THE BRITISH Summer Championships and Swim England National Summer Meet at Ponds Forge, Sheffield, proved to be very successful competitions for Redditch Swimming Club aces.
Six Redditch swimmers had qualified for either the British or English Summer Nationals and no fewer than three returned with one or more medals.
At the British Summer Championships, 17-year-old Issy Griffiths, now a seasoned competitor at this level of the sport, won gold in the 800m freestyle in a time of 8:50.48.
Griffiths also won a silver in her age group (17/18 years) in the 400m freestyle, came seventh in the final of the 200m freestyle and finished 11th in the heats of the 200m butterfly, very narrowly missing the final.
In the 15-year-old age group at the British Summer Championships, Lizzie Kingham, 14, won silver in the 50m and 100m breaststroke events and bronze in the 400m individual medley.
Kingham also qualified for the finals of the 200m breaststroke and 200m individual medley, finishing sixth and fifth respectively.
In the same age group, Amelia Rodd, 15, competing at her first British Championships, reached finals of the 200m and 400m freestyle, finishing eighth and fifth respectively.
She also gained sixth place in the 800m freestyle and narrowly missed the final of the 100m freestyle, finishing 12th.
After the disappointment of just missing out on a medal in a very tight and exciting 400m freestyle final, in which Rodd gained another good personal best, she bounced back in spectacular style by winning a gold medal at the National Open Water Festival at Rother Valley Park, South Yorkshire.
Finishing first in the 3km race (15-year age group) in a time of 37:02.04 – just under half a second ahead of her nearest rival – she capped a fantastic week and underlined the huge progress she has made in the past year.
The fourth Redditch Swimming Club qualifier at the British Summer Championships was Millie Checkley, 13, who swam in the 400m individual medley and finished 20th.
Both Checkley and Rodd returned to Sheffield the following week for the Swim England National Summer Meet where they were joined by two other Redditch SC swimmers, from opposite ends of the age range of competitors.
They were 12-year-old Emily Farr, competing at national level for the first time, and highly experienced club captain Paul Wilkes, 33.
Checkley qualified for three finals in the 100m breaststroke (tenth), 200m breaststroke (eighth) and 200m individual medley (seventh). She also swam in the 400m freestyle (18th).
Rodd, still recovering from a very tough 3km open water swim a few days earlier, finished 19th in the 50m freestyle, whilst Farr swam superbly to gain a new PB in the 50m breaststroke (36.10secs), finishing 12th and very narrowly missing the final.
Wilkes, who is currently preparing for the 17th FINA World Masters Championships in Budapest later this month, finished 11th in the 200m fly, just 300ths of a second away from a place in the 18/over final.
These excellent results had followed on from Redditch Swimming Club’s earlier successes at the West Midland Regional Championships in Coventry, where the club’s medallists were Rodd, Farr and Aurelio Lencioni (all representing Redditch), Checkley and Lizzie Kingham (both representing City of Birmingham) and Luke Warren (representing Ellesmere College).
The other Redditch SC qualifiers for the Regional Championships were Evie Floate (who swam in seven finals), Ben Lewis, Brendan Colley, Talia Mitchell, Paulina Geus, Georgia Kingham, Hollie Richmond, Megan Grainger and Georgia Fisher.
Redditch Swimming Club head coach Chris Britt said: “I am delighted to see the successes of our best swimmers at National and Regional level, as well as the achievements of so many others at recent end of season open meets.
“In several ways, including the numbers of finalists and totals of medals won at the Nationals, their achievements have probably exceeded those of any other group in the club’s long history.
“It has been a long, hard season and now they can enjoy a well earned break, before the hard work starts again!”