Harpenden Swimming club breaking new ground

HARPENDEN Swimming Club is breaking new ground by sending its highest number of competitors to the National Championships this summer.

Josh Duggan (1,500m freestyle), Abby Smith (200m butterfly, 400m freestyle), Katialin Dang (100m, 200m breaststroke), and Georgie Smith (200m backstroke) all achieved the qualification times to earn a spot at the British Gas ASA National Championships, which take place at Ponds Forge ISC in Sheffield on July 24.

A club spokesman said: “The club is exceptionally proud of the way this season has gone for the club, and to see swimmers who have been with the club since they started swimming competitively realise their dreams of National Championship qualification gives the coaching staff immense satisfaction.”

Harpenden’s four national qualifiers comes off the back of some excellent performances at the ASA East Region Championships at Norwich.

In the 200m breaststroke heats, team-mates Katialin and Caitlin Hoddinott were drawn next to each other and swam a fantastic race. Caitlin recorded a time of 2.59.51 whilst Katialin touched in 2.55.37 to break her short course personal best and secure her first ever national qualification.

She also qualified third for the 12-year-olds final, where she underlined her potential by dipping under the national qualifying time again en route to a bronze medal.

Katialin continued her breaststroke success in the 100m event, qualifying second for final before swimming a tight race against the fastest qualifier; she touched first at the 50m mark before being edged out in the dying stages by just 0.02 seconds.

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However, her disappointment was overshadowed by the fact that her final time was 1.21.68, giving her a second national qualification in as many days.

She also placed 12th in the 100m backstroke, 13th in the 200m individual medley, 14th in the 200m freestyle and 200m backstroke, and 19th in the 100m freestyle as she went on to claim seventh place overall in the 12-year-old girls competition out of 55 competitors.

In the boys 200m breaststroke Matt Tester-Wilson and Guy Muncer, both competing at their first Regional Championships, set personal bests of 3.20.50 and 3.32.62 to finish 11th and ninth in their respective age groups.

Guy also qualified for the 100m, 200m and 400m freestyle where he set some more personal bests, and the 100m breaststroke, in which he placed seventh in the heats in 1.41.68 and so qualified for the final at his first Championships final.

Ellie Galvin and Millie Dixon were also competing at their first Regional competition. Ellie swam strongly and set new best times in the 100m and 200m backstroke, whilst Millie swam a good 100m freestyle in 1.06.59 before placing 15th in the 14-year-olds 100m breaststroke in a time of 1.25.19.

Juliet Merelie swam the 200m and 400m freestyle in a tough 14 year old age group and broke her PBs in both events, whilst Ralph Muncer finished ninth in the 200m breaststroke, just outside a finals place.

Harpenden’s other big news came from Sheffield where Abby was taking her final opportunity to set some national qualifying times. After some solid swimming on the Saturday, Abby stepped up on the Sunday to swim a 2.24.50 in the 200m butterfly, placing fifth and achieving her first ever national qualification.

In the following session the 2013 Hertfordshire 200m Freestyle Champion doubled the distance to dip under the national qualifying time for the 400m freestyle, swimming a 4.30.88 to come in ninth in an event won by Olympian Ellie Faulkner.

If you are interested in joining Harpenden Swimming Club, contact administrator@harpendensc.co.uk or visit www.harpendensc.org.uk for more information.