Aylesbury Vale youngsters swim to success

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Nine swimmers from Aylesbury and District and Maxwell swimming clubs were in action at the K2 in Crawley for the South East Regional Age Group competition.

The first session on Saturday morning saw personal bests from all swimmers in action, with Millie Tomlin-Davies and Oliver Hassall from Maxwell qualifying for the age 11/12 100m breaststroke and age 13 50m butterfly final respectively, and Thomas Selby from Aylesbury and District qualifying for the age 13 50m butterfly final, although Libby Blissett (Aylesbury and District) narrowly missed out, finishing in first reserve position for the age 100m breaststroke.

Millie took more time off in the final and moved up a place to finish seventh, while both Oliver and Thomas swam almost the same time they set in the heats in their first ever regional final.

Saturday afternoon saw Millie again qualify for a final, this time in the 50m breaststroke, while team-mates from Maxwell Elena Cogan and Chantel Ottonello were 19th and 20th respectively.

Millie was then 19th in the 11/12 100m backstroke, and Libby returned to record another personal best, finishing 20th in the 50m breaststroke.

For the boys, Oliver finishing in 13th and Thomas qualifying for the final in third place in the 50m freestyle.

Both Millie and Thomas improved in the final, with Millie taking fifth and Thomas claiming a joint bronze medal in a new Aylesbury and District Club record.

On the second day of competition, there were even more personal bests, with Millie and Libby swimming fantastic races in the 11/12 and 13 Yr 200m breaststroke, although both just missed the final. Libby also finished 20th in the 50m butterfly.

Piers Nichols from Maxwell finished in 12th place in the age 11/12 100m breaststroke, while team-mate Samuel Drew knocked a full second off his best for 18th in the 11/12 50m backstroke.

In an impressive showing for his first ever Regional competition, Thomas qualified for another final, this time the 50m backstroke, and fought hard to finish sixth.

The final afternoon of competition saw Thomas and Millie finish on a high with personal bests in the 100m backstroke and 200m backstroke respectively, finishing 13th and 14th, as Piers was 11th in the 50m breaststroke.

The highlight of the session, however, came from Maxwell’s youngest Regional competitor Sean Richards, who took a full seven seconds off his entry time to qualify for the age 11/12 200m butterfly final despite having only just turned 11. Sean matched his heat time in the final but managed to move up the placing to finish in sixth place.

Sean, along with fellow Maxwell 11-year-old swimmer Aisling Merrison, has been selected to attend the South East Regional training camps in September and October this year, where they will be able to gain more experience ready for future Regional Championships.

While the competition for the 11/14-year-old swimmers is now complete, the next two weekends will see the older swimmers from both clubs competing. The swimmers will race in Portsmouth and Crawley, where they will be aiming to record times that will see them ranked in the top 24 in their age group across the country to be able to compete at the British Summer Championships in July and August this year.