Oxford A and B Teams both competed in round 2 of the Milton Keynes League on Sat 1st July, in divisions 1 and 2 respectively.
It was another hard fought third place for City of Oxford ‘A Team’ swimmers. The team, comprising 35 young swimmers, hosted the competition and were drawn against Wycombe, Chalfont, Barnes Ealing and Staines.
Oxford claimed six first and ten second places. The first victory came in the 5th event with a win by the girl’s 10 year medley relay team (Pearl Sophastienphong, Zara Porter, Jessica Bagley and Bella Green). Despite some early nail biting finishes the team had to wait until the 12th event for their first individual win through Jeffrey Cheung in the 10 year boys 50m breaststroke; Juliet Anthony continued the winning streak in the next event, the 11 year girls 50m backstroke, and soon after added the 50m freestyle to her first place tally earning the maximum 12 points possible from these two wins. Pearl Sophastienphong claimed individual victory in the 10 year girl’s 50m backstroke and Ellen Bagley made it six first places for the squad by following her younger sister’s earlier team win and cruising to a decisive victory in the 12 year girls individual 50m breaststroke.
A special mention to Kayden Sillah who covered for a team member by swimming up an age group as well as his own resulting in two very strong individual breaststroke swims in both the boys 11 and 12 year old events gaining a critical 8 points for the team.
After 49 fast and furious events and 95 minutes the Oxford team had amassed 175 points claiming 3rd place behind local rivals Wycombe with Ealing winning this second regional round. Oxford now wait to find out who they will meet in the final round of the competition in September to decide the teams going forward to the National finals.
As with most amateur sports this swimming competition relies on volunteers to organise andofficiate and they all did an outstanding job. A special mention on this occasion to Gill Cadle who stepped forward to referee despite not having a swimmer participating. This is typical of Gill who is called upon regularly to help in various school and county competitions; without her ‘can do’ attitude, and others like her, Oxfordshire (and N Bucks) swimming would be unable to develop and support its talented swimmers. Gill and many other unsung heroes, deserve medals in recognition of their significant voluntary contribution to sport.
Meanwhile, the Oxford ‘B Team’ were hosted by Witney at the Windrush Leisure Centre, and were up against competition from Bicester Bluefins, Modernians, Wellingborough, Witney and District SC, and Brompton.
The event started off with some great effort in the relays. In particular, the 9 year old boys (Dylan Palmer-Weight, Deniz Kocak, Edward Vennis, and Samuel McDouallsaw) fought hard to a 3rd place finish in the freestyle relay.
After 26 events, the Oxford team had amassed 58 points and were narrowly outside of 5th place behind Brompton. Some great individual performances contributed to the team effort such as Eleni Ioannou in the Girls 10 year old 50m breaststroke, Neretva Spengler in the Girls 9 year old 25m breaststroke, and Ella Joyce in the Girls 11 year old 50m freestyle. There were really strong performances and well-fought pushes for the finish by a number of the swimmers, including Thomas Sherwood in the Boys 12 year old 50m breaststroke and Harry Jones in the Boys 11year old 50m breaststroke. Oxford finished off the event with a really pleasing performance in the Girls 11year old Medley Relay (Lily Cooke, Tilly Boyns, Ella Joyce, and Catrin Rawstorne).
Despite the 6th place team finish (partly due to a number of unfortunate DQs), the Oxford junior swimmers should be proud of their performance – well done everyone!
Thanks to Liz for coaching at the event, the team managers, as well as the parents who attended the event. Very special thanks must be extended to Karen Holliday who officiated at the gala, despite not having a swimmer in the pool. Thanks Karen!
Carol Kavanagh, Sally Brabbin and Emily Savage-McGlynn