Young Sevenoaks Swimmers test their talent

Last weekend was the turn of the younger swimmers at Sevenoaks Swimming Club to test their talent against the rest of the South East region at Crawley Leisure Centre. The weather was more forgiving for the swimmers than the Bank Holiday weekend although, anyone who has been to Crawley will know how hot the spectators’ gallery gets! The Age Group Regionals is spread over two weekends to allow more swimmers to qualify and ensure there is a good representation from across the region.

There was a whopping 37 swimmers from Sevenoaks Swimming Club who had qualified for 100 races over the first weekend – a phenomenal achievement for the youngsters – under the hopeful eyes of coaches Jo King, Paddy Ham, Jon Yates and Vince Norris.

Saturday morning kicked off with 49 swims from the youngsters and Euan Terry was first off the blocks in the 1,500m freestyle achieving a strong 10th place. Soon after was the 200m IM for the girls and in the youngest age group there were seven swimmers including 11 year old’s Jessica Harmer and Alyze Gentles. Eva Okaro, Izabella Okaro and Emily Brown made the finals with Eva producing an astonishing swim to finish in 1st place and the first Gold for Sevenoaks. Izabella and Emily also swam superbly finishing in 4th and 7th in the final. Elspeth Watson (13) also qualified for the finals in her age group and just missed a medal, finishing in 4th. Jessica, Alyze, Millie Armstrong, Daisy McMillan and Imogen Stoddard also swam strong races in the heats and produced some great personal bests.

Soon to follow was the boys 50m Backstroke, where Joseph Box, Caiden Hibbert, Jaedon Lynch and Louis Hayes were all representing the Club. All swam well with Joseph and Louis making the finals and Louis kick-starting his regionals with a great Silver medal.

Shortly after was the excitement of the 50m freestyle for the girls with sisters Eva and Izabella, Samriddhi Das, Emily, Jessica, Daisy & Millie in the 11/12 years category. Imogen Stoddart, and Elspeth Watson in 13 yrs and Lilie Chambers, Millie Childs and Daisy Widdowson in the 14 years category. All girls produced fabulous swims and an amazing four of them made the final in the 11/12 years with Eva smashing the regional record and winning her second Gold medal. Izabella joined her sister on the medal rostrum in a wonderful Bronze position – a true family affair! Emily finished in 7th and Sami in 8th. In the 14 years category, Lilie Chambers proved her quality finishing in a great 3rd for a Bronze medal.

The arduous 200m breaststroke for the boys was next, with qualifiers Albert Whitlock in the 11/12 yrs, Jaedon, Noah Enticknap and Thiago Gentles in the 13 yrs, and Jacob Hudson in the 14 yrs. Jacob made the finals and swam strongly for a great 4th place.

200m Butterfly is not for the weak and Elsbeth and Holli Gushlow were the qualifiers in the 13 yrs. Elspeth went onto swim in a flourish for 1st place and Gold medal.

The boys were back in the pool for the 100m freestyle with qualifiers Joseph Box (12) Tom Creasey, Noah and Jaedon (13), Louis, Zach Raymond and Ben Strebel (14) with Louis making the finals and producing a great PB to finish in 2nd place for another Silver.

Final race of the day was the girls 100m Backstroke. Eva, Izabella, Millie A., Sami Das, Emily and Isla Murphy all qualifying in the 11/12 yrs, Imogen Stoddart in the 13 yrs and Millie C. and Lilie Chambers in the 14 yrs. Eva, Izabella and Millie A. went on to race in the finals for their age group with Eva finishing in 4th, Millie in 7th and Izabella in 8th. Millie C. produced a great swim in the 14 yrs finals to finish a strong 4th.

Out of 18 events in Day One, they made a spectacular 11 finals.

Day 2 and there were 51 races for the Sevenoaks contingent which started with the girls 50m Breaststroke. Eva & Izabella, Emily, Jessica and Martha Roberts represented the 11/12 yrs olds, Imogen, Kara Dimond, Holli and Elspeth qualified for the 13 yrs and Megan Marter, Ruby Jarrett and Eleanor Allen the 14 yrs. All girls swam great races in the heats with Eva, Emily, Imogen and Kara qualifying for the finals. Eva won the Bronze and Emily came 6th in the 11/12 yrs with Imogen bagging a super Silver and Kara finishing powerfully for 4th in the 13 yrs.

The boys 50m Butterfly followed shortly after with Joseph Box, Jaedon, Tom Creasey, Caiden Hibbert, Louis, Ben Strebel, Zach & Euan pulling out fast swims. Louis qualified for the final and led from the start to comprehensively finish in 1st place for Gold medal.

The girls who swam in the 200m Backstroke were Millie A. Eva, Emily Brown, Daisy McMillan and Sami in the 11/12 yrs, and Daisy Widdowson (14) with Millie A. making the finals and jumping from 6th placed qualifier to 5th in the final – a great swim.

There were three boys in the 200 freestyle heats; Euan finishing in 10th & Zach in 15th for the 14 yrs and Noah finishing in 13th for the 13 yr olds.

This was swiftly followed by the 100m Butterfly heats where there were six qualifiers, Eva and Izabella, Sami and Millie A in the 11/12 yrs and Elspeth in the 13 yrs and Lilie in the 14 yrs. All the girls produced some great swims with Eva and Elspeth swimming into the finals. Elspeth stormed to a great 4th place then Eva smashing the 11/12yrs final and finishing in an amazing first place for another Gold medal.

Seven boys made the regionals for the 100m breaststroke, Albert Whitlock and Sam Martin-Young for the 11/12 years, Jaedon, Noah and Thiago Gentles for the 13 yrs and Louis and Jacob Hudson for the 14 yrs. Louis and Jacob made the finals after some strong swims with Louis finishing in 6th place and Jacob pushing the whole way for a great PB and Bronze medal.

Finally, the end was in sight and after a short break the final swimmers took to the pool for the 400m freestyle for the girls and the 400m IM for the boys. Youngsters Daisy McMillan (12) and Millie C. represented the girls, both pulling off strong swims Daisy for 23rd and Millie, missing a medal by a whisper finishing in 4th. The boys, Macauley Johnston and Jacob Hudson both managed brave 13th places and Louis finished the weekend off in 9th.

A long hot weekend, but a fabulous start to the Regionals with five Gold, three Silver and four Bronze medals. All the coaches were tremendously proud of all the qualifiers and are looking forward to the next weekend of fast racing!