A TRIO of Stratford Sharks swimmers impressed at the National Open Water Championships at Rother Valley Country Park in South Yorkshire.
They had all qualified thanks to their efforts at the Midlands Open Water Championships in June.
Robin Hughes and Felix Gallagher qualified for the 3km race and Seren Mahon for the 5km event and the swimmers were greeted by overcast but warm conditions, with the water temperature a balmy 23.5 degrees.
Gallagher was the first to swim in the boys’ 15-years race and finished 13th with a time of 40 minutes, 23 seconds.
He was pleased with his swim and, although he found the water warmer than the Midlands qualifier, he said the real challenge had been the rough conditions.
Hughes was next up in the boys’ 16-years race and he finished 17th in a time of 39 minutes, 52 seconds.
By now the clouds had darkened and the rain had started to hammer down but Hughes forged on regardless.
Mahon was the last Sharks swimmer and faced a gruelling 5km challenge but she impressed hugely to finish 16th in the girls’ 17/18-year age group in a time of one hour, ten minutes, nine seconds.
Sharks coach Yvonne Caswell felt everyone swam really well and was proud of the swimmers for performing so impressively at their first National Open Water Championships.
“It’s a very different experience from competition swimming in the pool,” said Caswell.
“Brutal but energising is how I’d describe it.”
If you are interested in competitive swimming and would like to join Stratford Sharks Academy, then e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Swimmers should be aged between seven and ten and have reached the minimum standard of Level 7 of an Amateur Swimming Association Learn To Swim programme.