Sevenoaks Swimming Club pair Zoë Naylor-Perrott (15) and Maddy Glen (14) have just returned from Edinburgh where they swam at the British Swimming Championships, a meet that is the epitome of high performance swimming.
Over 500 competitors travelled from all corners of the UK to swim in this prestigious event. Races took place over four days in conjunction with the Edinburgh International Swim Meet 2018.
Although tough qualification times were set, Zoë qualified to swim in the 50m backstroke, 50m freestyle and 50m butterfly. Maddy qualified for the 50, 100 and 200 metre breaststroke. This was the first time the girls had qualified to swim at the British Championships and were among the youngest competitors to compete.
They were both honoured to be on the same starting line-up as many national, international and Olympic swimmers, including Adam Peaty, James Guy and Siobhan Marie O’Connor.
With the arrival of snow, Zoë was able to fly out before the airports closed on Wednesday morning and found herself in the same warm up lane as Adam Peaty and James Guy on Wednesday evening! She then competed her three events between Thursday and Saturday, with her times being close to her PB’s, finishing higher than her entry seeding in all events.
Maddy’s events started later in the week, but with the worsening weather, her journey to Edinburgh did not go according to plan. Her train stopped at Newcastle and despite all efforts by her desperate Dad to fly, drive or get a train up to Edinburgh, they remained in Newcastle until Saturday.
Unfortunately this meant that Maddy missed her best ranked event (100m breaststroke) and they had decided to head back to London when their hotel offered them a shared minivan to Edinburgh.
Arriving after warm up and just an hour before the 200 breaststroke, Maddy valiantly swam the event even being mentioned by the commentators for her tenacity and determination! She was then able to compete the 50m breaststroke the following day swimming again not far off her personal best.
Head coach Matt Smithurst said: ‘’It was a massive achievement for Zoë and Maddy at their young age to qualify for so many events at the British championships. With the significant challenges brought by the weather, I am really proud of how both girls handled the pressure and how well they raced. This experience will be invaluable in the years to come.’’