place and a new pb in the 200m, both events having been swum within Midland district qualifying times.
In the same 200m freestyle event, other Team Mercia swimmers showed excellent form. Eleven-year-old Mya Aitkin was 3rd in her age group, while Madeleine Hoare (10), Megan Gibson (12), Felicity Dempster (13) and Stephanie Shilton (16) all achieved Midland district qualifying times (MDQTs).
This group of girls continued their successes throughout the weekend in their respective age groups.
Mya won the girls’ 100m butterfly event before finishing 3rd in the gruelling 400m individual medley and 4th in both 400m and 100m freestyle.
Madeleine was 3rd in the 50m freestyle, while Felicity was 4th in the same event and 3rd in the 400m freestyle.
Megan Gibson enjoyed some outstanding swims with victory in the 200m backstroke to which she added 2nd place in the 100m backstroke and 5th in the 200m individual medley. She swam personal bests and MDQTs in all three events.
Amongst the boys, Thomas Stacey’s dominance continued throughout the weekendby claiming second place in his age group in the 400m freestyle, 3rd in the 100m butterfly and 4th in 200m freestyle, each swim being within the MDQT.
He also trimmed his 50m freestyle pb, with team-mate Ethan Barnes also swimming a pb and finishing just five-hundredths of a second behind him.
Other notable swims came from 16-year-old Adam Raynes who took 3rd place in his age group in the boys’ 100m breaststroke and 11-year-old Robin Hughes who finished second in his closely contested 400m freestyle heat with a personal best which narrowly missed the district qualifying time.
With one national qualifying time and a raft of Midland qualifying times achieved over the weekend in what was only the team’s second competitive outing, Team Mercia is expected to go from strength to strength over the coming season.
Backed by a strong team of experienced coaches, led by Terry Freeman, Team Mercia is set to make its mark in Midlands and National swimming.
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