MOUNT Kelly produced a stunning team performance to win the National Arena Swimming League title on their debut in the A final.
Last year’s B winners became the first new name on swimming’s premier club trophy for 14 years.
They take the title from neighbours Plymouth Leander, who had to settle for third place in one of the most exciting finals of the competition’s 51-year history.
Fellow Western League side Millfield were second, just ahead of Leander, with Guildford fourth in the 10-team final held in Cardiff on Sunday.
The lead changed hands almost every race between the top four. After 30 of the 50 events, only two points separated the quartet.
But Mount Kelly pulled it out of the bag in the final two relay races to become only the 15th club to win the national title.
They only joined the league in 2016 but have moved seamless through the leagues, winning every Western Division over the last four years, the National B final in 2019 and now the National A final.
Director of swimming Emma Collings-Barnes said: “After missing out on the (A) cup final last year, we felt we had a point to prove.
“It was a roller-coaster of emotions out there, especially after our disqualification in event 48, but we got there in the end and I’m absolutely delighted.
“Well done to every other team. It truly was the most competitive meet of my life.”
Year 10 pupil Sam Townsend said: “It’s easy to say this has been the best weekend of my life.
“I’m so proud to be part of the MK family, no two ways about it. Thank you to all the coaches and staff at Mount Kelly for putting in the work to make this family possible.”
Mount Kelly broke a league record in the under-14 girls’ 4 x 50m freestyle relay with a time of 1:51.86, while 13-year-old Hollie Widdows was also awarded top under-14 girls’ performer for her exceptional swim in the 100m freestyle. Widdows won that race in a time of 58.53 seconds. She also won the under-14 girls’ 100m backstroke with a 1:06.01.
There was also two individual wins for Owain Edwards. Competing in the under-14 boys’ section, he finished first in the 100m butterfly (1:02.11) and 100m freestyle (57.46).
There were individual second places for Alex D’onofrio (U12 50m butterfly and 50m freestyle), Robbie Jones (open 200m IM), Leah Whittaker (U16 100m backstroke), Caitlyn Fry (U16 100m butterfly), Hazal Ozkan (open 100m breaststroke), Imogen Lambert (U16 100m breaststroke) and Sam Williamson (U16 100m breaststroke).
James Wheatley, George Hawken, Erin Little and Macy Lawrence all claimed individual third places.
Last year’s winners Plymouth Leander had some stand-out individual performances on their way to third place.
Great Britain star Laura Stephens warmed up for the Olympic trials by finishing as top senior female swimmer. She stormed to victory in the open 100m butterfly in an impressive time of 58.91 seconds. She also won the 200m IM in 2:15.26.
Leander’s Great Britain junior star Sophie Freeman picked up the top intermediate female swimmer award after winning the under-16 100m butterfly in 1:02.17, while Finn Broekhoven was top immediate boy after winning the under-14 backstroke with a 1:05.41 swim.
Adam Chillingworth won the senior 100m breaststroke (1:03.14), while there were also victories for Hubert Gdaniec (U16 100m backstroke, 59.66) and Edoardo Valsecchi (open 100m butterfly, 54.00).
Leander’s Nathan Apps (U12 50m backstroke), James Hart (U16 100m butterfly), Honey Osrin (open 100m backstroke and open 100m freestyle), Nicole Ricci (U16 100m freestyle), Jorge Sabater (U14 100m freestyle) and Reece Dunn (open 100m freestyle) all claimed second place finishes.
Freddy Clampett, Blythe Kinsman, Ruby Griffiths and Lana Broekhoven all secured individual third places.
Meanwhile, Caradon Swimming Club enjoyed success at the Swim Wales Masters Long Course Championships, which also incorporated the British Masters’ 1,500m event.
World Masters’ champion Helen Kula-Przezwanski won the 400m freestyle in a new personal best time and she continued her form to win the 200m backstroke and 50m backstroke in another PB time.
Sam Crosby claimed bronze medals in the 50m butterfly and 100m backstroke and she also produced good swims in the 100m butterfly and 50m freestyle.
Paul Hatton also returned from Wales with a bronze medal. He took part in the British Masters’ 1,500m freestyle and produced a great race to take third in his category.