LONGHOUGHTON swimmer Sophie Hastings has made a fantastic start to the new season, winning a hat-trick of championship trophies at the City of Plymouth Swim Gala.
The 14-year-old who was swimming for Devon’s Kelly College had an outstanding weekend of competition, achieving seven Scottish national qualifying times, six medals, five personal best (pb) times, four championship record times and three open age championship trophies.
In her first event, the 100m freestyle heat, she qualified in third place for the Open Championship Race, in which she won gold and breaking her first City of Plymouth record.
She was also victorious in the 100 individual medley (IM) final, winning comfortably in 1.09 – five seconds faster than her earlier swim breaking a second City Of Plymouth record by two seconds.
Her 100m fly saw her qualify easily for the final but she had a gruelling 400m freestyle swim to do first.
Temperatures outside were soaring over 25 degrees and it wasn’t any cooler inside.
Sophie was swimming in the fastest heat of the 400m, racing against older and more experienced swimmers.
A confident dive saw her up with the leaders and then followed a tense race, with Sophie going into the lead after each turn and then being chased down by a 17-year-old swimmer.
This nail-biting cat-and-mouse continued for the full 16 lengths, with Sophie winning gold by a mere two tenths of a second.
Going straight to the 100m fly final saw her up against tough and older opposition but again good starts and turns meant she was up with the leaders and a strong finish saw her win by just a 10th of a second – her third championship trophy, beating the old record by two seconds.
Following that was her 200IM. Again swimming in the fastest heat, she took the lead from the start and powered her way to the end, finishing seven seconds in front, securing another championship record and also a five-second pb.
Sophie also came second in the 50m backstroke and fourth in the 50m freestyle.
She is still on limited training, so 10 swims in two days is a lot to ask but she was delighted with her times and it has given her confidence a boost for her next competition in Swansea.