Making a real splash

Northumberland and Durham County Swimming Championships

Normally Alnwick Dolphins’ junior swimmers are just happy with a personal best (pb) time and the odd medal as they tour the region competing at various swimming galas.

In fact a pb is all the coaches ask of them to show they are continually improving in technique, stamina and they have the competitive drive to achieve the best they can.

On occasion, one of the many volunteer coaches will mention that someone has achieved or is close to a Northumberland and Durham County Swimming Championships (N&D) time (

Each year, a minimum time target is set for each stroke (breast, back, butterfly and front crawl) at each length (50m, 100m, 200m, 400m etc) for swimmers aged nine upwards to achieve in order to be able to compete at a number of elite galas in the fantastic Sunderland 50m Olympic pool.

Alnwick, although a relatively small club, punches well above its weight against the larger clubs around the region and the following team was entered to compete on an individual basis at the strokes and lengths where they had achieved the required time during the season.

During February and March, the following swimmers competed and many achieved places in the N&D finals.

Jake Cross (F), Kate Macphee (F), Ben Kelly (F), Amy Thorne (F), Erin Hickman, Lucy Hodgson, Kieran Vickers (F), Suzie Barwise Munro, Sam Cross, Ben Saxon (F), Fiona Robson (F), Eve Buddle, Benjamin Gillingham, Edris Ramenzanpour (F), Andrew Hubbard, Rosie Murton, Harvey Coxon, Kimberly Robson, Alix Eastham (F) and Lauren Aisbitt (F = finalist).

Alnwick had 20 swimmers, entering 83 races, nine of whom made at least one final.

Kimberly Robson (nine) achieved a silver medal in the 200m butterfly.

Those swimmers who had achieved multiple N&D times were able to accumulate points for each of the races they swam and so could compete for the prize of county champion.

Ben Kelly (12) competed in five finals and came seventh overall in the county.

Kate Macphee came fifth in county by achieving three silver medals, one bronze medal and competed in seven other finals, swimming a total of four kilometers.

And finally, Jake Cross the Dolphins’ 11-year-old protege and maybe future Olympic hopeful, competed in 15 finals, covering a total of 3.6 kilometers and achieved a staggering nine gold medals, one silver and three bronze, breaking six county records.

Jake was awarded the accolade of 11 Years County Champion.

In addition to this, national judges considered all the county champions’ results across four categories: Form, distance, sprint and medley results.

The highest of each of these results is then entered in the British age group category (or BAGCAT). Jake was also awarded 11 Years Champion BAGCAT 2013.

A fantastic result for Alnwick Dolphins and well done to Jake who we will need to keep an eye on in the future.