34 Inspiring Healthy Lifestyles Wigan BEST swimmers were in action over the past two weekends competing in the ASA Lancashire County Championships, which is the first major meet of the season. In all the Borough’s elite swimmers competed in 204 races, making 93 finals and collecting 57 medals, 12 of which where gold.
Class performance came from 16 year old Harley Beentjes who came away from the event with 15 medals, taking gold in the 1500m freestyle in his own age group and the junior men’s title in the process, such was the class of his performance he took the bronze in the senior men’s. Two superb performances came from Harley in the shorter freestyle events finishing 2nd both in his age group and the junior event in the men’s 200 freestyle breaking the 2 minute mark for the first time finishing in 1:59.74. Harley reproduced his excellent performance in the middle distance 400m event again taking both silver medals for his age group and junior event finishing in 4:12.57 another personal best. Harley went on to take another 6 medals all bronze in the 100m and 50m freestyle. Melissa Braddock showed her strength in the ladies 800m freestyle taking the 16 year-old and the ladies junior title in 9:27.68. In the 400m freestyle swam an excellent race finishing with the silver medal.
Jennifer Green came away with a fantastic 3 gold medals during her weekend of swimming, dominating the 13 year-old breaststroke events. In the 50m sprint event she powered her way to victory finishing in an excellent 35.81, from here she went on to finish strong in the 100m event taking her second gold in 1:18.00, proving the longer 200m event was no problem gold was secured in 2:52.94. A further 3 medals came Jennifer way all silver in the girls 200m and 400m medley events and the 400m freestyle. Wigan BEST has a very strong contingent of 13 year-old girls adding to the medal tally was 13 year-old Mia Greenough who added a further 8 medals to the clubs haul. In the 50m butterfly Mia capitalized on a very explosive start she maintained the lead down the pool to finish in an excellent 30.82. Her first silver medal came in the ladies 200m butterfly finishing in 2:42.19. Showing her range of talents Mia moved in on the medals in the freestyles events taking the silvers in both the 100m and 200m events. Finishing off two weekends of superb swimming Mia took bronze in the 100m, 200m Back and not surprising in the 200m medley considering her range of events. Continuing the 13 year-olds fantastic results was Katherine Baker who showed her talents in the 50m backstroke when she snatched the gold medal with very last stroke to the wall winning in 33.92. In the longer sprint Katherine again showed her determination and desire to win when she again finished strong taking her second gold of the meet in 1:12.48. The 17th medal for the club in this age group came from Sammy Briscoe in the 13 year boys 200m breaststroke, which saw Sammy take the silver medal in 3:02.21.
11 year-old Liam Carey commenced his long course season with an excellent collection of 7 medals for his efforts throughout the meet. In the 200m backstroke saw Liam take his first County gold medal finishing in 2:48.37, he went on to take silver in the 50, 100 and 200m freestyle and bronze in the 50m butterfly and backstroke. In the girls event an excellent bronze came the way of Olivia Sheehan in the 11 year-old girls 400m freestyle finishing in 5:39.48.
Another strong age group for the club was the 12 year-olds in the form of Emma Haynes, Piper Stevens, and Ellis Nickson. Emma came away with an excellent 3 medals silver in the girls 50m butterfly in 31.98 and two bronze in the 100m and 400m freestyle. Piper had two excellent swims in the 200m breaststroke and backstroke taking the silver in both events and Ellis took a great silver in the boys 400m medley.
Further medals came to Wigan from the 15 year-old age group with Hannah Sheehan adding to the gold medal haul in the 200m breaststroke finishing in a personal best of 2:43.10 which will move her up the national rankings. Charlotte Nester added a silver medal from the ladies 100m backstroke, and a great bronze medal in the 200m medley. In the 16 year-old boys 400m medley James Cross had a hard fought race finishing in an excellent bronze place.
Head Coach Les France was delighted with the swimmers performances stating that this sets the club up for another great season as we move into the National Long Course Qualifying period from the 13th March. From this point the swimmers will be pushing to get high enough in the rankings in their respective age groups to qualify to compete in Sheffield at the British and English National Championships. He added we have come along way over the previous 3 years and we are now showing good depth of talent across all the age groups. This has been possible through the hard work of the swimmers, parents, coaches and teachers at all levels and our excellent partnership with each of the local community swimming clubs. The way things presently stand we have some excellent talented swimmers and a very bright future ahead of us, which has all been possible because of the excellent support that Inspiring Healthy Lifestyles Aquatic has given to the sport, right across the board.