Somerset County Championships 2022 - D5
30 Jan 2022 at Millfield (50m)
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Girls 400m IM
2020 Senior Champion Georgia Gussey convincingly retained her title with a 5:09.63 swim.
Gussey's nearest challengers in fact came from the 17 Yr age group - Rue Fowler (Team Bath AS) and Isabella Woollard. Fowler turned first, Woollard immediately responded by taking over the lead and widening it to 1.42s by the halfway stage. Fowler's breaststroke swim made significant inroads into the deficit before she overtook the Millfield swimmer to bag gold in 5:17.70 in a 0.84s margin of victory. Ruby Varney (Street District, 5:28.62) placed third in the age group.
The 16 Yr age group featured only Millfield swimmers and it was bronze medallist over 200m, Eleanor Hall who took the honours in 5:24.17 after her breaststroke splits clawed back over 10s to gain a time advantage over Millfield's Zahra Davies whose 5:26.26 was rewarded with silver. The battle for bronze went all the way to the pads after a spirited swim by Lucy Buckingham (Millfield, 5:29.24) just edged out the time of Frankie Hatchard (Millfield, 5:29.80).
Swimmers from five Clubs contested the 15 Yr age group. Sophie Davies (5:30.98) was a convincing winner to become our Junior Champion. Theoni Kane (Bridgwater, 5:45.66) won age group silver and there was another exciting race to secure bronze in successive heats where Bella Beattie (Millfield 5:49.94) had first improved from 6:00.13. The faster feestyle finish by Aimee Watts (Team Bath AS, 5:49.37) however earned her the bronze.
While the 5:43.03 exhibition swim by Leni Skelin (A.N.T) earned a commemorative medal, the 14 Yr gold went to Frankie Hanson (Taunton Deane, 5:45.63) who finished two places higher over the longer distance than the day before. Maia Delin (Millfield, 5:48.37) again had to settle for silver with Sami Hallett (Taunton Deane, 6:03.96) finishing third.
Fastest qualifier Evie Twelvetree completed the 13 Yr IM treble in 5:55.67. Sasha Hart (Millfield 6:02.45) improved 1.78s and Annabelle Wilson (Street & District, 6:39.52) 6.53s to complete the podium places.
In 2020 just one 12 Yr competitor swam sub 6 minutes, in 2022 two - Ailsa Main (Backwell) and Keeleigh Cooke (Millfield) who were locked in a cat and mouse battle in their heat. Early leader Main was caught up by Cooke at the end of the breaststroke. The tension mounted as Cooke served up a narrow lead at the final turn but Main dug deep for an overall improvement of 4.52s to take gold in 5:59.10 by 0.32s. Iona Murray (Millfield, 6:02.52) improved over 3.5s to place third.
Boys 200m Butterfly
This event unfortunately didn't attract many entries.
Bath Uni swimmers Aidan Mitchell (2:11.48) and Lewis Maxwell (2:11.91) enjoyed a 1-2 in the 18 & Over age group with Taunton Deane's Ben Penhale (2:13.19) close behind, taking bronze.
Max Adams (Team Bath AS, 2:17.10) progressively increased his lead over team mate Oliver Saunders (2:22.66) who had himself improved 2.41s. The pair repeated their 1-2 placings from the 100m event.
Millfield's bronze medalist over the 100m distance, Thomas Duddridge (2:20.46) was a convincing winner of the 16 Yrs age group. Reagan Gallagher (Taunton Deane, 2:35.91) and Sam Ledward (Clevedon, 2:48.11) completed the podium places.
Jamie Steadman (Clevedon) added another Junior title and 15 Yr gold from a 2:22.33 swim which put almost 10s of clear water ahead of Millfield's Adam White (2:31.90) and Oliver Newing (2:36.10).
An entertaining battle in the 14 Yr age group saw Zachary Powell make a comeback over the final 50m and continue his accumulation of points for A.S.T. Burnham by improving 14s on his entry time to 2:37.00 to win gold. Millfield's Oscar Ryland-Day (2:38.65) and Dexter Townsend (2:39.02) placed second and third.
The G-S-B 13 Yr placings of Millfield trio Billy Chatterjee (2:56.32), Caleb Gifford-Groves (2:56.41) and Jack Guppy (3:00.61) replicated those of the 100m event. The leading pair had changed places several times before Chatterjee found the extra energy to recover from a 0.72s deficit at the final turn.
Girls 50m Freestyle
Record times to beat in this event were Ella Riggall's 2018 Junior Mark of 27.44 / Laura McNab's 2020 Senior Mark of 26.52.
Tamryn van Selm got close to the times she swam in British Swimming's 2021 Selection Trials last Spring, first leading 2022's prelims with 27.08 and then winning 18 & Over age group gold and our Senior title in 27.00. Team Bath AS' Niamh Ward improved on her 27.45 heat time to claim silver in 27.27 and narrow van Selm's margin of victory. Her team mate Natalia Druett claimed bronze in 27.80 after a 27.6 heat swim.
The 17 Yr age group prelims saw three swimmers dip under 28s - Millfield's Darcy Highmore (27.74), Carys Graville (27.88) and Leah Evans (27.94). The final saw Graville, a member of Swim Wales Youth Performance squad, take age group gold by 0.12s in 27.29. Highmore finished close to her 27.46 entry time with silver and Evans earned bronze with 28.03.
There was a sizeable entry in the 16 Yr age group in which fastest qualifier on 27.22, Nicole De Pree (Millfield) came away with gold as the faster of the two sub 28s swimmers, touching the pads in 27.34. The other was Chloe Bown (Taunton Deane, 27.98) and Georgina Hawkins (Millfield) takes the bronze with 28.43, improving 0.1s on her entry time.
The 15 Yr prelims saw Millfield's Sienna Franklyn-Miller dip 0.01s under Riggalls old Junior mark with 27.43 but another big performance was needed in the final to stay ahead of the record breaking winner of the 100m event, Isobel Blackhurst. Both girls swam very close to their entry times with Franklyn-Miller taking gold in 27.53 and Blackhurst the silver medal in 27.71. Millfield's Annabel Chan (28.26) won the battle for bronze with team mate Sophie Davies by 0.1s.
Millfield's Meghan Higgs produced the only sub 29s swim of the 14 Yr prelims although her team mates Augusta Maddox (29.03) and Eva Lawson (29.29) were poised ready to challenge for the gold. The final saw Higgs and Maddox separated by just 0.04s at the pads but it was the former finishing first in 28.91, with Lawson closing in for bronze with 29.16.
Swimmers from six Clubs contested the 13 Yr age group final which was won by the bronze medalist over 100m, Sophie Wood (Taunton Deane, 30.19) who finished just 0.03s outside the prelim time that had made her the fastest qualifier. Florence Poole (Team Bath AS, 30.26) dipped 0.11s under her entry time to move up to silver medal position with Alesha Nisbet (Street & District, 30.57) claiming bronze.
Top three in the 12 Yr age group prelims were separated by 0.02s. The final was a little less congested at the finish after Millfield's Iona Murray (30.67) and Keeleigh Cooke (30.94), the gold and silver medalists over the 100m distance, were the only two sub 31s swimmers, repeating their placings in this event. Murray enjoyed a time improvement of 0.97s and Taunton Deane's Liberty Jones (31.51) was third.
Drops were the order of the day in the 10-11 Yr age group with Annabelle Godson (Team Bath AS, 34.02 to 33.06 to 32.55) taking gold. An impressive swim by the fastest 10 year old, Alba Davidson (Taunton Deane 36.58 then 34.09 to 34.35) earned silver with Paige Taswell (Taunton Deane, 36.44 to 35.37 to 35.21) claiming bronze.
Boys 200m Freestyle
With two of his likely challengers, Solomon Williams and Matthew Cairns, not swimming in the event, Bath Uni's Senior Champion over 400m Will Ryley needed to be up against the clock to have the 2019 Senior Record of 1:52.89 firmly in his sights. However Wyatt Walsh's time of 1:57.57 in the previous heat meant Ryley's 1:58.63 would only rank second fastest with the other Millfield heat winner Alex Painter just behind on 1:58.70. The Welshman showed he had plenty in reserve for the final, opening with a 26.35 first leg for a lead of just over a second over the Millfield pair. Ryley motored home well under his 1:53.88 entry time in a record 1:52.82 which added the Senior title and 18 & Over gold to his haul. He had stopped the clock 0.07s under Jakob Goodman's old mark. Walsh (1:55.77) came second and Painter (1:58.32) third.
Oscar Barlow's impressive campaign continued as the Taunton swimmer improved on his 1:59.11 time as fastest qualifier for the 17 Yr final to 1:57.90, establishing a lead of over 4s over his nearest rival. Leader until halfway, Elliot Woodburn (Millfield, 2:01.99) finished with silver and Max Adams (Team Bath AS, 2:04.97) improved on his seventh place heat ranking to secure bronze.
The heat ranking order was maintained in the 16 Yr final as Thomas Duddridge (Millfield 2:04.98), Reagan Gallagher (Taunton Deane, 2:07.29) and Richard Jenkins (Millfield, 2:07.31) claimed their podium places.
Millfield's Lauchlan Parrott led the 15 Yr old prelims after his 27.23 first leg opened up more than 2s lead over team mates Adam White and Ewan Pedersen. While Parrott again set the early pace in the final, establishing nearly 1s lead by 100m, Pedersen had almost recovered the deficit by the final turn before the pair battled all the way to the pads. Pedersen won gold and the Junior title in 2:03.93, finishing 0.22s ahead of Parrott’s silver medal position. Meanwhile White found himself on the receiving end of a second half charge by Clevedon's Jamie Steadman. White's margin of almost a second at 150m was evaporating but he dug deep to finish third by just 0.02s on 2:07.72
Reuben Alty's points pursuit continued in the 14 Yr age group as Millfield's 400m winner added another gold over 200m in 2:07.00. Alty had opened up a lead of over 3s over Ronan Hill (2:14.17) at the halfway stage. 400m silver medallist Zachary Powell (A.S.T. Burnham, 2:15.07) was still nearly 3s further back with 50 to go but his spirited sprint to the pads just fell short as the Taunton Deane swimmer held on to take silver.
Heat rankings were also replicated in the 13 Yr age group final. Fastest qualifier and already a winner over 800m and 400m, Reuben Thomas added the prestige 200m title with 2:22.63. Millfield's Jack Guppy showed fine progress on his 2:27.81 entry time through 2:25.71 to take silver in 2:24.61. Team mate Charles Robinson also showed successive improvements from 2:34.46 through 2:30.88 to 2:30.64 in finishing third.
Another sizeable improvement came from 12 Yr winner Tom Barnett. The Taunton Deane swimmer clocked 2:24.78 in the heats, bettering his 2:29.02 entry time before sealing the win with 2:26.44. The heat placings of team mate Oli Hallett (2:37.01) and Alex Parish (Clevedon, 2:36.06) were reversed in the final with both enjoying drops on their 2:44.86 and 2:41.45 respective entry times.
To secure a strong base you need good foundations and Leo Woodrow certainly cemented A.S.T. Burnham's by clocking 2:43.15 in the 10-11 Yr final, over 10s better than his 2:53.91 entry time. Millfield's Charlie Phipps mounted a late charge down the final lap in an effort to claw back a 2.79s deficit but his 2:43.43 finish did earn silver. JJ Wells (Taunton Deane) improved from 2:55.62 to 2:46.87 for third place.
Girls 100m Butterfly
With Bath Uni's respective gold medallists over 50m and 200m, Lottie Wynne-Jones and Ekaterina Price, posting entry times for the 100m distance within a second of Isabel Jones' 2018 senior mark of 1:03.07, the likelihood of that being beaten increased after Wynne-Jones and Price led the 18 & Over qualifiers with 1:03.15 and 1:03.53 respectively. Just 0.01s separated their splits in the heats over the first 50m and in the final Price marginally led by 0.34s at the turn but Wynne-Jones found the extra speed to the wall to clock 1:03.01. That new record also earns her the senior championship title and 18 & Over gold medal. Price finished just 0.21s behind and claimed silver and Keli Kovacs (Team Bath AS, 1:07.68) came third.
Leah Evans also added the 100m crown to her earlier 17 Yr win over the 50m distance. The A.N.T swimmer again had to beat Bella Moore (Street & District) and Darcy Highmore (Millfield) and the three led the prelims with 1:05.39, 1:05.85 and 1:08.32. Despite Moore going slightly faster and Evans slightly slower than they did in their heat swims, it was Evans who produced the stronger second split for gold with 1:04.60. Moore improved her time to 1:05.59 to take silver as did Highmore to 1:07.18 fro bronze.
Fastest two qualifiers by some margin from the 16 Yr age group, Zahra Davies (Millfield, 1:05.84) and Jessica Lawton (Keynsham, 1:05.86) reversed their placing order in the final. Lawton swam over half a second faster down the first 50 than she did in the prelims, ending up with gold in 1:05.66. Davies (1:06.53) was second and Chloe Bown (1:09.76) moved up a place into third.
Annabel Chan was dominant in the 15 Yr age group. first clocking 1:10.05 to lead the prelims by 1.76s and improving on that to 1:08.04 in the final. Isabel Blackhurst (A.N.T., 1:10.84) and Charlotte Lang (Team Bath AS, 1:13.66) completed the podium places.
It may be hard to visualise in advance the sort of improvements that some of the younger swimmers achieved. Taunton Deane's Evie Linden enjoyed her 14 Yr races, clocking 1:13.44 - 0.49s under her entry time - to rank fourth behind fastest qualifier Mila Brooke (1:11.61). 2020's 12 Yr bronze medallist Linden then went 1.1s faster to the turn, finishing with gold in 1:10.69. Millfield's Brooke (1:11.37) and Augusta Maddox (1:11.46) placed second and third.
Top 3 in the 13 Yr final were Evie Twelvetree (Millfield, 1:11.39), Laura Ball (Keynsham, 1:12.79) and Phoebe Poole (A.S.T. Burnham, 1:16.36). The trio similarly enjoyed massive drops on their entry times - 5.63s, 1.87s and 4.92s respectively.
The top 3 in the 12 Yr prelims repeated their achievement in their final. Liberty Jones (Taunton Deane, 1:17.58) turned fractionally second behind Ailsa Main (Backwell, 1:20.91) before sprinting all the way to the pads for gold. Noelle Delin (Millfield, 1:22.40) claimed bronze. All three enjoyed significant drops in times: Jones from 1:22.14, Main from 1:24.09 and Delin from 1:27.03.
Boys 50m Breaststroke
In the 18&O final, fastest qualifier from the prelims Marcus Gardiner (Street & District) led six Bath swimmers to the pads, finishing on 29.48, just 0.1s outside his 2019 Championship record. In 2020 he was the only sub 30s swimmer. This year Markos Iakovidis (29.72) and Shem Fair (29.92) joined him, taking silver and bronze.
2020's Junior Champion Richard Towers has now comfortably won the 17 Yr age group, improving 0.29s on his prelim swim to 31.32. Just 0.03s separated 2020 silver medallist Olly Watts (31.76) from Blayne Stanbrook (Clevedon, 31.79) in their battle for this year's age group silver which the Team Bath AS swimmer took with a 1,63s improvement on his entry time.
Top 3 in the 16 Yr heats maintained their placings in the final which was won by Millfield's Peter Yu in 31.50. Less than 0.2s separated Reagan Gallagher (Taunton Deane, 33.19) and Richard Jenkins (Millfield, 33.38) in both heats and final.
There was more success for Taunton Deane in the 15 Yr age group where Szymon Wyrozumski (32.46) and Harry Ryder (33.41) had led the qualifiers. The Club enjoyed a 1-2 in the final but it was 2020's 13 Yr silver medallist Ryder (32.45) who becomes this year's Junior Champion. Wyrozumski clocked 32.85 to improve on his 2020 bronze with silver and Millfield's Louis Lyall placed third for his 33.65 effort.
Riley Price (Clevedon, 33.44) led the 14 Yr qualifiers by 0.43s from Max Higgins. While bothe enjoyed drops in the event on their entry times, it was the Millfield swimmer's improvement to 33.18 in the final which beat Price to gold by 0.09s, Edward Preece (Taunton Deane, 35.07) got the bronze.
Caleb Gifford-Groves (37.16) laid claim to lane 4 berth after the 13 Yr prelims, ahead of Backwell duo Charlie Cocks (38.97) and Alex Liddell (40.69). The Millfield swimmer's 37.27 won the final by 1.69s but it was Yeovil's Theodore Perrin (38.96), 0.81s below his entry time, who moved up to seoze silver and leave Cocks (39.12) with bronze.
Taunton Deane produced a 1-2 in the 12 Yr final courtesy of Lucas Baker (41.22) and David Bown (41.55) who improved on their entry times by 2.93s and 1.62s respectively. Leo Burns (Team Bath AS, 42.01) came third.
Taunton's success across the age groups continued with JJ Wells sealing the 10-11 Yr win in 45.45. John Angelosanto (Millfield, 46.14) and Leo Woodrow (A.S.T. Burnham, 48.37) claimed silver and bronze. All three improved on their entry times.
Senior and Junior Championship Presentations
Please click on any image for its full size version (opens in new window).
We did issue a call for any Senior and Junior Championship Presentation photos from 23 Jan 2022 for our gallery. One has been received so far and hopefully more will follow for publication.
View results (50m): Session 9, Session 10.
View other reports from Day 7, Day 6, Day 4, Day 3, Day 2 and Day 1.
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