Records tumbled and medals amassed as City of Oxford Swimming Club made their mark on the national stage at the British Summer National Swimming Championships in Ponds Forge, Sheffield from 28th July to 2nd August. The Championship sees the UK’s top 24 swimmers in each age category compete over five days of gruelling competition and City of Oxford swimmers showed they were amongst the best in a performance that earned them 20th place in the overall medal table from amongst 270 swimming clubs represented.
The men’s breaststroke events saw 14 year old Callum Smart storm his way to gold in the 15 year (age at end of year) 50m breaststroke and set a new British National 14 year Age Group record in an incredible time of 30.32. Smart also took gold in the 200m breaststroke in 2.22.69, just a fraction off the British Age Group record time. The gutsy swim was perfectly timed and saw Smart drive through the field in the last 50m to a convincing win, taking the South East Regional 14 year old age group record in the process. Topping off a successful championship, Smart took silver in the 100m breaststroke in 1.05.76, also in a South East Regional record time. Team mate David Murphy, 16 years, swimming as one of the youngest competitors in the 17 to 18 year age group (age at end of year), narrowly missed out on gold, taking silver in the 50m breaststroke in 29.00, which broke his elder brother Alex Murphy’s, South East Regional 16 year old age group record. Murphy added a second silver medal in the 100m breaststroke in 1.02.84, also in a South East Regional Age Group record time.
Rosie Bancroft added to Oxford’s gold medal tally with a convincing win in the women’s multi-classification 400m freestyle event in a time of 4.46.88,which saw her finish ahead of 2012 London Paralympic silver medallist Stephanie Millward. The win is another step towards Bancroft’s goal to compete at the Paralympics in Rio 2016 and shows her growing confidence in achieving her dream.
For the first time in the Club’s history, three of City’s relay teams qualified for the evening finals from the morning heats. The girls’ 14 to 16 year 400m medley relay team of Annie Sharp, Emily Wood, Emily Nisbet and Ellie Millington qualified for their final by winning the first semi-final in a South East Regional and Junior County record of 4.22.48 but finished outside the medals in the final. The boys 14 to 16 year 400m medley relay of Dan Jenkins, Callum Smart, Ewan Springett and Chris Wood qualified for their final in a Junior County record time of 4.09.40 and the women’s 17 years and over 800m freestyle team of Elizabeth Oliver, Shannon Motha, Kate Mills and Eleanor McNally qualified in 8.42.70. The girls 14 -16 year old 4 x 100m freestyle team of Amy Coombs, Millington, Rachel Allen and Nisbet also broke the Oxon & North Bucks Junior County Record in 4.01.52, but just missed out on a final place.
City’s individual finalists were Natasha Fenton, 12 years, who finished 4th in the girl’s 13 to 14 years (age at end of year) 200m breaststroke final in a time of 2.40.65 and 8th in the 100m breaststroke in 1.16.48. 16 year old Emily Wood finished 6th in the girls 16 year old 200m breaststroke in 2.34.83 and 8th in the 100m breaststroke in a Junior County Record of 1.12.74. Ellie Millington finished 5th in the girls 16 year old 50m butterfly in an Open and Junior County Record of 28.31. Fabian Whitbread, 22 years, qualified for the men’s 19 year and over 400m and 200m Individual Medley finals finishing 6th (4.27.69) and 8th (2.06.68) respectively. Connor Bryan finished 6th in the Boys 15 year old 50m breaststroke final in 31.41, and 10th in the 200m breaststroke final in 2.30.83. Ewan Springett finished 8th in the Boys 15 year old 100m freestyle final in 54.83.
City’s other swimmers who qualified for the Summer Nationals were Maia Little and Daniella Springett.
All records are subject to ratification.