Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Swimmers Triumph In Nationals

THURROCK Swimming Club celebrate one of their most successful National Age Group Championships ever, after a gruelling week competing against the cream of British age group swimming and top competitors from as far as Dubai, Turkey and the Republic of Ireland.

After one year at the helm, Head Coach Lisa Bates has certainly had an impact on the club with the team of 7 national qualifiers producing an incredible 7 national finals and 1 bronze medal to add to a huge haul of PB swims.


Gareth Hawkins kick starts Thurrock’s championships winning heat 9 of the boys 11/14 100m backstroke in a new PB of 1:04.23. This swim places Gareth, 14 fastest in Great Britain.

Sean Houlihan smashes his PB by 3 seconds, swimming an amazing 2:31.73 for the 200m breastroke to qualify 4th fastest for the evenings final.

Despite being ranked 24th fastest in the boys 4 x 100m freestyle relay, Thurrock’s quartet of Gareth Hawkins, Sonny Ford, Harry Geggus and Sean Houlihan defy the odds and qualify as 8th fastest team (3:53.89) for the evenings final

Kayleigh Umfreville makes her debut at national level in the gruelling girls 11/13 1500m freestyle. Kayleigh is not quite at her best but still manages to finish as 31st fastest in Great Britain (19.07.79)


Sean Houlihan knocks another second of of his earlier heat time (2:30.3) to win a national bronze medal in the final of the boys 14 years 200m breaststoke.

The atmosphere really hots up as the boys 4 x 100m freestyle team line up against teams from some of the biggest swimming clubs in the country including Millfield School, Plymouth Leander and City of Sheffield. Gareth, Sonny, Harry and Sean all rise to the occasion though and all swim sub 1:00 to take 9th place in the national final (3:54.27)


James Day wins heat 5 of the boys 11/14 200m butterfly in a PB of 2:32.15, which secures him a 13th place finish in the 12 years category.

George Epsly confirms his status as one of the best young butterfly swimmers in Great Britain, as the 12 year old qualifies 4th fastest for the final of the boys 12 years 200m butterfly (2:27.66)

Sonny Ford upsets some big swimmers in the boys 14 years 200m butterfly and swims a 3 second PB (2:15.55) to qualify for the boys 14 years 200m Butterfly final

Sean Houlihan amazingly makes his 3rd final in as many races in the boys 11/14 years 200m IM. Houlihan is clearly on fire as he swims another 3 second PB (2:16.69) to put himself in medal contention for this evenings final

James Day is some way off his best in the boys 11/14 years 1500m freestyle (18:48), but puts this behind him and focuses on his busy swimming schedule for the rest of the week


Despite being the youngest swimmer in the final of the boys 12 years 200m butterfly, George Epsly steps up again and swims an amazing 2:26.08 to finish as the 6th fastest 12 year old butterfly swimmer in Great Britain

Sonny Ford swims the race of his of his life to finish 6th in the final of the boys 14 years 200m butterfly. A time of 2:14.55 makes Sonny the fastest 1996 born 200m butterfly swimmer in Great Britain

Sean Houlihan rounds off one what must be of one of Thurrock’s most successful couple of days of national swimming ever with a superb 4th place finish in the 14 years 200m IM (2:14.37)


James Day’s back with a vengeance swimming the 9th fastest 400m freestyle in the boys 12 years category (4:39.09). James now gets ready for tonights final

The busy Sean Houlihan and team mate Gareth Hawkins produce good swims in the heats of the 200m backstroke despite both being slightly off their best. Sean finishes in 18th place (2:19.27) and Gareth in 26th place (2:21.01)


James Day smashes his PB in the final of the boys 12 years 400m freestyle. James’ swim of 4:37.74 puts James 7th fastest in Great Britain


No rest for talented 12 year old James Day, as he goes again this time in the boys 11/14 years 200m freestyle. James puts in another good performance to take 13th place (2:14. 44).

James is just outside his best as is team mate George Epsly in the boys 11/14 years 100m butterfly. James finishes 18th in 1:10.32, with George taking 17th spot in 1:10.22

Sean Houlihan is unlucky not to make the final of the boys 14 years 100m breaststroke. Sean has to settle for first reserve for tonights final (1:12.88)


James Day signs off with another PB, this time in the boys 11/14 years 400m IM (5:26.85), a swim that earns him 23rd place in the 12 years category.

Sean Houlihan’s busy week gets the better of him as the national breaststroke medalist is unable to make an impact in the boys 11/14 years 400m IM

The boys quartet of Gareth Hawkins, Sean Houlihan, Sonny Ford and Harry Geggus are quietly confident of making the final of the boys 4 x 100m medley team. A magnificent effort from all 4 boys (Gareth, Backstroke: 1:04.9, Sean, Breaststroke: 1:12.2, Sonny, Fly: 1:01.9 and Harry Free: 1:00) puts them in medal contention for tonights final (4:19.75)


Gareth, Sean, Sonny and Harry play a major part in one of the most exciting races of the championships. Thurrock are one of 4 teams contesting 3rd place, but narrowly miss out and have to settle for a 7th place finish (4:17.82)


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