It was an exciting night of racing as Max Litchfield took gold and Georgia Coates topped the podium twice on the opening night of British Summer Championships (28 July - 2 August) at Ponds Forge International Sports Centre in Sheffield.
After a dominating performance in this morning’s heat, Max Litchfield took gold in the 400m IM. At the half-way point there was nothing separating Litchfield and Bath University’s Matthew Johnson, but Litchfield started to show his strength over the second half of the race, forging a lead of around a body length by the final touch. Johnson held on for silver ahead of a determined Lewis Smith (University of Stirling) who pushed hard in the final 50m to claim bronze.
After the race Litchfield said: “I’m pretty pleased with that race. I went 4:15 a couple of weeks ago and I was tapered for that meet so to be only a couple of seconds off that tonight is really good.
“I knew coming into the final there would be a lot of challenge from Lewis and Matt but I knew if I put my race together well enough that I could come out and hopefully get the victory.”
There was an equally impressive performance by Joe Litchfield in the final of the Men’s 17/18 yrs 400m IM. The Dearne Valley SC swimmer started to pull away at the half-way mark and managed to hold of the charge from FIRST’s Callum Lawrie in the closing stages of the race to win gold. Callum Lawrie took silver while the bronze medal went to Guilford City swimmer Rubens King.
In the Women’s 17/18yrs 200m Freestyle, Georgina Boyle was lying second at the half-way mark but the Chelsea and Westminster SC swimmer put pressure on the rest of the field in the second half of the race to win gold.
A delighted Boyle said: “I’ve been aiming to go under two minutes for a while so to have done that tonight, I’m really happy.
“I’m very excited to head to the Commonwealth Youth Games and I think that will be a huge confidence boost for me. I think my experience at European Juniors last year and the time I set tonight should hopefully get me up in the medal in Samoa.”
Silver went to Chloe Finch (City of Birmingham) ahead of Juliette Casini (Plymouth Leander).
Georgia Coates led from the start of the Women’s 16yrs 200m Freestyle final and with 50m to go there was no stopping Coates as she took gold ahead of Holly Hibbot (Stockport Metro) and Hannah Featherstone (Sedgefield). The City of Leeds swimmer then went on to win her second gold of the night in the Women’s 16yrs 200m IM ahead of Derventio’s Abbie Wood and Millfied’s Emma Cain.
In the Women’s 19yrs+ 200m Freestyle final, Bath University’s Anne Bochman led from the start to win gold ahead of Keynsham’s Amelia Maughan and Swansea Aquatic’s Libby Mitchell.
Norwich’s Jessica Jane-Applegate (S14), who won silver in the IPC Swimming World Championships earlier this month, took victory in the Women’s MC 200m Freestyle, while Thomas Hamer (S14) took gold in the Men’s MC 200m Freestyle final.
After the race, Hamer, who won bronze in the IPC Swimming World Championships, said: “I would have liked to have gone a bit closer to my PB but I’m really happy with that time coming out of the IPC World Championships earlier this month and National Paralympic Day at the weekend.
“This event really isn’t about winning medals for me, it’s more about getting the little things right and I think I’ve accomplished that.”
Antony James lived up to this morning’s heats by touching first to win gold in the Men’s 19 yrs+ 100m Fly final. The Plymouth Leander swimmer finished over a second ahead of second place Adam Fawl (Loughborough University), with Braxton Timm (City of Sheffield) in third.
The Men’s 17/18yrs 100m Fly final was one of the tightest of the night with Kyle Chisholm (Bo Kirklees) coming from third at the half way point to win gold. Cockermouth’s Luke Greenbank won silver after narrowly edging out City of Salford’s Lewis Clough who took bronze.
In the Women’s 19yrs+ 200m IM, Edinburgh University’s Emily Jones smashed her own lifetime best to win gold. There was a close race for second but it was Bath’s Alexandra Kaye who touched in silver medal position ahead of Billingham’s Stephanie Blakeburn.
Stockport Metro’s Lucy McKenzie took gold in the Women’s 17/18yrs 200m IM final ahead of silver medallist Beth Aitchison (City of Leicester) and bronze medallist Candice Hall (Bournemouth College).
Emma Wilkins (Loughborough University) won the Women’s 19+yrs 50m Fly final in style, touching the wall with half a body’s length advantage over Ellen Thomas (Guildford City) and Raquel Matos (Edinburgh University).
Carnegie’s Tain Bruce dug deep in the closing metres of the Women’s 17/18yrs 50m Fly final to clinch gold ahead of London Aquatics’ Georgina Pryor and Woking’s Hannah Burvill.
In other events, Sam Dailley (Plymouth Leander) replicated his success from this morning’s heat, winning the 13/14yrs 100m Fly in a new 14yrs British Age Group record of 56.48, but Northampton's Daniel Savage, swimming in the 15 Yrs final, then lowered it again to win gold in 55.82.
In the Men’s 16yrs 100m Fly final City of Sheffield’s Cameron Brooks-Clarke posted a new personal best to win gold while Daniel Savage (Northampton) swam over three seconds quicker than in the heats to win gold in the Men’s 15yrs 100m Fly.
In the Women’s 15yrs 50m Fly final, Tamzin Pugh (Ellesmere College) broke the 15yrs British Age Group record she posted in this morning’s heat to win gold in 27.22.
The British Age Group record also fell in the Women’s 16yrs final with Imogen Clark (Derventio) touching the wall first to win gold in 27.39. Team Ipswich’s Amie Philpot won the Women’s 13/14yrs 50m Fly final.
There was a tight race for gold in the Women’s 15yrs 200m Freestyle final with only a tenth of second separating the top two swimmer’s at the half way mark. It was Madeleine Crompton (Stockport Metro) who was able to edge through the field in the closing metres to take victory.
Wirrall Metro’s Freya Anderson showed she is in good form in Sheffield posting a new lifetime best to win gold in the Women’s 13/14yrs 200m Freestyle.
In the Women’s 15yrs 200m IM there was double celebration for City of Sheffield with team mates Amy Bell and Kate Clifton taking gold and silver respectively. After a strong final leg in the 13/14 yrs 200m IM, it was City of Leeds swimmer Ciara Schlosshan who took the gold.
The Men’s 400 IM provided some exciting races. Charlie Hutchison (Ellesmere College) dropped an impressive seven seconds off his personal best to win the Men’s 13/14yrs final, while Matthew George (City of Salford) pulled away in the closing five metres to claim victory in the 15yrs final. In the final stages of the 16yrs 400m IM, there were seven swimmers all within one second of each other but it was Luke Robins Portsmouth Northsea SC who won the sprint for the wall to take gold.
In the final events of the evening it was team glory for Millfield School in both the Men’s 14/16 yrs 400m Free Relay and Men’s 17/over 400m Free Relay. Stockport Metro were victorious in the Women’s 14/16 yrs 400m Free Relay while Plymouth Leander took gold in the Women’s 17/over 400m Free Relay.