Titles for Chillingworth and Valsecchi as region’s swimmers impress at National Winter Champs

SWIMMERS from the region enjoyed a tremendous Swim England National Winter Championships in Sheffield.

Plymouth Leander, Mount Kelly, Devonport Royal, Dartmoor Darts and Dinnaton all had athletes competing and impressing at Ponds Forge.

Plymouth Leander have two new senior national champions in Adam Chillingworth and Edoardo Valsecchi.

Chillingworth ended the championships on a high by winning the men’s 200m breaststroke final.

The 22-year-old, who had won the silver 12 months ago, clocked a personal best to deny David Murphy a clean sweep of the men’s breaststroke titles.

Murphy had won both the 50m and 100m crowns and made an impressive start to the 200m final, but Chillingworth dug deep to deny him the hat-trick as he shaved 0.24 seconds off his previous record to touch home in 2:07.60 for the gold medal.  Leander’s Liam Davis was ninth in the same final, while Filippo Coacci won the junior final and took youth silver.

Valsecchi’s gold came in the senior 50m butterfly final where he pipped Jacob Peters.

Poole swimmer Peters had beaten Valsecchi to the 100m butterfly gold medal earlier in the week, but Valsecchi was determined to finish his championships on a high. After setting a new personal best of 23.24 to qualify fastest for the final, the Plymouth Leander star went even better to wrap up the national title with a 23.11 swim.

In the same final, Dartmoor Darts’ Matthew Henry came sixth with a new personal best and Leander’s Freddy Clampett was seventh. In the junior 50m butterfly final, Leander’s Reid Jones took victory, just ahead of team-mate Sam Perks, who was second, with Mount Kelly’s Maxwell Cooper fourth.

Valsecchi had won silver in the 100m butterfly final with a 51.76 second swim. In the same final, his team-mates Clampett and Tom Beeley finished fourth and fifth, while Reid Jones was second in the junior final. Jones also won the junior 100m IM final and came second in the junior 100m freestyle and 100m butterfly finals

University of Plymouth student Beeley did win two senior silver medals. They came in the 50m backstroke (24.66) and the 200m butterfly (1:55.33). In the backstroke final, fellow Leander swimmer Samuel Perks was fifth overall and first junior, while in the 200m butterfly final, Clampett was fourth, with Mount Kelly’s Ethan Hansen ninth. Leander’s James Hart and Josh Gammon took first and third in the junior 200m butterfly final.

Mount Kelly’s Leah Whittaker and Leander’s Sophie Freeman showed their tremendous talent by winning senior medals at only 14 and 15 years old.

Great Britain junior international Freeman took open bronze and youth gold in the 100m butterfly with a 58.96 second swim. She also reached the senior 200m butterfly final where she came fifth and won the junior 200m backstroke final.

Whittaker, at just 14, broke the British junior record on her way to open bronze in the 50m backstroke. She clocked 27.07 seconds, which was well inside the previous record of 27.58 set by Anna Maine four years ago.

Whittaker also made the senior 100m backstroke and 100m freestyle finals, winning youth medals in the process. She also finished second in the junior 100m IM final and was third in the 50m butterfly junior final.

Mount Kelly team-mate Katelyn Bergin also reached the senior 100m backstroke final, as well as the senior finals of the 100m IM and 50m backstroke.

There was a senior bronze medal for Mount Kelly’s Robbie Jones in the 400m IM, where he clocked 4:17.95. He just missed out on another senior medal in the 200m IM where he was fourth, but did win the youth gold.

Also winning a senior bronze was team-mate Macy Lawrence. She swam under 25 seconds for the first time to make the podium in the women’s 50m freestyle. She also reached the senior 100m freestyle final and won youth bronze in that discipline and took third in the junior 100m IM final.

Mount Kelly also won two senior relay silver medals. They came in the women’s 200m freestyle event and women’s 200m medley relay.

Macy Lawrence, Whittaker, Erin Little and Elena Dewhurst made up their successful freestyle quartet, while Whittaker, Hazal Ozkon, Bergin and Lawrence were their medley team that clocked 1:50.75 only to be just beaten by Loughborough University.

Dartmoor Darts’ Cameron Williams, 15, was another top junior to impress. He broke his own British age group record in the 100m breaststroke event with a 1:03.32 swim to take second in the under-18 final.

Williams also reached the senior 50m final, where he finished as second junior behind Mount Kelly’s Oliver Taverner. Leander’s Jadon Wuilliez and Coacci were first and senior in the youth final.

Leander finished fourth in three relay finals, while their Greta Kolbeck was another junior to reach a senior final. She came fifth in the women’s 200m freestyle open event and took youth bronze, while club colleague Lana Broekhoven was sixth overall in the senior 400m IM and won the junior 200m IM final, just ahead of team-mate Kolbeck, while Nicole Ricci was also a senior finalist in the women’s 200m freestyle event. In addition Ricci reached the open 400m freestyle final.

Mount Kelly’s Ozkan, Imogen Lambert and Erin Little also reached senior finals as well as junior finals. Ozhan won the junior 50m breaststroke final, just ahead of Leander’s Lucia Grant and Imogen Lambert. Dartmouth Darts’ Hollie Steer also appeared in that final. Little took second in the junior 100m freestyle final.

Devonport Royal’s Harry Noble reached the senior 100m backstroke final, where he picked up the junior bronze medal. He also won the 200m junior backstroke final and came second in the junior 50m backstroke final as well as helping Devonport Royal finish eighth in the men’s 200m freestyle and 200m medley relays.  They were joined in the medley final by Leander (fourth), Mount Kelly (sixth) and Dartmoor Darts (seventh).

Dinnaton’s 13-year-old swimmer Jasmine D’Cunha continued her rapid progress in Sheffield by setting a new personal best of 33.17 seconds in the 50m breaststroke event. She was the youngest in the event but placed 21st in the under-18 section. Her time was also the fourth fastest in British short course history for a 13-year-old.

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