Friday, March 24, 2023

Swimming: Team Thurrock slay the giants

SWIMMERS from Thurrock recently competed at the 2012 Essex County Junior/Senior Long Course swimming championships. Despite having fewer competitors than the majority of their main rivals, team Thurrock have clearly taken the new swim season by storm, returning home with a bagful of medals and county titles.

Historically this event included just 2 age categories; junior (16 and under) and senior (open), but this year ECASA extended the competition to include younger age groups. The Borough team’s young swim stars certainly took advantage of this, returning home with over 20 medals in addition to senior and junior titles for Conor Harrold and Sonny Ford.

Harrold claimed 2 senior titles, comfortably winning the 100m and 200m backstroke (1:00.36) and (2:10). The 19 year old then narrowly missed out on a backstroke hat-trick, being touched out into 2nd place in the 50m event by a mere 0.01 of a second.

For the 2nd year in succession, Sonny Ford was crowned junior 200m butterfly champion (2:14.09) a swim that was also good enough to claim silver in the senior category. Clearly in good early season form, Sonny went on to bag silvers in the 100m fly (1:00.2) in both junior and senior categories and a silver in the junior 50m fly (27.4). Gareth Hawkins rounded off an impressive showing from Thurrock’s youth swimmers with a backstroke double in the junior category, taking silver in the 50m (30.06) and bronze in the 100m (1:05.32).

Leading the way for the younger age groups was 11 year old Georgia Hobson who bagged double gold in the 200m free (2:28) and 200m back (2:47). Hobson proved she is one to watch this season as she went on to claim 4 silvers in the 50m fly (34.31), 100m free (1:08), 200m IM (2:48) and 50m free (31.85).

Swimming talent in the youngest 9-year-old category is also starting to emerge under the direction of Olympic 2 coach Paul Hayes. Gracie Mae Martin claimed her first of what could be many county titles in the 50m breast (50.22) and went on to a hat-trick of other podium finishes with 2nd spot in the 200m fly (3:42), and bronze medals in the 200m breast (3:48) and 200m IM (3:21). Fellow squad member James Edgings also celebrated podium success winning gold in the 50m fly (47.91).

Thurrock’s 2 final County Champions were 15-year-old James Day and 11 year old Azar Aitmarri. The duo are clearly reaping the benefit of hard early season training under the direction of head coach Alan Mitchell, with James taking gold in the 14/15 years 100m free (57.84) and bronze in the 400m free (4:30). Not surprisingly, breastroke specialist Azar claimed the 11 year old County title in the 50m breast (41.98) and also scooped two silvers in the 200m breast (3:15) and 400m free (5:14).

Completing TSC’s medal haul were brothers James and Andrew Martindale. Andrew brought home a hat-trick of silvers in the 200m fly (2:46), 50m back (34.16) and 50m fly (31.90), with James completing the family medal haul with bronze in the 12/13 years 200m fly (2:47).

Also producing notable long course swims were Nicky Edgings, Jay Pilkington, Callum Bazela, Katherine Stephens, Renae Dawes and in particular 9 year old duo Mia Fursedonne and Louis Morris. Mia and Louis had a number of great swims and were unlucky to finish outside the medal positions in their respective events.


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