Wisbech swimmers’ hard work rewarded

Lucy Ryan with the clutch of medals she won at the British Masters Swimming Championships. PHOTO: Wi

Lucy Ryan with the clutch of medals she won at the British Masters Swimming Championships. PHOTO: Wisbech Swimming Club. - Credit: Archant

Sam Smith and Oliver Smithee represented Wisbech Swimming Club in the long-course (50m pool) 2018 Age Group Regional Championships, held in Luton from May 26–28.

In his debut regional event, Smithee competed in the 200m breaststroke, setting a new long-course personal best time.

Smith, meanwhile, contested five events, managing long-course PBs in three and swimming faster than his short-course equivalents in two.

Smithee placed 31st in his event, while Smith’s best finish was 22nd.

Greg Marsters, Wisbech Swimming Club head coach, said: “Both boys gained valuable experience at Regional level.

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“I was proud of their efforts and fully expect them to continue improving and return next year.”

As the club’s busy competition schedule continued, 21 Wisbech swimmers attended the Cambridgeshire County Development Championships in Peterborough on June 3 and 10.

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The second Sunday’s competition was a big ask for those who had swum in the Junior Fenland League event the previous evening, yet in 80 races over the two weekends, Wisbech managed 66 new personal best times, a fine effort good enough for 16 gold, 11 silver and 13 gold medals.

Of the event winners, Ben Eden took four golds; George Milton three; Aiste Virzintaite, Sophie Fenner and Lily Jones two each; and Alex Wilson, Millie Harris and Zach Peggs one apiece.

Many of those swimming were new to competition at this level, making any new times particularly impressive.

Among them, in an epic performance, Sam Harris achieved 11 PBs; followed by Aiste Virzintaite and Zach Peggs on five; Zoe Wilson, Lily Jones, Sophie Fenner and Oscar Smithee (four); Alex Wilson, George Milton, Gracie Wenn, Troy Croxford and Adam Gendy (three); Millie Harris, Abigail Condon, Eleanor Beesley, Isobel Holmes and Ben Eden (two); and Sorcha Friel, Oliver Glasscock, Ridas Rabasauskas and Oliver Smithee with one each.

Going into round three of the Junior Fenland League as leaders, Wisbech had everything to lose against strong opposition at home on June 9.

A quality Boston team was always going to push Wisbech Swimming Club hard and the visitors kept ahead for the first nine of 45 events; the home swimmers inching past by one point only on event ten.

In a thrilling, action-packed gala, Boston was back ahead on event 18, only for event 19 to bring the two level.

Wisbech took a one-point lead on event 20 and although Boston never quite managed to get level again, it pushed hard, the two teams finishing only 10 points apart after a gripping cannon relay finale.

Wisbech won the gala on 196 points, followed by Boston (186), Deepings (114), Huntingdon (95) and Chatteris (69). Boston’s inexorable pressure encouraged Wisbech to 31 PBs in 44 events, while Harry Smith (three); Millie Harris, Olivia Rowell and Oliver Glasscock (two each); and Jamie Wilson, Aiste Virzintaite, Zach Peggs, George Milton, Lily Jones, Josh Jones, Katie Whittaker, Ridas Rabasauskas, Ruby Lane, Sophie Fenner, Katie Leach, Henry Leach and the squadron relay team all added to the town’s 22 first places.

Finally, while many of its younger swimmers were in action at Peterborough, one of Wisbech Swimming Club’s more experienced campaigners was at the British Masters Swimming Championships in Plymouth, from 8 to June 10.

East of England record holder Lucy Ryan won all the breaststroke events in her age group, came second in the individual medley and helped Team Anglia win two relay silvers.

Returning home with three gold and three silver medals, Lucy said: “After medalling at last year’s World Masters Championships in Budapest, I’ve kept up my training while also teaching at Grange Farm Swim School. “Next, I’m travelling to Slovenia, for September’s European Championships. “It would be incredible to be able to medal there too.”

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