Morpeth swimmers take the plunge at area championships

Morpeth ASC swimmers recently competed at the Northumberland and Durham County Championships.

This meet is the first championship meet swimmers can qualify for and attracts the best swimmers from across Northumberland, Tyne & Wear, Teeside, Durham and even some North Yorkshire clubs affiliated to the county.

Swimmers all had to achieve set qualifying times to attend the championships. The competition runs both heats and finals for those who finish in the top 10 during the heats. Aidan Moody, Keira Peck, Angus Cummings and Zac Cousins all qualified for this meet for the first time and gained valuable racing experience, setting new long course personal bests in nearly all their events.

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All will be looking to make finals next year! Richard Butterworth qualified for 5 swims achieving Long course PB’s in all his events while Team Captain Lauren Howe competed in the 50 Freestyle. Hannah Pountney a member of Competitive 2 competed in the 200 Breaststroke.

Competing in their first N&D Championships Jacob Light, Ben Hewitt and Henry Brett all made finals/top 10’s in the boys 10/11 year old age group. Ben made six top 10 positions improving his PB’s in heats and finals . Ben’s best result was in the 50 Butterfly, 6th. Jacob Light, still nine, competed in the joint 10/11 year old age group making finals in both 50 & 100 Backstroke.

Jacob like Ben improved his PB in the heats and again in the finals. Jacob finished as the fastest ’10 year old’ boy in both events and 7th & 8th in the join 10/11 year old age group. Henry Brett joined team mate Ben Hewitt as a top 10 finisher in the 200 Backstroke.

Daisy Cunningham and Rosie Smith have both progressed rapidly through the club structure over the last 12 months. Both had only recently qualified for the championships in January but continued to make improvements to their PB’s. Daisy qualified for two finals 50 & 100 Breaststroke finishing 6th and 9th. Rosie swam PB’s in all 3 of her swims and made her first N&D final in the 100 Backstroke finishing 8th.

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Morpeth were well represented in the 14 year old boys age group with three boys making their first finals at this level. Dominic Anderson had a successful meet making all three Breaststroke finals and 50 Backstroke final, swimming personal best times in all four events. Dominic’s best performance was in the 200 breaststroke where he finished 6th. Jake Hewitt was also in the 14 year old 200 breaststroke final finishing 7th. Jake also swam PB’s in the 50 Breast and 400 IM. Sam Tate had a good meet swimming PB’s in all his events. Sam made the 200 Back final and had his best swim on the final day in the 400 IM finishing 8th place in a big PB.

Katherine Mooney was the sole representative in the 15 year old age group. Katherine swam two fantastic heat swims and PB’s in 100 FS and 200 Fly. Katherine competed in both finals improving her PB’s again and finished a very credible 4th in 200 Fly.

Niamh Atchison had a busy programme and competed in all four strokes as well as IM events, showing a good improvement in her all round ability. Niamh’s best results came in the Breaststroke events. Niamh swam to 6th, 5th and 4th places finishes missing a medal by just 0.03 in the 50 Breaststroke.

Morpeth were well represented in the 16 and Over age group well at these N&D Championships. Kirsty Duffin made the final of 100 Breaststroke finishing 9th. In the same final Erin Atchison swam under 1:20 in the 100 Breaststroke to finish just outside the medals in 4th Erin also successfully made finals in the 50 (8th) and 200 (5th) Breaststroke all big personal best times.

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Hannah Seymour competed in six events qualifying for finals in all six (50, 100 Fly, 50, 100 Back, 100 Free, 200 IM). Hannah’s best result came in the 50 Fly where she finished 5th. Senior Squad member Ethan Howe had a good swim in the 50 Freestyle heats swimming a big PB of 25.17 to qualify 4th for the final. Ethan wasn’t quite able to repeat his performance in the final but still swam his 2nd fastest 50 Free to finish 6th.

Kate Kennedy qualified for all 13 events she was age eligible to swim at N&D’s and competed in 10 events across the two weekends. Kate successfully made top 10 in 9 of her events and picked up an outstanding seven medals at the championships.

Kate showed great ‘range’ in the freestyle and was crowned N&D champion in the four Freestyle events 50 FS, 100 FS, 200 FS and 400 FS. Kate showed great determination and competitive mind set to win very close finals in the 50 & 100 FS as well as the 100 Back final where she also picked up the gold medal. Kate’s final two medals were silvers in 200 Back and 200 Fly.

Following a successful championships Kate Kennedy met the automatic criteria to be selected for the Northumberland & Durham Swim England Talent Camp.

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Ben Hewitt has also been successfully in gaining a place on the same program after a number of strong performances. Both Kate and Ben will attend 2 x 1 Days camps in March and July.

With only 30 swimmers selected from across the county it is great to see two Morpeth swimmers successfully securing places.

The results and improvements shown by the team from 2017 to 2018 is a great reward for all the hard work put in by swimmers and coaches over the last 12 months and the parents who have supported their swimmers to get to training and qualifying competitions.