Monday, 3 March 2014

The Devons: 1-2 March 2014

The calm before the storm
Exeter swimmers took 27 medals at the second full weekend of the Devon County Age Group Championships in Plymouth’s Life Centre. Regional and national qualifying times were achieved in all strokes, thanks to superb performances against some of the toughest competition in the country.

The club’s current group of 15-year-old men, who reached national finals in freestyle and medley relays last summer, continued their dominance. In the 100m butterfly, they achieved a clean sweep, with gold, silver and bronze going to Tom Downs, Freddie Fearnley and Liam White respectively. The 100m breaststroke saw Liam touch the wall just ahead of Tom for gold, and Liam demonstrated his versatility across strokes and distances by taking gold in 400m and 200m freestyle as well. The final member of the quartet, James Wamsley, proved too fast for his age group in the 100m breaststroke heats, and was promoted to the Championship final against older swimmers, where he finished 5th.

This is what warm-up looks like
Other medals for Exeter men went to Sam Criddle (12), who took bronze in the 200m and 400m freestyle, Tom Price (12) with bronze in the 100m breaststroke, and Joe Crispin (16+) with silver in the 400m freestyle. Joe qualified for the Championship final in the 100m fly, where he achieved a personal best and picked up a silver medal. D. J. Wooldridge just missed a Championship medal in a closely-contested 200m freestyle. Jack Pearson (16), a newcomer to the club, was another to be promoted out of his age group to the Championship finals for 200m and 400m freestyle.
Having been narrowly outperformed by the men (12 medals to 11) in the first weekend of the Devons, Exeter’s women put matters right during this second weekend by outscoring them 15-12. Leading the way was Emily Eveling (12), with one gold (200m butterfly), three silvers (200m freestyle, 200m individual medley and 200m backstroke), and a bronze (100m breaststroke). In the process, she achieved new qualifying times for this summer’s national finals in Sheffield.
Also striking gold was Rebecca Anderson (15) in the 200m freestyle, an event which produced bronze for Olivia Passmore (11) and silver for Sammy Gray (16+). In the 200m individual medley, Olivia took bronze, while Millie Price (15) finished 4th in the Championship final. Millie was also moved up to the 100m breaststroke Championship final, where she came 7th, after a strong performance in her heats.
Aliyah and Emily
Aliyah-Mai Webb landed two silvers, in 100m breaststroke and 200m butterfly, while 200m fly was also strong for the 11-year-old age group where Milly Kendall and Grace James took silver and bronze. In the 100m backstroke, there was silver for Rhiannon Loveman (15), and silver also for Olivia Burrow with a feisty performance in her first age-group final.
Head Coach Jo John professed herself very pleased with results so far. She attributes the huge number of personal best times to hard training, and expects swimmers to be even faster when they taper before major events like regional and national championships.  

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