Somerset County Championships 2022 - D4
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Boys 400m Freestyle
The last three Championships have seen Millfield swimmers crowned Senior 400m Freestyle Champion. Motivated by the prospect of a home Commonwealth Games, favourite Will Ryley (Uni of Bath) was the only sub 4 minute swimmer entered in 2022's event at 3:59.87. Already newly crowned Senior Champion over 200m in a record time, he has adapted well to the demands that the 400m event places on his body's energy systems. Ryley produced a controlled 4:04.76 swim to add the 400m title and 18 & Over gold after taking over from early leader Wyatt Walsh (Millfield, 4:08.46) whose own fine 8.6s improvement was rewarded with silver. Lewis Maxwell (Uni of Bath 4:12.15) took the bronze.
Over 2.21s down at 200m, Taunton Deane's Oscar Barlow (4:14.00) clawed it back by 350m and went on to win another 17 Yr age group gold comfortably, finishing ahead of Millfield's Harry Hewitt (4:16.39) and Elliot Woodburn (4:23.40).
Taunton Deane's Reagan Gallagher (4:31.05) kept pace with Thomas Duddridge (4:28.91) over the first 200m but although the Millfield age group silver medallist over 800m pulled away to take the 16 Yr gold. the chase earned Gallagher silver and a drop of over 30s from 5:01.69. Joseph Martindale (Millfield 4:49.35) claimed the bronze.
Jamie Steadman continued mounting up the Club points score for Clevedon with another Junior Championship winning performance which won 15 Yr gold in 4:24.96 and improved on his 4:29.60 entry time. As in the 800m race, Ewan Pedersen (Millfield, 4:28.36) was his nearest challenger in the age group. Pederen finished with silver by just 0.14s after successfully mounting a charge over the last 100m to catch team mate Lauchlan Parrott.
The top two over 800m in the 14 Yr age group also came away with gold and silver over the 400m distance - Millfield's Reuben Alty clocking 4:30.87 and A.S.T Burnham's Zachary Powell an improvement over 2s to 4:44.10.
Another Reuben stepped up to win 13 Yr age group gold, winner of the 13 Yr 800m event Reuben Thomas (Taunton Deane, 4:58.68). He not only went sub 5 mins but enjoyed an improved time by nearly 8.5s. Second and third were Millfield swimmers Caleb Gifford-Groves (5:14.07) and Charles Robinson (5:21.37) who dropped over 24s and 21s respectively.
Conditioning the mind to will the body to continue working is a greater challenge for younger age groups. Entered on 5:39.20, a spirited performance by Taunton Deane's Tom Barnett saw him win 12 Yr age group gold in 5:07.20. The silver medal was won by Oli Hallett (Taunton Deane, 5:27.97) with a 7.27s improvement and Clevedon's 800m silver medallist Alex Parish finished over 12s faster than his entry to take bronze with 5:34.74.
Girls 100m Freestyle
The Championship records of Laura McNab (Senior 57.88 set in 2020) and Rachel Anderson (Junior 1:00.03 set in 2017) were both broken as a high quality field entered this event.
It didn't take long for the Senior record to go as Tamryn van Selm (Millfield) set 57.39 to lead the prelims ahead of Uni of Bath swimmers Jemima Hall (58.81) and Ekaterina Price (1:00.25), the latter registering a 0.67s improvement. The final saw van Selm take the Senior title and 18 & Over gold with another new mark, 57.14. Hall (58.36) and Price (59.62) claimed silver and bronze, just ahead of chasing Team Bath AS swimmers Niamh Ward 1:00.09) and Natalia Druett (1:00.49)
Darcy Highmore (Millfield) swam 60s in the prelims and then 59.80 to win 17 Yr age gold. Leah Evans (A.N.T, 1:00.18) overcame a 0.53s deficit at the turn to overtake Carys Graville (Millfield, 1:00.27) as the pair claimed silver and bronze respectively.
The 16 Yr prelim rankings went on to determine the medal placings. Taunton Deane's Chloe Bown led the qualifiers with 1:00.38 but a slower first 50m in the final combined with a faster one by nearest challenger Nicole De Pree left her with a fight for gold. All medallists went faster than the prelims with Bown touching in 1:00.19 for gold, 0.06s ahead of De Pree with Millfield team mate Georgina Hawkins third on 1:01.35.
13 Yr Gold medallist in 2020, Isabel Blackhurst (ANT) first demolished Anderson's Junior mark in the 2022 prelims with 59.52. And emphasising her racing prowess, she lowered the mark again with a sub 59s swim of 58.98. Sophie Davies (1:01.75) overcame a slower first 50m which had left her over 1.5s down on Blackhurst at the turn by overtaking Millfield team mate Sienna Franklyn-Miller (1:02.22) for silver.
Augusta Maddox (Millfield, 1:02.77) and Evie Linden (Taunton Deane 1:04.37) went one place better than their 2020 12 Yr placings now they are competing as 14 Yr olds. Mila Brooke (Millfield, 1:04.51) came third and all three improved on their prelim times.
Two years on from winning the 10-11 Age group in 1:10.52, Alesha Nisbet (Street & District) is now almost 8s faster, progressing from 1:07.60 entry time, through 1:03.28 as fastest qualifier to 13 Yr gold in the final with 1:02.77. Evie Linden (Taunton Deane, 1:04.37) and Mila Brooke (Millfield, 1:04.51) placed second and third, registering improvements of 0.27s and 0.37s respectively.
Boys 50m Backstroke
After Session 5's enthralling 100m Backstroke senior races left those watching glued to the edge of their seats, swims in Day 4's 50m distance event didn't disappoint.
The 16 Yr age group prelims saw the top five swimmers separated by just 0.23s. Clevedon's Sam Ledward was in pole position with a 0.05s improvement to 30.66 but the final instead produced a Millfield 1-2-3. Joseph Martindale had already bettered his 31.12 entry time by 0.24s in the heats before going sub 30s to 29.96 for age group gold. Ethan Payne (30.29) and a 0.46s improvement on his entry time for Richard Jenkins (30.34) earned silver and bronze respectively, with Ledward just 0.1s behind in fourth.
Next to take aim at the Senior title was Taunton Deane's Champion and record holder over 100m, Oscar Barlow, who was again facing the challenge of 100m age group silver medallist, Matthew Cairns. The Millfield swimmer was quick to establish his credentials, leading the prelims with 27.40, just 0.32s ahead of Barlow. With the 2018 senior record of 27.14 seemingly within touching distance for either man, both went all out in the 17 Yr final which Barlow won in 27.37. Cairns finished just 0.05s behind to take silver while Oliver Saunders (Team Bath AS) maintained his prelim ranking to finish third on 29.51.
That again left Barlow hanging on the result of the next final which featured his team mate and 2020 Senior Champion Ryan Whitworth as fastest qualifier of 2022's 18 & Over age group on 27.89. With second ranked Matthew Hall (27.95) not contesting the final, the challenge would come from his team mate Alex Painter whose response was a 27.86 which earned age group gold and left 0.39s of clear water from second placed Whitworth (28.25). Iain Rose (Uni of Bath, 28.34) came third. Barlow's time had withstood the onslaught and with it came another 2022 Senior title.
The only two sub 30s swimmers in the prelims, Millfield's Adam White (29.48) and Lauchlan Parrott (29.71) repeated that achievement in the 15 Yr final, both improving to 28.84 and 29.62 and earning White the Junior Championship title. Bridgwater's Max Head (31.06) improved on his fifth placed prelim rank to take bronze.
Top three in the 14 Yr age group after the prelims maintained that order as Millfield's Joshua Ulyatt (30.90) won gold, team mate Reuben Alty (31.12) silver who together with 2020's 12 Yr gold medallist Riley Price (Clevedon, 32.09) in third improved on their entry times.
Millfield trio Andrew Towers (35.32, after a 35.95 had improved from 37.83), winner over 100m Leo Mixer (35.63 after a 35.82 had bettered 36.12) and fastest qualifier Billy Chatterjee (35.71 after a 35.61 dropped from 36.10) were all rewarded for G-S-B in the 13 Yr age group.
Tom Barnett (Taunton Deane, 35.88) added gold over the 50m distance to his earlier age group win over 100m. Xander Powell (A.S.T. Burnham) improved from 37.30 to 36.70 to 36.11 and Sam Dowding (Team Bath AS) from 38.10 to 36.88 to 36.62 to complete the top three in the 12 Yr age group.
The 10-11 Yr straight final saw Millfield's James Pearce (38.40) improve 3.12s for gold, team mate John Angelosanto (40.56) take silver and James Freeman (Bridgwater, 41.74) drop 1.74s and earn bronze.
Girls 200m IM
Jemima Hall set the pace in the prelims dropping from 2:33.92 to lead the qualifiers in 2:27.92, ahead of Natalia Druett (Team Bath AS, 2:28.49) and Georgia Gussey (Keynsham, 2:29.68). The lead kept swapping in the 18 & Over final between 2020's Senior Champion Gussey and Hall. However the Uni of Bath swimmer's intense effort over the last 50m recovered a 1.46s deficit at the turn to secure Hall both age group gold and the Senior title with 2:25.04, Gussey finished just 0.28s behind in silver medal position while Druett placed third with 2:27.02.
The 17 Yr final followed the prelim ranking order with Rue Fowler (Team Bath AS, 2:28.51) leading throughout for gold, Lara Turner (A.N.T. 2:29.59) taking silver and Ruby Varney (Street & District, 2:32.68) bronze as she did in 2020.
2020 had seen fast improving times from Chloe Bown (Taunton Deane). Entered in 2022 on 2:39.09, that momentum has continued with first a prelim swim of 2:28.64 beating her 2:32.32 time as a 14 Yr silver medalist. Topping the qualifiers, Bown then earned the 16 Yr gold medal with another drop to 2:27.28. Millfield's Lucy Buckingham (2:31.35) and Eleanor Hall (2:34.83) came second and third.
Isabel Blackhurst's mastery of all four strokes gave her a commanding 3.75s lead over the 15 Yr age group after her 2:30.14 prelim swim. Taking over the lead from Annabel Chan after the first turn, she delivered another consummate performance to win the Junior Champion title in the final with 2:27.65. That beat her 2:28.73 time as she finished 4.77s ahead of Millfield's silver and bronze medalists, Sophie Davies (2:32.42) and Sienna Franklyn-Miller (2:36.02, successive drops from 2:38.96).
Fastest qualifier from the 14 Yr age group Augusta Maddox had won gold in 2019 and silver in 2020 but is back on top of the age group podium places in 2022 with 2:39.98. Millfield team mate Maia Delin (2:42.73) overcame a 1.33s deficit at the final turn to take silver ahead of Frankie Hanson (Taunton Deane, 2:43.03).
Millfield's 100m IM gold medallist and fastest qualifier Evie Twelvetree improved from 2:45.24 to 2:43.43 to complete the 13 Yr event double. Alesha Nisbet (Street District, 2:45.38), swimming a 2.62s better time, claimed silver and Laura Ball (Keynsham 2:46.09), almost 7s faster than her entry time, took the bronze.
Gold and silver in the 12 Yrs age group went to Millfield's 100m IM winner and fastest qualifier Keeleigh Cooke (2:45.04) and team mate Vivienne Lubbe who had progressed from 2:53.84 through 2:52.96 to 2:48.74. Bronze heads to Backwell courtesy of Ailsa Main who likewise went from 2:51.16 via 2:51.01 to 2:49.70.
Silver and bronze medalists in the 100m IM, Paige Taswell (Taunton Deane 3:17.60) and Fliss Vincent (Clevedon, 3:18.42) must have accumulated plenty of marginal gains and then pooled them to win 10-11 Yrs 200m IM gold and silver respectively with monster drops of almost 10s in the process. Lois Murray (Millfield, 3:22.06) also went 6.83s faster, aided in her quest for bronze by being pursued by Tilly Hubbard (3:22.11) whose freestyle reduced a deficit of 1.73s on a podium place to just 0.05s.
Boys 100m Breaststroke
County record holder in the event from 2019, Marcus Gardiner (Street District) led the 18 & Over prelims with 1:06.82 but didn't contest the final. That left the Uni of Bath swimmers who were second and third fastest, Shem Fair and Tobi Sijuade needing to withstand any medal challenges from Wyatt Walsh and Joseph Coldwell just 0.01s and 0.07s further back. 200m bronze medallist Fair won the 18 & Over gold and Senior Championship in 1:07.19 but while Millfield's Wyatt (1:07.87) went faster to take silver, Sijuade (1:09.07) didn't and ended with bronze despite a faster first 50m.
While the 16 Yr final was contested by Millfield swimmers bar one, the 17 Yr age group had representation from right across the County. Clevedon's Blayne Stanbrook (1:12.38) and Olly Watts (Team Bath AS, 1:12.75) set the prelim pace. Watts went on to win age group gold in 1:11.75 but where silver would end up came down to a battle between Stanbrook and Alexander Mufti. 0.41s down at the turn, Mufti surged to the scoreboard end in 1:13.32 to take silver by 0.13s from Stanbrook.
Peter Yu (Millfield, 1:08.24) won 16 Yr age group gold. Reagan Gallagher (Taunton Deane) dropped his entry time of 1:10.94 to clock 1:10.27 for silver and Richard Jenkins (Millfield) was bronze medalist with 1:14.81.
The 15 Yr prelims suggested the final woould be tightly contested after Szymon Wyrozumski (Taunton Deane, 1:14.55), Jamie Steadman (Clevedon, 1:14.61) and Harry Ryder (Taunton Deane, 1:14.64) were the fastest three qualifiers. Already having bronze over the 200m distance, Ryder wanted gold and went over a second faster than he did in the prelims over the first 50m to prove it. That still left a half second deficit on his team mate at the turn but Ryder drove to the wall in 1:12.15 to win age group gold and the Junior title. Wyrozumski took silver with 1:12.54 and Steadman bronze (1:12.94, and entered on 1:13.47).
The gold and silver medal winning times in the 14 Yr age group in 2020 were 1:17.69 and 1:17.84. Fast forward and its Max Higgins (Millfield, 1:12.71, dropping from 1:14.03) and Riley Price (Clevedon, 1:14.83) who are setting the standard in 2022. Henry Guppy (Millfield, 1:19.44) withstood the late charge of Zachary Powell (A.S.T. Burnham, 1:19.64) to claim bronze.
The 13 Yr age group medal placings followed the prelim order. The progression from 1:27.21 through 1:24.42 to 1:22.65 gave Caleb Gifford-Groves a comfortable win. A sequence by Charlie Cocks (Backwell - 1:30.74 through 1:27.86 to 1:27.46) was rewarded with silver and Theodore Perrin (Yeovil District, 1:29.40) claimed bronze.
The top three in the 12 Yr age group final kept the Judges on their collective toes by finishing at the pads in 0.05s intervals. Taunton Deane earned the 1-2 from Oli Hallett (1:32.71) and Caleb Crook (1:32.76) after both dropped 3s. Leo Burns (Team Bath AS, 1:32.81) gained bronze.
While Adam Peaty's exploits in Tokyo have been insprining the likes of Higgins and Price, the full effect is yet to reach Somerset's youngest age group, where only two contested the 10-11 Yr event. There is usually a follow on effect when competitor numbers are reduced in certain Club age groups, affecting not just future County Championship entries. And while recovery from the pandemic remains a priority, credit must go meanwhile to JJ Wells (Taunton Deane) who clocked 1:39.09 and John Angelosanto (Millfield, 1:44.36) for meeting the challenge.
Girls 50m Butterfly
Bath Uni affiliated members have swum nine of the fastest fifteen all time Somerset female open 50m fly swims. And three aiming to continue this tradition in this session occupied the first three places after the 18 & Over prelims - Lottie Wynne-Jones (28.32), Ekaterina Price (28.96) and Jemima Hall (29.78). While dislodging Team Bath AS legend Siobhan-Marie O'Connor from the 26.45 top spot she has held for nearly 8 years would be a tall order for anyone, the first aim is always to improve and they all did so - Wynne-Jones by 0.52s, Price by 1.03s and Hall by 0.2s. Wynne-Jones won age the group gold and the senior title in 28.33. Price improved again to 28.85 for silver as did Hall (29.39) for bronze.
Leah Evans will have fond memories of 2020's Junior Championship win where she set a new junior mark of 28.62. In 2022, she clocked 28.39 in the prelims, comfortably ahead of the two other sub 30s swims from Bella Moore (Street & District, 29.69) and Darcy Highmore (Millfield, 29.94). The 17 Yr final followed a similar order - Evans (28.65), Moore (29.76) and Highmore (29.80) in the podium places, with Evans ending up second fastest across all age groups.
2020's Junior breaker over the 100m distance, Jessica Lawton (Keynsham) took the 16 Yr gold in 29.12, reversing a 0.18s prelim time deficit behind Zahra Davies into a lead over her of 0.21s in the final. Davies (29.34) and Millfield team mate Lucy Buckingham (30.11) earned silver and bronze.
More mesmerising sub 30s swims by Millfield's Annabel Chan earned her the Junior title. Entered on 29.58, she led the prelims by almost a second with 29.68 before taking 15 Yr gold with 29.56. Isabel Blackhurst (A.N.T, 30.66) came second and Alisha Freeman (Frome) smashed her 33.40 entry time, first to 31.97 and then 31.69 for bronze.
There were plenty of already familiar names leading the 14 Yr prelim standings - Millfield's Augusta Maddox (31.64) and Mila Brooke (32.28) followed by Taunton Deane's Frankie Hanson (32.89) and Evie Linden (32.95). Brooke (31.72) touching second in the final had narrowed the gap behind golden girl Maddox (31.35) while Linden (32.66) secured bronze ahead of Hanson by just 0.08s.
Keynsham's tradition of fine age group swims in the event continued with Laura Ball progressing from 33.15 through the prelims as fastest qualifier in 32.31 to 13 Yr age group gold in 31.73. Evie Twelvetree (Millfield, 33.21) and Grace Williams (Team Bath AS, 33.35) were next to the pads for silver and bronze.
The prospects that Junior records will continue to fall in the near future was given another boost after a similarly dominant performance in the 12 Yr age group by Taunton Deane's Liberty Jones who carried out a thorough demolition job on her 34.13 entry time. Bypassing the 33s to lead the prelims on 32.63, Jones went on to win gold in an assured 32.30. Ailsa Main (Backwell, 34.99) took silver with both her swims faster than her entry time, and Vivienne Lubbe (Millfield 35.29) was 0.48s better for bronze.
The 10-11 Yr straight final saw Annabelle Godson (Team Bath AS) triumphant in 35.01, improving 2.8s and finishing over 5.5s ahead of Daisie Harmon (Street District, 40.69) and Tilly Hubbard (Taunton Deane, 41.07).
Senior and Junior Championship Presentations
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We issued an earler call for any Senior and Junior Championship Presentation photos from 23 Jan 2022 for our gallery and hopefully their publication will follow.
View results (50m): Session 7, Session 8.
View other reports from Day 7, Day 6, Day 5, Day 3, Day 2 and Day 1.
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