Monday, 17 March 2014

The Devons: 15-16 March

Exeter swimmers won 24 medals in the last full weekend of the Devon County Age Group Championships at Plymouth's Life Centre. Medley events accounted for more than half of them, demonstrating the swimmers' versatility and stamina. Over 100m, there were silvers for Olivia Passmore (11), Emily Eveling (12), Alec White (12) and Tom Downs (15), as well as bronze medals for Aliyah-Mai Webb (13), Millie Price (15) and Luca Riezzo (10). Special mention to Luca for taking a medal from an outside lane. Olivia and Emily doubled up with silvers in the 400m IM, while Aliyah and Tom struck gold, and Sam Criddle (12) and Liam White (15) took bronze.

Liam and Tom
As they had done since the championships began, Liam and Tom continued their battle throughout the weekend. Liam won gold just ahead of Tom in the 200m backstroke, and that story was almost repeated in the 100m backstroke where Liam took gold and Tom bronze. In the same event, Liam's brother, Alec, came third for his age group, as did Sam Criddle over the 200m distance. George Fearnley (18) qualified for the championship final, where he narrowly missed a medal.

There was success for the women in the 100m butterfly:  Emily Eveling and Sammy Gray (16) were winners, and Grace James (11) took silver. In the 200m breaststroke, Olivia Passmore won bronze and Aliyah-Mai Webb silver for their age categories, while Millie Price qualified for the championship final as the fastest 15-year-old, and finished 6th overall.

With some long-distance events still to come, Exeter has already won over 70 medals in this year's county championships---an extraordinarily impressive achievement. Head Coach Jo John is confident that the performance bodes well for the first large meet of the season, when swimmers go to Sheffield at the beginning of April. National qualifying times for swimmers over 14 can only be swum in a 50m pool, which rules out short course times from county championships. However, Jo remains hopeful that the club will be adding to the 7 swimmers who have already achieved national times: 'the swimmers are all training very hard on speed, endurance and skills, and providing we can attain some further water time to aid their training they will fulfil their potential and the club will continue to grow.'  

Well done to swimmers on a fantastic performance at the county championships this year!

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