The British Gas ASA Open Water National Youth and Senior Age Group Championships got underway in perfect conditions at Rother Valley Country Park yesterday.
With the rise in popularity in Open Water swimming over recent years, some of the nation’s best young swimming talents took to the water, some for the first time, with the hopes of making their mark on the discipline.
The Boys’ 15-16 years race, swum over 1,750m, was won by Harry Payne of Thurrock who finished in a time of 19:17.20.
Despite Dan Seagrove-Castle (City of Canterbury) taking an early lead and heading the rest of the field around the first buoy, Payne took command of the race on the back leg of the course.
Coming into the finish, Mark Deans (City of Glasgow) sat just behind Payne but the Thurrock swimmer held off the competition to take the title..
Deans finished in second with a time of 19:18.43 with Danny Proffitt (West Suffolk) coming home in third in 19:21.25.
“My race plan was to try and get to the front and lead,” said Payne. “Previously I’ve just sat back and I’ve had two third place finishes at Nationals, but this year my coach Lisa [Bates] and I decided to do something different and it worked out.
“I knew I was going out fast at the beginning, and during the middle part I was tired but I kept it up right to the end.
“I definitely came here wanting to win so I’m really pleased with the gold. I’m feeling knackered right now but I’m going to rest a bit ready for the Youth Championships next week.”