Stellar success at the Kents and London Regions
4th August 2014.
The end of the 2013-14 season is nigh and it is time to rinse out the swimming costumes and goggles and to hang them on the line to dry out for two or three weeks. The 5am alarm can be switched off and parents and swimmers can rejoin the life of normal mortals.
What better time, then, to reflect on what has been another fantastic season for Beckenham Swimming Club, with swimmers representing the club at county, national and international level? (I apologise now for any errors of omission or fact – all done with the best possible intentions.)
In the Kent county championships, held over several weekends in Gillingham in February and March, event best performance times were set by several swimmers. In the 13 year age group, Tamara-Elise Elliott set EPBs for 100m Back, 200m Back, 100m IM and 200m IM. Sophie Simpson (17-18 years) achieved an EBP in 100m Butterfly and Lauren Walton set a long-course EBP at 800m (Open).
For the boys, Joshua Ellis (9 years) achieved an EBP at 50m Freestyle, while Kunmi Ogunfeibo (Junior and Open) set new targets for 100m Free, 50m Back and 100m Back. Luke Gunning’s EBP came in the Junior 100m Butterfly with his brother Michael setting a new target in the 200m Free.
Beckenham swimmers also achieved new EBPs in the relay events, which were, as always, exhilarating to watch. There were new records in the girls’ 9-10 years 4x 50m Medley and the 13-14 years 4 x 50m Freestyle relays. In the Open category, the girls set new times for the 4 x 100m Freestyle and 4 x 100m Medley events. The boys also achieved EBPs for the 9-10 years 4 x 5om Freestyle and Medley events and the Open 4 x 100m Freestyle relay.
There were also countless individual wins at all ages and stages in the Kents. These started with Joshua (9 years, 50m Butterfly); Annabel Wilson (9 years, 50m Butterfly, 200m Free, 100m and 200m IMs). In the 10 years age group, there were wins for Lydia- Jane Mitchell (200m Breaststroke, 100m and 200m IMs) and for George Rates (400m Freestyle). Andrew Rowland (11 years) won the 100m IM.
Tamara achieved an impressive haul of gold medals with six wins in the 13 year age group: 100m and 200m Back, 100m Free and 100m, 200m and 400m IM. Ruby Walters took won the 50m Freestyle in the same age group. Sophie Lewis-Ward also walked away with six golds in the 14 year age group for the 50m, 100m, 200m, 400m and 800m Freestyle and, for variety’s sake, the 400m IM
In the 15 year age group, Ashley Hamilton won the 50m and 100m Butterfly events, while Lukas Antanavicius beat all-comers in the 200m Butterfly and 400m Freestyle races. Not to be outdone, Sian Rowe took four golds in the 16 years age group, for 50m Backstroke, 50m and 200m Breaststroke and 50m Freestyle; and Kunmi Ogunfeibo won the 50m, 100m and 200m Backstroke events, plus the 50m and 100m Freestyle (Junior) races. Also in the 16 year age group, Harold Pearson won the 50m and 100m Breaststroke races.
Luke took gold for the Junior 100m Butterfly and the Open 200m Butterfly events, while Sophie Simpson won the 100m and 200m Butterfly races in the 17-18 year age groups. In the same category, Lauren triumphed at 800m Freestyle and 400m IM, and Toby Seriki won the 200m Backstroke. Jack Beddoes was awarded gold medals for the 200m, 400m and 1500m Freestyle events.
Two new county records were also set by BSC swimmers. While EBPs represent the best performances in a given event during the championships, county records are the best times recorded for an event at any time or place – a significant achievement by anyone’s reckoning. Michael Gunning set a new county record for the 200m Freestyle (1.51:40) and Sophie Simpson set a new target for the Ladies 100m Butterfly (1.02:12).
Overall, the Beckenham Men’s Team came second in the county championships and the Ladies’ Team were first – a phenomenal achievement of which the swimmers, their parents and coaches can be very proud.
At the London regional championships in May and June, held for the first time at the Olympic Park in Stratford, Beckenham swimmers again came home with hatfuls of medals, recording multiple personal bests and setting some event best performance times.
>In the age group competition, Lydia took Gold in 10/11Yr 200m Breaststroke, as did Andrew in the boys’ event for the same age group. Andrew was also first in the 10/11 Yr 100m Breaststroke. Tamara took Gold in both the 100m and 200m Backstroke events in the 14Yr age group.
In the Youth London Regions competition, Kunmi won both the 50m and 100m Backstroke in the boys 17 Yr category. Michael triumphed in the 17Yr and over 100m Butterfly and Lukas won the 1500m Freestyle in the 15Yr age group. The Beckenham Men’s Medley team – Kunmi, Harold, Louis Phillips and Luke – also won their 4 x 100m Medley relay.
As well as this astonishing roll-call of success at the Kents and London regions, the club’s swimmers also represented their county, swam at nationals and, in some cases, swam internationally. Kunmi, Luke and Natasha Sinha were chosen to represent GB in the World Schools Championships in Brazil last November. A number of swimmers took part in the British Gas International Meet in Manchester in May; these included Kunmi, Luke, Harold, Toby, Lauren and Sophie Simpson.
England Talent and beyond
A number of Beckenham swimmers were also chosen for England Talent training and camps: Kunmi, Tamara, Lauren, Luke and Jack.
Lauren has had an exceptional season, taking part in the British Championships (which were Commonwealth trials), where she came 8th; attending an England camp in Majorca where she competed in 5km and 7.5km races. She came third in both senior races in a glittering field of athletes. Kerry-Ann Payne came first. Lauren also came third in the Great North Swim elite race, which will be televised on Channel 4 on September 6. A further trip to Portugal saw Lauren as the second British female swimmer to finish, so that she qualified for the senior European Open Water team. This 10km race takes place in Berlin immediately after Nationals.
Lauren is not the only Beckenham swimmer heading for Europe on GB duty. Suzie Rodgers, who trains with Top Squad several times a week, has also had a successful season setting new British records. She is now in Eindhoven, competing in the European Championships.
All of Top Squad and all the coaches are very proud of what these ladies have achieved and wish them good luck in the events of the next few days and weeks. They are a great inspiration to those around them.
Heading for Nationals
This year Tony and Di are heading to Nationals with an even bigger group of swimmers – particularly participants in individual races (14?) – than last year. Many of those mentioned above are competing and we will try to produce a round-up once the races have been swum and possibly won. Those heading for the age group races include Tamara and Timothy Leberl ( who is competing in the 400m and 1500m events) and Ruby Waters, who is taking part in the Open Water event at Rother Valley Country Park.
As well as numerous individual events in the next few days, there will be senior relay events for both men and women, the last of which is on the last day of competition.
So, as you pack away the towels and training costumes for the best part of August, you can, perhaps, look back more fondly on all those early mornings in the cold and the wet, and late evenings when homework and supper beckon – the hard work does pay off.
Before you know it, it will be time to start again, and to make the 2014-15 season even better than the last.
A humble hack’s apology
I apologise to any swimmer whose efforts have not been recognised in this round-up or any inadvertent mistakes in the retelling of past glories; I feel sure I have missed one or two at Manchester and I know that I have failed to reflect what a fantastic season Suzie has had.
My email is firstname.lastname@example.org. Do let me know what you have done, all of you.