Leander’s Freeman celebrates GB call-up by starring at South West Regional Champs

PLYMOUTH Leander’s Sophie Freeman celebrated her Great Britain call-up for this summer’s European Junior Championships by winning 10 gold medals at the South West Regional Championships at the Life Centre.

Freeman showed her talent by taking victory in events ranging from the 50m backstroke to the 800m freestyle in the 15 year-old girls’ category, as well as her favourite 200m butterfly event, where she produced the quickest final swim out of all the age groups.

Her other individual wins came in the 100m butterfly, 200m IM, 200m freestyle and 400m freestyle, while she also claimed three relay golds.

The teenager went into the regional championships boosted by her Great Britain selection.

And the Plymouth College pupil says she cannot wait to compete in Kazan this summer.

“I’m really excited as I have been working hard for it,” said Freeman. “I have really wanted to achieve this for a while so to have done so is massive goal and dream.

“At 15 I am probably going to be one of the youngest of the team and hopefully I will have another two years.

“I am surprised I qualified so I am just looking forward to swimming there, but if I can make finals that would be great. Just getting there is a massive achievement for me.”

Mount Kelly’s Federicco Burdisso and Leander’s Laura Stephens will both compete at this summer’s senior World Championships in South Korea and they were also among the winners at the Life Centre at the weekend.

Italian star Burdisso won the 50m freestyle and 100m butterfly and took silver in the 200m IM. In the 100m butterfly he beat a strong field with British Championship medallist Jacob Peters of Poole taking second and Mount Kelly team-mate Sam Dailley claiming third.

Stephens, who will represent Great Britain in South Korea, used the South West Championships as a training swim. She was able to win the senior 200m butterfly final without too much effort.

Having swam 2:07.96 at the British Championship, she only had to swim 2:12.40 in the heats and then 2:15.18 in the final to win her category by nearly five seconds.

Dartmoor Darts’ Cameron Williams and Devonport Royals’ Aiden Symons-Brown were multi-gold medallists in the 15 years’ age group.

British junior record holder Williams won the 50m, 100m and 200m breaststroke titles, while Symnon-Brown took gold in the 50m and 100m freestyle and bronze in the 50m backstroke.

Other individual multi gold medal winners included Leander’s Lucia Grant, Franka Wilkie, Duru Tanir, Hubert Gdaniec, Lana Broekhoven and Mount Kelly’s Sam van der Stroom and Imogen Lambert.

There were also individual wins for Leander’s James Hart, who claimed five medals, Liam Davis, Ella Bardgett, Ethan Rayment, Finn Broekhoven, Ruby Griffiths and Tom Beeley, who took victory in the men’s 200m butterfly in 2:02.11, as well as Mount Kelly’s Amelia Riggott, Scarlett Orchard and Emily Haimes.

Niamh Robinson, Oliver Taverner, Harry Noble, Sophie Main, Georgina Dennis, Maxwell George, Bella Hodges, Ben Harrison, Matthew Hargreaves, Salvador Gordo, Ethan Hansen, Charlie Varker, Macy Lawrence, Joseph Sin, Sam Williamson, Sandor Apponyi, Caitlyn Fry, Maxwell Cooper, Jade Blake, Tymofi Chemeryk and Adam Nash also won medals for Mount Kelly.

Oriana Neol, Jean-Luc Zephir, Filippo Coacci, Edoardo Valsecchi, Nathan McManus, Oscar North, Laura Copping, Roman Scherer, Freddy Clampett, Joselle Mensah, Sam Perks, Tegan  Drew and Aimee Brownridge made the podium for Leander.

Dartmoor Darts’ Emily Morgan-Hughes claimed three medals in the 15 years’ category, while team-mate Holly Steer was a senior medallist in the 200m breaststroke.

Devonport Royals’ Abigail Daly and Xander Harris both won multi-disability medals at the championships, with Daly claiming three golds and Harris a gold and a bronze.

This weekend, the second round of the South West Regional Championships will take place at Hengrove Leisure Centre in Bristol and will feature the 11-14 year-old age groups.

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