RWS shine at Regional Age Group Championships

RWS shine at Regional Age Group Championships

On the 7th & 8th and 14th & 15th June this seasons East & West Midlands Regional Age Group Championships saw 16 of our talented youngsters put on the famous blue and white caps to show the region what we're made of and despite this part of the Royal squad only being in its infancy the team spirit was evident to all throughout the two weekends.

The first weekend got off to a flying start with our girls A team managing a respectable 10th position in the 800m Freestyle Relay event finishing in a time of 9:16.97.  The team was headed up by Niamh Hofland, followed by Katie-Mae BodenShannon Robinson and with Laura Hawkins bringing in the finish.

This was closely followed by an amazing 200m Breaststoke by Laura and Saffiyah Sheikh. Saffiyah managing to reach the 13 year old final where she came 6th with a new personal best time of 2:56.40.

Next came the first of many brilliant swims from Niamh, securing another national qualifying time in the 100m Backstroke with a time of 1:12.25. This was closely followed by a bronze medal in the 200m Freestyle final-the first of 6 medals throughout the championships!

The 200m Freestyle also saw Helena Mole swim in her first ever regional championships with a fantastic pb of 2:32.19.

Saturday afternoon brought Niamh further rewards in the form of a bronze medal in the 200m Butterfly, narrowly missing out on the silver. This preceeded the evening session which saw Niamh, Shannon, Katie-Mae and Laura all compete in the 800m Freestyle. All girls swam well, with Shannon seeing a 19 second pb and breaking the 10 minute mark.

Sunday's highlight was undoubtedly Lewis Hodgetts National Qualifying Time of 1:02.70 for his 100m Butterfly. This found him a spot in the final where he came 4th, hitting his national time yet again. Lewis followed this up with a superb swim gaining himself another final place this time in the 200m Butterfly, where he came 5th.

Also on the Sunday Niamh obtained her 3rd medal, this time silver, in the 200m Individual Medley final and Oliver Thompson proved he was making a comeback from glandulafever with a great 100m Freestyle.

As the first weekend drew to a close everyone seemed ready to put in another hard week of training to prepare to do it all again the following weekend!

This time the boys set the tone by getting the second weekend off to a great start finishing 11th in the 800m Freestyle relay. They were headed by Lewis, followed byAlex Westwood, Oliver then Ben Cope brought them home finishing in a time of 9:04.30.

This was followed by Niamh obtaining her 8th NQT this time in the 200m Backstroke in a time of 2:31.96. Niamh later came 7th in the final.

Up next was Ben who swam fantastically in the 200m Backstroke to get his first National Qualifying Time in a time of 2:32.58. He was rewarded by reaching his first final at regionals where he swam his national time again and came in 4th.

Going into the evening session Tom Watkin was determined to get in on the action and secured his first national qualifying time in the 1500m Freestyle in a time of 18:58.93. An amazing day for both boys!

In the midst of this the younger girls 200m Breaststroke saw Katie Hawkins and Jessica Lake swim confidently in their first regional championships. This event also gave Niamh her 4th medal in the form of a silver.

Finally the last day was upon us, with Marc in Lake Windermere with the elite open water swimmers the age groupers seemed determined to do Hugh proud. Both girls relay teams did this in the medley relay, coming in 11th and 19th. The A team was made up of Katie-Mae, Laura, Niamh and Shannon, they came in on 4:52.31. The B team was comprised of Saffiyah, Katie, Tilly Thompson and Holly Lewis who came in on 5:06.46.

The younger girls 400m Individual Medley saw Emily Bate swim an amazing time of 5:40.44 on her birthday! Then Niamh came along and blew everyone out the water by swimming a 5:15.16 and deservedly getting gold for her efforts-medal number 5!

The boys followed in the 400m Freestyle with Ben and Tom just missing out on national times. This event was young Jack Jones' first experience of regionals and he swam well in a time of 5:29.21.

The last afternoon of the championships gave the age groupers more pbs all round including a great 200m IM for Alex. There was a final medal for Niamh in the 400m Freestyle with a bronze. This event also showed Holly Lewis fighting back after injury, managing to crack the 5 minute barrier.

The championships concluded with both Niamh and Lewis achieving top 8 places in Bagcats - 4th and 8th respectively.

Everybody should be proud of their achievements over the championships, whether it be the first time or the fifth we got a lot of great personal bests, finalists, medals and national qualifying times.

We definitely did it the Royal way!!

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