Mount Kelly retain National Arena Swimming League title in Cardiff

MOUNT Kelly successfully retained the National Arena Swimming League title with a convincing win in the final at Cardiff on Sunday.

Mount Kelly had won the competition for the first time in 2020 on their debut in the A final.

The league was not held in 2021 due to the pandemic, but Mount Kelly came back even stronger after a two-year break.

They won Sunday’s final by an impressive 39 points from their nearest challengers Millfield.

Plymouth Leander, who won the title nine times between 2008 and 2019, also made this year’s national A final and finished fifth overall, with their South African Olympian Aimee Canny claiming the top female swimmer of the meet. She won both the 100m freestyle (55.60 seconds) and 100m breaststroke (1:11.11). Sophie Freeman and Adam Chillingworth were also individual winners for Leander.

Mount Kelly, though, were too strong on the day for all the other nine finalists from around the country.

They claimed four relay victories, while Abduljabar Adama secured two individual wins and took the best male swimmer in his age group. There were also individual wins for Hazal Ozkan, India Washer, Marcus Haigh, Blythe Kinsman, Leah Whittaker, Alex D’onofrio, Jonathan Turck, Edward Mathieson and Hollie Widdows, who also claimed an age group top swimmer award.

They ended up claiming top three places in 33 of the 42 events and scored 359 points in total.

They also won the relay challenge trophy, which is the combined time from all eight relay events.

Mount Kelly’s director of swimming Emma Collings-Barnes said: “This win has given a great buzz for everyone on the team, especially after all the issues around Covid and the lack of racing for so long.

“I would like to thank all the staff at the school for their support, especially over the last few years, and a special mention to my assistant director of swimming, Greg King-Lamb, who has run this programme whilst I have been on maternity leave.

“This competition is so special to win as it involves so many great swimmers and clubs from across the country.”

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