Thursday, 21 January 2016
Competing against the best in the county, 25
Exeter swimmers won medals during the first weekend of the Devon Championships. With five more days of swimming ahead, the club already looks set to surpass last year's impressive total.
Medals came in all age groups, distances and strokes. In the first final of the competition, Keely Ware (11) took gold in the 200m IM, and later added gold in 200m fly along with silver in 400m free and bronze in 100m free. Her friend Jolie Sellek helped to ensure that Exeter dominated that age-group by finishing with two silvers, in 100m free and 50m back.
The 13-year-old girls' category proved just as productive. Charlotte Emery led the way, with gold in 200m IM and 400m free, silver in 100m free, and a time so fast in 200m fly that she qualified for the super final, where she finished 7th. Milly Kendall won two silvers (200m fly, 50m back) and two bronzes (100m free, 200m fly), while Amelia Ashelford picked up bronze in 50m back.
There were three medalists, as well, among the 14-year-old girls. Emily Eveling took silver in 100m free and bronze in 400m free, while also qualifying for two super finals, where she came 2nd (200m IM) and 4th (400m free). Another super finalist was Olivia Burrow in the 50m back, where she finished 4th, and she took silver in the age-group final for 200m IM. Grace James knocked 6 seconds off her heat time as she claimed bronze in 200m fly.
The older girls shared the glory. Aliyah-Mai Webb (16) swam brilliantly all weekend to win the super final of 200m IM (just ahead of Emily), and to finish second and third in the super finals of 200m fly and 50m back respectively. Aliyah was joined as a championship winner by Katie Townsend (16), who took what seemed (at least to the spectators!) like a fairly comfortable gold in the 50m back super final, and came 7th in the 200m IM super final; she was also 2nd in her age group for 100m free. Rebecca Gibbins (15) wasn't far away from gold as she took silvers in her age-group finals for 200m fly and 50m back.
The boys matched the girls medal for medal. Enzo Robertson-Moro, in the youngest age category, swam consistently well to take gold in 200m IM and 400m free, as well as bronze in 50m back. In the next age group, Archie Tyers also won the 400m free, with silvers in 50m back and 100m free, while Liam Jordan came second in 200m IM. Luca Riezzo (13) swam an impressive personal best to win bronze in the 100m free.
One of the swims of the weekend came from Joe Day (15) in 200m fly, who finished so far ahead of his age-group rivals in the heats that he qualified for the super final, where he came 8th. That final was won by our club captain, DJ Wooldridge, with Tom Downs taking bronze. 200m fly was a strong event, as well, for Luke Owen (14), who claimed silver, and for Charlie Kendall and Adam Edwards, who took gold and bronze respectively in the 16-and-over final.
DJ and Tom also qualified for the 200m IM super final, where DJ finished 3rd and Tom 7th.Tom took bronze in his age group for 50m back; while DJ was overall champion in 400m free, ahead of Liam White in silver. The Whites again demonstrated their backstroke excellence, with Liam finishing 2nd in the 50m back super final, and Alec sharing the junior championship trophy in the same event. Liam also touched the wall 4th in the 200m IM super final, and Alec claimed bronze with a big personal best in his 200m IM age-group final.
The wealth of talent among the older boys was demonstrated by Ollie Palmer, whose brilliant swim in the 200m IM age-group final very nearly took gold, while Will Amey came 7th in the 50m back super final and rounded off an amazingly successful weekend for the club with gold in 100m free.