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Somerset ASA Championships & Age Group Competitions 2020 Day 1 (25m)

2020's short course sessions at Millfield on 19 January offered up a celebration of 100m IM and relay swimming.

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Boys 100m IM

The 16 Yr prelims prefaced what would turn out to be one of the events of the day as Millfield's Wyatt Walsh broke Zak Aitchison's 2016 Senior Mark of 59.53 by 0.03s, thanks in part to being chased by but finishing 0.09s ahead of Taunton's Dylan Gallagher and 0.24s ahead of school team mate Calvin Fry. However the final had spectators off their seats as Calvin Fry stepped up to lead throughout and down Wyatt's heat time, resetting the senior mark to 57.78s. The race saw Millfield's second placed David O'Loughlin also go under the interim mark with 59.04 and Dylan Gallagher (59.96s) went sub 60 again for bronze.

There was a touch of deja vu for Taunton teenager Oscar Barlow in the 2020 15 Yr final. Back in 2017's last 100m IM, he had to settle for silver by 2.62s. Competing this year in the 15 Yr age group, Barlow (1:03.16) repeated his silver medal placing after coming up against our new Junior Champion Solomon Williams (Millfield, 1:00.28) who produced two 1 minute swims. Fifth when a 12 Yr old, Storm Munday (Millfield, 1:06.21) now claimed 15 Yr bronze.

Back in the last 100m IM swim at 2017's Meet, Finley Hunter-Clarke was one of two Street swimmers in our 10-11 Yr final and had placed sixth. Now the Street racer has won 2020's 14 Yr gold with a controlled 1:08.42 swim. Millfield team mates Ashton Gifford-Groves (1:09.25) and Leo Ferguson (1:09.27) finished in the top 3.

Harvey Pike was the other Street swimmer in that 2017 10-11 Yr final - and the youngest - eventually placing fifth. This year he has clocked 1:08.33 to win 13 Yr gold. A 0.58s improvement over the first 50m contributed to Adam White (Millfield, 1:09.10) reversing his third placed heat ranking to make sure of a silver medal ahead of Harry Ryder (Taunton Deane, 1:09.92) who had to settle for bronze.

Just 0.02s had separated Luca Gregory (Taunton Deane) over the first 50m in the prelims from fastest qualifier by 0.9s Riley Price of Clevedon. And when Price increased his halfway lead to 0.43s in the 12 Yr final, it took a determined effort by Gregory to more than make up the deficit as he clocked 1:17.34 to take the win by 0.8s. Riley (1:18.14) finished with silver and Zachary Powell (AST Burnham, 1:20.22) bronze.

Theodore Perrin (Yeovil, 1:22.14) notched up a first individual win in 2020's 10-11 age group by beating fastest qualifier and silver medal winner Caleb Gifford-Groves (Millfield, 1:23.59) whose team mate Andrew Towers (Millfield, 1:27.90) placed third.

Girls 100m IM

Charlotte Emery (Taunton Deane, 1:04.59) improved 0.5s on her heat swim to record the sixth fastest time by a British 17 Yr old over the last 12 months and become our new Senior Champion. The consolations for Keynsham's second placed Georgia Gussey (1:05.48) were not only going 1.22s faster in the final but also recording the third fastest time by a 16 Yr Brit over the same period. Madeleine Soper (Weston-super-Mare, 1:08.74) earned bronze.

0.31s separated the eventual medal winners after 50m of the 15 Yr final but it was ANT's swimmers who earned the 1-2. Lara Turner (1:05.93) overtook Leah Evans (1:06.68) and is our new Junior Champion. Turner, winner of her age group final in 2017 as a 12 year old, not only in 2020 lowered Shilton's Junior mark of 1:06.02 set in our 2015 Championships, her latest swim was also the fifth fastest by a 15 Yr old Brit over the last 12 months. Millfield's Sofia Knight (1:08.02) placed third.

A stronger last 50m performance by Frankie Hatchard (Millfield, 1:07.18) seized 14 Yr gold as she overtook fastest qualifier and winner of the 10-11 Yr event when it was last swum short course in 2017, Jessica Lawton (Keynsham, 1:07.26). Chloe Bown (Taunton Deane, 1:07.41) almost made up for the 1.49s deficit at 50m, finishing just 0.15s further back. All three medal swinning swims in the final made the top 10 fastest by Brits in the age group over the last 12 months.

Isabel Blackhurst (Weston-super-Mare, 1:09.32) is atop the British ranking swims of the last 12 months for her age group when she powered home to capture 13 Yr gold. Theoni Kane (Bridgwater, 1:13.93) and Phoebe Olesen (Bath Dolphin, 1:16.65) maintained their prelim place rankings to take silver and bronze respectively.

Millfield's Eva Lawson demonstrated her intent to take the 12 Yr title by setting the fastest time by a Brit in her age group over the last 12 months in the prelims - 1:11.55. And so it proved in the final as Lawson (1:11.84) beat team mate Augusta Maddox (1:14.45) and Eloise Cash (Clevedon 1:19.77) who had both improved on their heat times.

In the 10-11 Yr prelims, Ecaterina Rizescu had pulled away after 50m to clock 1:16.95 - the fastest time recorded by an 11 Yr old Brit over the last 12 months. Just 0.1s separated the fastest qualifier from her Street team mate Alesha Nisbet halfway into the 10-11 Yr final. Rizescu again demonstrated her potential by winning gold only 0.03s slower than in her heat swim. That left Nisbet (1:20.55) to claim silver ahead of Laura Ball (Keynsham, 1:22.23)

Girls 4x50m Freestyle Relays

Just 0.01s separated our new Open Champions Millfield 'A' from top seeds Weston-super-Mare 'A'. A thrilling last 50m saw Weston's Isabel Blackhurst almost claw back a cumulative 0.43s deficit after swims by Millfield's Mia Phiri, Emily Gallow and Rhiannon Evans. But Marie-Lys Tanguy hung on to ensure their 'A' team would take the title in 1:50.63. Taunton Deane 'A' (1:51.89) earned bronze.

The 15&U age group saw fine margins separate  Millfield's 'A' and 'B' teams throughout the second heat. But the 'A' quartet of  Darcy Highmore, Teni Ogunlesi, Greta McMahon and Mae Singer (1:52.29) held off the challenge of their own 'B' team who took silver with 1:52.60. Weston 'A' stayed in contention clocking 1:53.61 for bronze.

We often say our Championships offer up superb opportunities for officials to learn their craft and their keen eyes saw another finger tip finish in the 13-14 Yr age group. Millfield's Georgina Hawkins, Eleanor Broughton, Philippa Charleson and Sienna Franklyn-Miller proved that 'B' is just a letter when you're capable of swimming 1:57.40. Franklyn-Miller touched the pads 0.28s ahead of Isabel Blackhurst (Weston) with Keynsham just 0.48s back to take home bronze. 

'These Girls Can' might well be the motto for Millfield 'A' as  Augusta Maddox, Maia Delin, Elis Davies and Eva Lawson  not only captured 10-12 Yr gold in style but enjoyed a 2:05.79 finish, 4.79s faster than their Boys' team's winning time. Clevedon 'A' (2:14.84) came out on top in the hunt for silver ahead of Taunton Deane 'A' (2:15.35).

Boys 4x50m Freestyle Relays

Clement Kubica extended the lead Sean Tsai had given Millfield over Taunton Deane and team mates Calvin Fry and Wyatt Walsh made sure the School's 'A' team would secure the Open title with 1:36.84. Taunton A's 1:38.66 earned silver and Weston A's 1:40.17 bronze.

Millfield A (1:44.43) - Tom Dailley, Rigas Lambakis, Solomon Williams and Conan Cunningham - led thoughout to win 15&U age group gold ahead of Millfield 'B' (1:45.72) and Clevedon 'A' (1:53.33).

There was a Millfield 1-2 in the 13-14 Yr age group, but only just. Millfield 'A' (1:49.25) - Ethan Payne, Leo Ferguson, Ashton Gifford-Groves and Jonathan Turck - combined to enjoy a comfortable victory by 7.52s. Street (1:56.99) made a determined challenge for silver, finishing 0.22s behind Millfield 'B'.

Millfield 'A' (2:10.58) - Oscar Ryland-Day, Jack McMeekin, Dexter Townsend and Oliver Tomlinson - won the 10-12 Yr category finishing ahead of Taunton Deane 'A' (2:14.96). And the bronze medals are heading to Burnham-on-Sea. Zachary Powell touched the pads for the Academy Swim Team (2:17.79), 2.28s ahead of BoS SC.

Girls 4x50m Medley Relays

Just as Millfield had lined up their star quartet in the Boys Open final, Taunton Deane did likewise in the Girls equivalent. Taunton's A team of Holly Hudghton, Chloe Bown, Skye McLaughlin and Charlotte Emery had spectators on their feet as they surged to a sub 2 minute gold with 1:59.76. Millfield 'A' (2:02.59) took the silver and Weston-super-Mare 'A' (2:07.47) bronze medal placings.

Weston-super-Mare may only have entered one team in the 15&U age group but they made their performance count. Laura-Ann Marshman, Chloe Soverall and Imogen Bamber saw their early lead overturned by a strong Taunton Deane quartet but the youngest of the eventual gold medallists,  Isabel Blackhurst, clawed it back, zooming in to stop the clock on 2:05.44. Taunton ended up 1.15s behind after Sofia Johnson held off the late challenge of Millfield A's Teni Ogunlesi. The School placed third with 2:06.83.

Millfield took full advantage of the opportunity to field several teams with four finishing in the top seven of the 13-14 Yr age group. Their 'A' quartet of Frankie Hatchard, Lucy Buckingham, Zahra Davies and Nicole De Pree clocked 2:04.00 to win gold and overcome an early challenge from Weston-super-Mare (2:07.12) and Millfield B (2:10.24) who placed second and third. 

Despite Olivia Barlow helping Taunton Deane recover most of Millfield's initial lead of 5.12s eastablished by Eva Lawson, the school quartet of Lawson, Sydney Boyde, Augusta Maddox and Maia Delin (2:21.56) finished comfortable 10-12 Yr winners ahead of Taunton Deane A (2:26.29) and Keynsham A (2:32.17). Testimony to Taunton Deane's strength in depth in the age group was their ability to field three of the top seven of fifteen teams competing.

Boys 4x50m Medley Relays

Lining up against Millfield A's speedy quartet in the Open final didn't phase Taunton Deane who managed to keep in close proximity of David O'Loughlin, William Mitchell and Sean Tsai as Clement Kubica brought the School another win in 1:44.09. Taunton (1:47.38) finished almost 3s ahead of Keynsham in third place.

Millfield A (1:54.26) - Connor Meyers, Richard Towers, Solomon Williams, Tom Dailley - progressively widened their lead over the 'B' team mates (2:00.14) to win the 15&U gold. Clevedon enjoyed a third placed 2:04.66 finish ahead of Taunton Deane.

Millfield's 'A' and 'B' teams enjoyed a 1-2 in the 13-14 Yr age group. Ethan Payne blasted out of the blocks with 29.50 handing a lead of over a second to Ashton Gifford-Groves which he went on to almost double before Leo Ferguson and Joseph Box brought their 'A' team home in 2:02.33. Millfield 'B' (2:04.91) and Taunton Deane 'A' (2:11.62) cam second and third.

Jack McMeekin surged into an early lead for Millfield 'A''s 10-12 Yr quartet, handing over to team mates Caleb Gifford-Groves, Oliver Tomlinson and Oscar Ryland-Day who made sure of the gold medal by finishing in 2:27.65. Taunton Deane 'A' (2:34.78) and Millfield 'B' (2:39.38) placed second and third. 

Mixed 4x50m Freestyle Relays

The earlier relays had shown a titanic effort would be needed to win this year's 15&Over title. And so it proved as Sean Tsai moved Millfield A's M-F-F-M combo up from fifth to first (1:42.61) in the final leg. Weston too had set up as M-F-F-M (1:43.34) and after a hard fought battle secured silver by 0.24s from Keynsham 'A'.

Millfield made winning medals appear as easy as A-B-C as they enjoyed a clean sweep in the 14&U age group. But that belies all the hard work that goes into coaching, training and preparations. Their 'A' team (1:49.88) - Ethan Payne, Frankie Hatchard, Ashton Gifford-Groves and Nicole De Pree - comfortably added another gold after the School's Mixed Medley win. Their 'B' and 'C' freestyle teams clocked 1:54.09 and 1:55.95 respectievly for silver and bronze. And the School's 'D' and 'E' teams also finished in the top 8.  

Mixed 4x50m Medley Relays

Both Millfield's and Taunton Deane's 'A' team had lined up in M-M-F-F order for their 15&O race and in another closely fought battle David O'Loughlin, William Mitchell, Ffion Rees and Emily Gallow clocked 1:52.99 to beat Taunton by 0.65s. Weston-super-Mare 'A' (1:56.00) had their own battle for bronze, finishing just 0.27s ahead of Keynsham. 

Millfield produced four of the top 6 14&U teams and enjoyed a clean sweep of the medals. Millfield A (2:01.66) - Ethan Payne , Lucy Buckingham, Leo Ferguson and Nicole De Pree - won gold ahead of their 'B' team (2:06.21) and 'C' team (2:08.11).


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