IT HAS been a busy summer for talented Stratford Sharks swimmers who have been in action at several major UK swimming competitions.
July and August brought some challenging events the way of the swimmers, the first of which was the Welsh Nationals held at the Olympic-sized 50m pool in Swansea and featured Sharks member Elinor Bird.
The 16-year-old is no stranger to events of this magnitude and she qualified for the 50m and 100m breaststroke events and the 200m and 400m individual medleys.
Staggeringly good swims in the two breaststroke events brought two gold medals and two national titles for Elinor as her trademark high-speed turns helped her to edge ahead of the competition.
She was also pleased with an excellent fourth in the gruelling 400m individual medley.
Her team-mate Seren Mahon also qualified to swim at the Welsh Nationals, but was unable to make the event.
The second and most significant event in the swimming calendar was the British Nationals held at the 50m long course pool at Ponds Forge in Sheffield and this time Elinor qualified and raced in the 200m breaststroke.
“It was a great experience to compete against the best in Britain,” said Elinor.
“It was a chance for me to see what improvements I need to make for the next season. I loved every minute.”
The final ‘major’ – the English Nationals – took place back at the Sheffield venue and this time three Stratford Sharks swimmers qualified for events.
Izzy Callaghan (14-year girls) qualified for the 200m breaststroke and a storming swim in the heats and a personal best time of 2:50.25 saw Izzy reach the final in which she came a creditable ninth.
Ailsa Gavan-McHarg also took part in two relays in the 17 and over girls section and swam two cracking legs to help her team come fourth in the 4x100m freestyle relay and fifth in the 4x100m medley relay.
Robin Hughes (14/16 boys) also swam in the 4x200m freestyle and enjoyed the event immensely.
“It was another great season for Stratford Sharks,” said club chairman Jonathan Penny.
“We’re really proud of the excellent results produced by our swimmers and we’re always looking for new recruits, new talent, so if you fancy a free trial with either our ‘learn to swim’ squads, our ‘competitive swim’ squads or perhaps our ‘masters’ swim squad, then please contact Graham Hopper our membership secretary at firstname.lastname@example.org or come down to see us on a Friday night at Stratford Leisure Centre.”