Over thirty excited junior swimmers from City of Oxford Swimming Club made their way to Witney to join teams from Abingdon Vale, Henley, Wantage, Witney and Wycombe for a Junior Development Gala on Saturday 21 January.
Both poolside and gallery spectator areas were packed as a very exciting and hard fought evening of racing got underway with 4x25m freestyle relays for both boys and girls in the three age groups, 8-9 yrs, 10yrs and 11yrs. Oxford took two second, two third and a first place in the first five races. A strong swim from the 10yr old boys freestyle relay team of Ethan Bird, Kayden Sillah, Arsham Abyaneh and Moses Baker saw them touch just ahead of Abingdon Vale and Wycombe to win their race.
This set the tone of the evening with Abingdon Vale and Wycombe the strongest challengers and some very determined swims from the Oxford swimmers, many of whom were competing in their first external competition. Notable individual swims included an impressive three first places for Zara Porter in the girls 9 yrs 50m free style, 100m individual medley and 50m butterfly; first place for Angelos Agko in the boys 9 yrs 50m free style; two first places for Ethan Bird in the boys 10yrs 100m Individual Medley and 50m backstroke and a first for Emma Sherwood in the girls 9yrs 50m breaststroke.
The swimmers then enjoyed the mixed breaststroke relays with two boys and two girls from each club competing in each age group. The mixed 8-9yrs team of Zofia Conway, Ben Harkness, Evelyn O’Gorman and Edward Bewes took first place in their race. The evening then continued with more enthusiastically and impressively swum individual races. City of Oxford swimmers showed great determination and the coaches focus on starts and turns was evident in the quality of the swimming on display. First places continued with Eleni Ioannou in the girls 9yrs 50m backstroke, a commanding win from Kayden Sillah in the boys 10yrs 50m breaststroke, William Healey in the very close boys 11yrs freestyle and Tilly Boyns in the girls 10yrs 50m backstroke.
Swimmers also raced in mixed butterfly relays, medley relays and the thrilling concluding canon relay which saw twelve swimmers from each club across the age ranges swim 25m freestyle in a deafening conclusion to an exciting evening. The result of the canon relay mirrored the overall results. The final scores saw Wycombe with 234 points narrowly beat Abingdon Vale with 219. City of Oxford finished an impressive third with 186 points. The home club was fourth with 127 points and Wantage and Henley scored 126 and 75 respectively.
The full results can be found here