Blistering performances steal the show on penultimate day of Summer Champs

27 Jul 2022

Claire Connon and Roan Brennan set new British records as the high-quality racing continued in Sheffield.

A record breaking final headlined the sixth day of action at Ponds Forge, as another landmark was broken in the Men’s MC 100m Butterfly final; the occasion seeing top seed Louis Lawlor of City of Glasgow take the fastest time and the gold medal. It wasn’t without uncertainty though, with Dundee City Aquatics’ Jack Milne pushing him all the way to take the silver on points and time, before Roan Brennan of Basildon Phoenix stole the show with a S9 British Record time of 1:04.22 on his way to collect bronze. The previous record had been on the books for 16 years, which was enough to ignite both the crowd and the athlete.

City of Cambridge’s Claire Connon added to the British Records for the day, as she swam a time of 51.16 in the heats of the Women’s MC 50m Backstroke. The S5 athlete also took down a record that has stood for over a decade; the 14 year-old time being lowered by nearly a second as Connon took top seed for the final, subsequently winning gold.

It was Abduljabar Adama who romped to victory in the 13/14 Men’s 50m Freestyle final; putting in one of the swims of the week. The athlete came off the back of another solid swim in the 100m butterfly yesterday to win by over a body length across the one-length race. Aberdeen Dolphins’ Dean Fearn took the silver, with Mount Kelly’s Alessandro D’Onofrio the bronze.

The Men’s 800m Freestyle provided the first medals on what was a lively day of swimming, as the final heat provided the heats viewers with racing worthy of a final. A four-way battle between swimmers with varying levels of national and international experience took place during the first half of the race, with City of Liverpool’s Tyler Melbourne-Smith and Loughborough University’s William Bell both pulling away from the other two contenders into the finish. Despite a solid effort from Bell it was Melbourne-Smith who kept his slender lead to record the fastest time of the event, as Swansea University’s Joseph Deighan touched home for the third.

It was the Women’s 400m Freestyle finals that kicked off the evening events, as the 13/14 year-old final saw the middle group of four break away down the first half of the race. City of Salford’s second seed Amelie Blocksidge then got the better of City of Sheffield’s Ava Cook to give the pair gold and silver respectively after they formed their own battle, with City of Leeds’ Hollie Wilson doing just enough for the bronze.

City of Cardiff’s Emilia John then took out the 15 year-old final; holding the lead throughout the opening half of the race. A handful of swimmers were on the shoulders of her though, as the gap began to close going into the last 100 metres. As the home straight was in sight, eight swimmers were within two seconds of victory before a late charge from Nova Centurion’s Jessica Brandom gave her the victory and the gold by seven hundredths of a second. Silver went to John, with F.I.R.S.T’s Suzie McNair managing to beat the chasing pack to the wall to claim bronze.

The trend continued with the 16 year-olds, as City of Sheffield’s Ashleigh Baillie produced a fightback down the last half of the race to give herself gold in what was a tight final. A clear front pack emerged after the start, until the home swimmer had to deal with Wycombe’s Lucy Fox, who made a charge herself, before ultimately having to settle for the silver. The bronze medal went to Mount Kelly’s Ruby Griffiths, who also managed to dig deep enough to secure the honour.

An intense one-on-one battle for the 18 year-old title took place between City of Birmingham’s Aimee Hood and Wycombe District’s Ella Dyson. The two could not be separated throughout the race as they broke away from the pack, with one hundredth of a second being the gap between them going into the final 100 metres. Dyson then turned it up a gear as the race drew to a close, with Hood hanging on before a late dash saw the Birmingham swimmer claim gold. It was Newcastle’s Lucy Hedley who won bronze, with Ella Dyson earning a clear silver medal after a race which excited the Ponds Forge spectators.

The fastest time of the event went to Rachel Anderson as she won a tight 19 & over final. Three seconds split the entire field as the race went into the second half, until the outside middle lanes made a charge with 150 metres to go. Loughborough University’s Mia Slevin then made a charge and was first with one length to go, until a last dash between Slevin and her club mate Anderson saw the latter take the gold to Slevin’s silver, as City of Sheffield’s longer-distance winner Amber Keegan coming in for bronze.

The evening then came to the Men’s 200m Individual Medley finals, with the 13/14 year-old final seeing a tight dash for the finish. RTW Monson’s Aran Bissett took the race out and looked a clear favourite at halfway, before Camden Swiss’ Llewellyn Porter worked the breaststroke leg to draw them level, to then win the gold on the touch. Coming in behind Bissett for the bronze medal was Tigers Jersey’s Isaac Thompson.

Filip Nowacki added to last night’s record-breaking performance when he took gold in the 15 year-old final. He used his pace on the breaststroke to pull well ahead of Bishop Stortford’s Toby Godsell, before cruising to victory. The Hertfordshire swimmer was then involved in another battle, this time for silver, with City of Leeds’ Kourosh Khodakhah. Godsell did manage to do enough in the early stages to take the medal though, with Khodakhah having to settle for bronze.

The 17 year-old final also brought fireworks, as City of Manchester’s Reuben Rowbotham-Keating and Millfield’s Solomon Williams took the race out, before top seed Matthew Ward of Mount Kelly shot between the two on the breaststroke; using that advantage to take the gold. It was the former two swimmers who were fighting for second, as Stockport Metro’s Reece Grady crept in to split those two in turn. Silver went to Williams, with Grady the bronze.

The fastest time in the event came in the 19 & over final, with a tight contest between a number of competitors. As four could not be separated with a length to go, the top seed Ben Harrison of Loughborough University powered through for the gold medal. Joel Thompson of Shiverers made it difficult for him as he finished just three tenths behind, before University of Stirling’s Angus Allison held on to the pair for bronze.

The Women’s MC 100m Butterfly final followed, with a quintet of swimmers of four different classifications all looking to secure the victory on British Para-Swimming points. Fastest seed Georgia Sheffield of Bolton Metro took the expected victory on time, with the all-important points seeing her gold medal confirmed. Brock Whiston of Barking & Dagenham returned to the medals as she took silver, with Aberdeen Dolphins’ Natalia Chociaj coming in for bronze from the outside lane.

It was back to the Individual Medley as the 13/14 year-old Women’s 200m race saw a close battle between Torfaen Dolphins’ Theodora Taylor and Newcastle’s Niamh Savory. The latter seemed to have the race under control before Taylor kept up her fine form at the competition to come in for the gold. Savory was forced to settle for silver, with RTW Monson’s Emilia Oliver joining the party for the bronze medal.

One hundredth of a second separated gold from silver in the Women’s 15 year-old final, as top seed Ruby Stephenson held off a late charge from City of Leicester’s Anna Farr, who made an impression from lane 1. Stephenson looked certain for the victory after a blistering breaststroke leg put her ahead of Farr, after she had a great start. The bronze medal went to Plymouth Leander’s Lacey Roberts, after she made a smaller comeback of her own to sneak into the medals.

Another tight final was had in the 18 year-old age group, as City of Sheffield’s Abigail Miles held her nerve to come out just in front of the chasing pack after the first half of the race couldn’t split them. It was a four-way battle for the rest of the medals, though, with the honour changing hands with every stroke. Eventually, with four hundredths of a second splitting second to fourth place, it was City of Bristol’s Georgia Gussey who got the better of Nova Centurion’s Emma Erskins, as the pair earned silver and bronze respectively.

Once again the 19 & over final provided the fastest time of the event, as City of Sheffield continued their prowess with Candice Hall producing a stunning swim to ease to gold. It was Loughborough University’s Lily Booker who never let her rest as she powered home for silver, with City of Cardiff’s Scarlet Major just six hundredths of a second behind her to take bronze.

The starters changed ends for the Men’s 50m Freestyle finals, which were always bound to put on a show. Following Adama’s record-breaking swim and a trend of top seeds putting in strong performances to be in and amongst the gold medals, the 17 year-old final was particularly eye-catching as Mount Kelly’s Arun Oelkers won the race from lane 8. With the naked eye unable to pick out a winner, the timeboard showed the news, much to the delight of the cheering Mount Kelly swimmers in the stands. Millfield’s Adam Graham finished just two hundredths of a second behind for silver, as Plymouth Leander’s Jacob Whibley took bronze by the same margin.

The fastest time of the event went to Millfield’s Alexander Painter; the athlete putting in a stunning performance in the 18 year-old final to take the victory by eight tenths of a second. City of Glasgow’s Ruairi McKinnon took the silver, after he finished less than a tenth of a second ahead of Mount Kelly’s Calvin Fry, who was forced to settle for the bronze medal.

Staying with the 50’s, the Women’s 50m Backstroke final did not disappoint, as the 13/14 year-old final produced a winner from Guildford City’s Tegan Matthews; the swimmer doing just enough to get the touch ahead of top-seed Peiqi Wu from Stockport Metro. Gabrielle Freeman of Northumberland and Durham also put in a commendable performance, as she won the bronze medal from lane 8.

City of Bristol’s Leah Evans took victory in the 17 year-old final after what was an intense race. Top seed Lily-May Marston did well to claw back ground after a number of impressive starts from swimmers across the pool, before Evans saw off the Royal Wolverhampton swimmer with a perfect finish. The bronze medal went to City of Peterborough’s Hannah Willis, after she got the better of fourth place by one hundredth of a second.

City of Leeds’ Kidiest Hodgson took the gold and the fastest time of the event as she won the 18 year-old final. The athlete was engaged in a tense battle with Royal Wolverhampton’s Charlotte Cullen, as the latter came up six hundredths of a second short to be awarded the silver medal, ahead of Northumberland and Durham’s Harriet Rogers, who took bronze before the day was brought to a close.

Tickets for spectators are required and can still be purchased here

A live stream of the event will be provided on the British Swimming YouTube Channel, which can be accessed here

Live results and start lists for the event can be accessed here

Full list of winners

Men's 800m Freestyle

13/14 Yrs - Llewellyn Porter, Camden Swiss

15 Yrs - James Raw, City of Leicester

16 Yrs - Jake Tomkins, Barnet Copthall

17 Yrs - Tyler Melbourne-Smith, City of Liverpool

18 Yrs - Matthew Woodhall, City of Sheffield

19 Yrs & over - William Bell, Loughborough University

Women's 400m Freestyle

13/14 Yrs - Amelie Blocksidge, City of Salford

15 Yrs -Jessica Brandom, Nova Centurion

16 Yrs - Ashleigh Baillie, City of Sheffield

17 Yrs - Aimee Monks, Royal Wolverhampton School

18 Yrs - Aimee Hood, City of Birmingham

19 Yrs & over - Rachel Anderson, Loughborough University

Men's 200m Individual Medley

13/14 Yrs - Llewellyn Porter, Camden Swiss

15 Yrs - Filip Nowacki, Tigers Jersey

16 Yrs - Edward Marcal Whittles, Chelsea & West

17 Yrs - Matthew Ward, Mount Kelly

18 Yrs - Alexander Casey, City of Leicester

19 Yrs & over - Ben Harrison, Loughborough University

Women's 100m Butterfly

MC - Georgia Sheffield, Bolton Metro

Men's 100m Butterfly

MC - Louis Lawlor, City of Glasgow

Women's 200m Individual Medley

13/14 Yrs - Theodora Taylor, Torfaen Dolphins

15 Yrs - Ruby Stephenson, City of Milton Keynes

16 Yrs - Evie Dilley, Northumberland and Durham

17 Yrs - Annabelle Wilkinson, City of Sheffield

18 Yrs - Abigail Miles, City of Sheffield

19 Yrs & over - Candice Hall, City of Sheffield

Men's 50m Freestyle

13/14 Yrs - Abduljabar Adama, Mount Kelly (13 year-old British Record)

15 Yrs - Callum Broadhead, Doncaster Dartes

16 Yrs - Nicholas Finch, Chelsea & West

17 Yrs - Arun Oelkers, Mount Kelly

18 Yrs - Alexander Painter, Millfield

19 Yrs & over - Alex Cohoon, Loughborough University

Women's 50m Backstroke

MC - Claire Connon, City of Cambridge

13/14 Yrs - Tegan Matthews, Guildford City

15 Yrs - Amara Addison, Norwich Swan

16 Yrs - Libby Freeman, Northumberland and Durham

17 Yrs - Leah Evans, City of Bristol

18 Yrs - Kidiest Hodgson, City of Leeds

19 Yrs & over - Katie Latham, Bromley