Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Essex Swimmers Are Champions!

THURROCK Swimming Club were recently crowned Essex County Swimming Champions for the fourth year in succession and sixth time in seven years. This latest county success was somewhat sweeter than previous years, as this was the first victory under the exciting new regime and swimming programme of new Head Coach Lisa Bates. Bates proudly accompanied the team of swimmers up to the podium to receive the Albert Turner memorial trophy from Essex ASA President, Thurrock’s own, Paul Hayes who himself has been a member and coach at Thurrock for many a year.

Thurrock triumphed against 25 other Essex based clubs over 4 long weekends of tough short course competitive swimming, beating 2nd place Romford Town by a margin of 107 points. The Borough team also finished the competition with one overall age group winner, 11 year old Gable Hall student, George Epsly and 18 other swimmers placed in the top 6 in their overall age groups.

In the final round of the competition, Thurrock took 13 county titles, 15 silvers, 13 bronze and whole host of other top 6 places. Top 11 year old boy George Epsly signed off with a mixed bag of medals, winning gold in the 400m IM (5:28), silver in the 200m IM (2:40) and 50m free (29.89) and bronze in the 200m back (2:36). Sister Molly was not to be outdone though, as the 17 year also secured her own county title in the 400m free (4:31) and a silver in the 200m fly (2:30). Training partner Kerriann Chipperfield also had reason to celebrate, as the 16 year old finished off one of her best county Championships yet with a hat-trick of wins in the 200m fly (2:23), 100m free (1:00) and 400m free (4:29), a silver in the 200 IM (2:29) and bronze in the 400m IM (5:11).

Seventeen year old Conor Harrold also celebrated one of his best county championships for a few years with a silver in the 200m IM (2:14). A fabulous display of backstroke swimming then followed earning the Seevic college student a silver and National Qualifying time in the 200m event (2:08). Twelve year old James Day’s good season continued with 2 more golds in the 200m free (2:14) and 400m free (4:40) and a silver in the 200m fly (2:35). Katherine Stephens and Harry Geggus also both recorded victories in their signature events. William Edwards student Katherine took gold in the girls 13 years 200m fly (2:31) and 14 year old Harry, a student at Chafford Hundred Campus, stormed to his first ever county title in the 200m breast. Harry swam a magnificent race to just pip arch rival Luke Bourne from Rochford in a new short course PB (2:41). The duo then went on to collect further medals; Kat, bronze in the 400m IM (5:19) and 100m fly (1:11) and Harry silver in the 50m breast (34.75).

Thurrock’s junior boys are also going from strength to strength and none more so that 14 year old’s Gareth Hawkins and Sonny Ford. Both boys won county titles in their favoured events; Gareth produced a magnificent display of backstroke sprint swimming to take gold and a National Qualifying time in the 100m back (1:02) and Sonny Ford held his nerve in the 200m fly, holding off strong opposition, to take gold in the 200m fly (2:18). Both boys then went on to deliver quality swims in the 200m and 400m freestyle, Gareth taking silver and 4th place and Sonny 4th and 5th places respectively. Kayleigh Umfreville’s impressive showing at this years championships continued as the 12 year old took 2 more county titles in the 100m breast (1:20) and 400m IM (5:12), the later also an event best time. Kayleigh also collected 2 bronze medals in the 100m fly (1:10) and 200m fly (2:33).

Freestyle specialist 15 year old Harry Payne also had the Midas touch, touching first in an exciting 100m freestyle final (56:09). Harry also collected silver in the 200m free (2:01) and bronze in the 100m IM (1:05). Sixteen year old Alex Delicata also finished the Essex Champs in fine style, with another 3 medals in a highly competitive age group. Unfortunately, gold eluded Alex on this occasion, although the Benfleet based swimmer still managed silvers in the 100m fly (1:01), 200m free (1:59) and 200m back (2:13) and bronze in the 200m IM (2:17). At the other end of the age scale, Thurrock also had plenty of younger talent on display, with 10 year old Louie Ridgway claiming bronze in the 200m IM (2:58) and 6th place in the 200m back (2:57). Louie also had a fine 5th place swim in the 400m IM (6:25), where 6th, 7th and 8th places were all taken by Thurrock swimmers, Luke Sheridan, Aaron Clarke and James Martindale. In the boys youngest 9 years age group, Thomas Lyons swam superbly to take a well deserved silver in the 200m back (3:11), but Thomas suffered an unfortunate disqualification in the 200m IM. Team mate Jay Pilkington made up for any disappointment with a fine 5th place finish in the same event.

Young Olympic squad swimmers Imagine Stuart and Brooke Fairchild also won medals in the final block of competition, with Brooke winning double bronze in the 200m fly (3:28) and 200m IM (3:12). Imagine also scored valuable points for Thurrock, coming home for the silver in the 200m IM (3:07) and 5th spot in the 200m fly (3:31).

Other point winning top 6 swims were recorded by Ellie-Louise Sharpe, Chloe Wood, Charlotte Delicata, Rebecca Hayes, Tillie Geggus, Bradley Clarke, Aimee Newport, Salaam Motin, Georgia Mills, Hope Jones and Jay Pilkington.

The following swimmers placed in the top 6 of their age group at the end of the championships: –

1st George Epsly, 11 years

2nd James Day, 12 years
2nd Gareth Hawkins, 14 years
2nd Harry Payne, 15 years

3rd Imagine Stuart, 9 years
3rd Alex Delicata, 16 years
3rd Kerriann Chipperfield, 16 years
3rd Jessica Ford, 17 years and over

4th Brooke Fairchild, 9 years
4th Luke Sheridan, 10 years
4th Kayleigh Umfreville, 12 years

5th Aimee Newport, 10 years
5th Sonny Ford, 14 years
5th Conor Harrold, 17 year and over

6th Louie Ridgway, 10 years
6th Emma Cassidy, 12 years
6th Harry Geggus, 13 years
6th Katherine Stephens, 13 years
6th Molly Epsly, 17 years and over


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