Devonport Royals’ Symons-Brown and Crews prepare for county action by competing at club championships

DEVONPORT Royal Swimming Association have been holding their annual club championship at the Life Centre this week.

The competition takes place over three days, with the final session – the long distance events – on Thursday.

Among the swimmers that have been competing are Aiden Symons-Brown and Tia Crews, who in a couple of weeks’ time will be part of the Devon squad hoping for glory at the Swim England National County Team Championships in Sheffield.

The pair earned their selection after some impressive performances last season.

Plymstock School pupil Symons-Brown was part of the Devon squad that took an historic silver medal at the National County Team Championships last year and he also won two freestyle bronze medals at the British Summer Meet and a backstroke silver at the England Summer Meet in Sheffield.

Not only is he in the Devon squad, but he has also been invited to attend three Swim England Development Camps – the first of which took place on Sunday at Millfield School.

“It was really good,” said the 14-year-old on his return from the camp. “We are working on all strokes over the three camps and also doing some land training as well.”

The other two camps will be held in October and November at Marlborough College in Wiltshire.

Symons-Brown was delighted with his success last season, but admitted his medal-winning performances at the British and England Summer Meets did surprise him a bit.

“I was going in ranked one of the slowest in some of the races, so to medal was pretty surprising,” he said.

“The highlight was probably the 50m freestyle (at the British Summer Meet) as that is my favourite event. I was really happy to get a medal in that.”

Symons-Brown says his national medal success in the summer has really boosted his confidence going into this season.

“It has given me a big confidence boost as there were people at the British and English nationals who were from Devon who had been beating me in other events, but I beat them by like two seconds,” he said. “So that has given me a lot of confidence.”

On his goals for the season, the teenager said: “I would like to try and get some Devon records and more medals at regional level and try and get silver or gold at nationals.”

And looking further ahead, he said: “I’d love to go to the Olympics, which I know is everyone’s goal, but, hopefully, I can get there.”

Meanwhile, 13-year-old Crews is relishing making her debut for Devon in Sheffield at the start of October. She will become the first female Devonport Royal swimmer to compete for the county at age group level.

“It is really great that I have made the squad – it is a big accomplishment,” said the Community School pupil.

“It will be good to be racing with people I am normally racing against. If we work together as a team and don’t have any rivalry and build a really good team spirit then, hopefully, we will get to the top.”

Like Symons-Brown, Crews loves the 50m freestyle event.

“It is the fastest race you can do and it is over in less than 30 seconds so you don’t have time to get nervous or lose count (of lengths). It is just simple,” she said.

Crews claimed two Devon titles last season and won a silver medal at the South West Championships.

“My highlight was probably coming second in the 50 free at regionals as I had wanted to get a regional medal for ages,” said the youngster.

When asked her targets, she said: “Definitely to get to the nationals, get more medals at regionals and see if I can get into Devon again next year.

“Longer term, getting into the Olympics would be an all-time dream. I’d definitely like to get to international level.

Devonport Royal were founded in 1863 and have been going from strength-to-strength in the last few years.

They have around 300 members, including water polo players, and cater for all ages from junior right through to masters.

Many of those have been taking part in this week’s club championships, which was for all standards.


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