Trio impress at championships

Three Weston swimmers qualify for finals at the National Youth Championships.

THIS year there was a schedule clash between the National Youth Swimming Championships and the Olympics.

The National Youth Championships were moved forward a week and England’s top 15 to 18-year-olds missed their last week of school/college to travel to Sheffield.

This year’s Weston Swimming Club’s captain, Esme Gullick, had qualified for five events and off the back of a great performance at the British Championships in June, she was looking forward to some fast swimming.

Esme’s previous best was to qualify as a reserve semi-finalist, so this year the goal was the get into a semi-final and achieve a top 20 finish to go with the 16th and 14th placings from the British Championships.

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The first day was a baptism of fire, competing in the 200m individual medley, 100m butterfly and 100m backstroke, all within four hours. The first event saw a 2.5 second personal best, followed by a time of just 0.8 outside of a best time, but enough to reach a semi-final.

Esme was 1.1 seconds outside of a best time in the 100m backstroke, but the semi-final swim was weighing on her mind.

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After a few hours rest, Esme was back to within 0.1 seconds of her best time in the semi final of the 100m butterfly and moved up from her seeded 20th place to finish 15th (eighth out of the 17-year-olds).

In Esme’s favourite event, the 200m butterfly, she recorded a solid swim, just 0.7 off of her best, which saw her through to her second semi-final of the meet in 13th place. A few hours rest, a stunning swim (with a PB of 1.7 seconds) and Esme was through to her first national final with a time of 2.18.71.

The 200m backstroke on day four was 1.9 seconds outside of Esme’s best, but the final was looming later that day. Another great swim in the 200m butterfly final, saw a ninth place finish (fourth in the 17-year-old age group).

Esme also came together with other talented swimmers from across Somerset in three relay swims. All three resulted in great split times for Esme, well below her personal bests.

Five days down and the age groupers arrived for their turn. Evan King was joined this year by Lucy Davies. Evan had increased her programme by qualifying for two additional events and in Lucy’s first year at this level, she had achieved four individual qualifying times.

Day one saw the 200m individual medley for Lucy and the 100m freestyle for Evan. Evan’s one second PB saw her finish 15th, just 0.05 from making the final. Lucy was just outside of a best time, but qualified in 18th for the semi-final.

Stepping up for the final, Lucy dipped under her PB to finish in a fantastic 16th place.

Day two was a big day for the girls - Lucy had the 200m breaststroke, which she had swam earlier in the year at the Olympic trials and Evan had the 100m butterfly in which she finished fourth as a 12-year-old in 2011.

Good swims by both girls saw Lucy safely through to another semi-final and Evan into the final seeded fourth.

Rising to the occasion in a great finals session, Lucy qualified for her first national final and Evan just dipped under her PB to win her first national medal, a silver with a time of 1.05.17.

Feeling renewed confidence, the next morning involved the heats of the 200m butterfly for Evan. A swim two seconds slower than her best was still good enough to qualify Evan for the final that night.

A brave fight and great attack on the opening 150m saw Evan in a great position. Unfortunately there was not quite enough left in the tank on the last 50m but a time just 0.2 outside her best, gave Evan fourth place (two places better than last year).

The girls finished the competition with the 400m individual medley. Personal bests by Evan and Lucy resulted in a great finish to the competition.

As with Esme, Lucy and Evan joined together with other talented swimmers from Somerset to compete in 4x100m freestyle and medley relays and the 4x200m freestyle relay.

Lucy and Evan performed brilliantly in the 4x200m freestyle and both improved on their personal best times. Evan’s 200m freestyle split time was faster than the bronze medal swimmer in the individual event and showed a fantastic improvement.

This was a great end to the swimming season, with each swimmer qualifying in more events. This improvement is due to the energy and commitment of the poolside coaching team and the dedication and attitude of the swimmers.

Evan entered the club through the Talent ID link with Hutton Moor Leisure Centre’s teachers and the club is always keen to seek out new young swimmers.

Also, due to popular demand, Weston Swimming Club is now offering masters training for adult swimmers and triathletes who are looking for structured training.

Please contact Zara ( or Rachel ( for more information.

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