[Photo: City of Oxford Rising Stars and Academy swimmers at Leys Pool]
Young swimmers came from Abingdon Vale, Didcot Barramundi, Witney and Wantage as well as City of Oxford for the last City of Oxford Swimming Club Development Meet of the year on 11 December at Leys Pool. The meet was a chance for the younger swimmers, some new to competing, to practise their skills alongside more experienced swimmers who in turn were looking to hone skills and improve times ahead of counties and higher level meets.
Festive themed spot prizes were awarded to heat winners and swimmers who showed great effort and improvement. Nine year-old Lily Holmes (pictured with fellow Oxford swimmers), won two well deserved prizes for 100m freestyle and 50m fly and said: “I was really pleased and surprised to win prizes. Before the gala, I didn’t know how I’d do in my races so it was great the coaches noticed I’d tried hard and said well done for the skills I’d learnt and getting personal best times.”
Oxford’s swimmers stormed to first place in many of the events. Stand out performances included swims from nine year-olds Pearl Sophastienphong and Zara Porter: Pearl took 200m backstroke with a time of 3:11.30 narrowly beating Zara who achieved a time of 3:11.70. Pearl went on to come first in 100m freestyle and Zara in 50m fly. For the 10 year-olds, fastest times were swam by Lily Brabbin in 100m fly, Maisie Kavanagh in 100m freestyle and 50m fly, and Nina Brown in 50m breaststroke. Eleven year-old Willa Merttens impressed taking first place in 100 fly with a personal best time of 1:20.09 and in the same age group Ellen Bagley came first in 50m fly. For the 12 year-olds, Stephanie Jervis and Ellen Tranter stormed to first place in 50m breaststroke and 50m fly respectively. While in the 13 year-olds category, Anna Hens took first in 50m breaststroke and 50m fly,
Jasmine Johnson took 100m fly and Olivia Watkiss 100m freestyle.
Among the boys, eight year-old Tristan Dennis and Ben Harkness notched up the fastest times in the 50m backstroke and 100m breaststroke respectively. Ethan Bird enjoyed three triumphs in the 10 year-old category, swimming fastest in the 100m breaststroke, 200m freestyle and 50m backstroke races. Eleven year-old Andrew Taylor was quickest in the 200m freestyle and 50m backstroke.
A huge thanks to all the volunteers, coaches and swimmers who made the meet a success. Full results are available from the COSC website.