Massey and Procter light up opening day of National Youth Champs

27 July 2011

All eyes were on the British Gas GBR Disability Swimmers on the first day of the British Gas ASA National Youth Championships as they lined up in five of the eight finals.

European silver medallist Natalie Massey (Aquabears) put in an impressive swim to win gold in the MC 200m Freestyle.

The S14 swimmer won in 2:16.85 to hold off 12-year old Trowbridge's Chloe Davies (2:20.21, S14) in silver and Lowestoft & Oulton Broad's Stephanie Bird (2:33.61, S14) in bronze.

"I wanted to get as close to 2:14 as I could," said Massey. "It is good to get back into racing and I am pleased that I was just a second off my personal best time considering I've had an ankle injury."

The mens MC 200m Freestyle proved a tight event with European bronze medallist Ben Procter (Truro City, S14) eventually touching for the win.

Procter finished in a personal best 2:02.22 ahead of Edinburgh University's Craig Rodgie (2:05.61, S14) and world champion Daniel Pepper (2:06.99, S14) from Marple.

Pepper said: “As world champion and after the Europeans I found it really hard to keep motivated and pull through so I am really pleased with my swim this evening everything considered."

Swimmers from six different classifications competed in the womens MC 400m Freestyle final but after all competitors had finished, S8 European champion and world record holder Heather Frederiksen (City of Salford) emerged victorious, scoring 939 points for her time of 4:51.72.

S6 world record holder Eleanor Simmonds (Swansea Performance) scored 907 points to win silver in 5:38.49 while S12 swimmer Hannah Russell (Guildford City) took bronze in 4:53.60 for 843 points.

In the mens MC 400m final, world record holder Sam Hynd (S8, Swansea Performance) had a cracking swim of 4:31.75 but was pushed off the top spot by his younger brother Oliver (S8, Nova Centurian) who touched in 4:30.58. Swansea Performance doubled their podium position with a bronze for S10 swimmer Robert Welbourn (4:13.28).

The other disability finallist was 13-year old Harrogate swimmer Danielle Bailey (S3) who swam unopposed to win the 50m Breaststroke in 1:42.14.

Disability Swimming National Performance Director John Atkinson said: “The British Disability swimmers have come to Sheffield on the back of the European Championships in Berlin where they performed exceptionally well, and the goal was to go home get that extra input of training and reproduce their performance in Sheffield.

“The two swims that have stood out for me are Ben Procter's 200m freestyle where I thought he swum exceptionally well to win and the women’s event where Natalie Massey was a really good 200m Free.

"For Oliver Hynd to come into the 400m Free final having won a medal at the Europeans and swim a best time is a great performance from him as well."

The only two individual able bodied finals of the night were the 400m Freestyle in the boys 15/16 and 17/18 years age categories.

European junior silver medallist Ieuan Lloyd (City of Cardiff) took gold in the older age group, storming through the final 100m to secure gold in 3:52.74.

Myles Crouch-Anderson (Northampton) gave a valiant challenge to Lloyd but couldn’t hold on and touched in silver spot in 3:54.13.

There was a sprint finish for the bronze position between Jack Burnell (Lincoln Vulcuns) and Daniel Wallace (Warrender Baths), with Wallace just pushing ahead in the final 50m to touch onto the podium in 3:56.33.

Lloyd said: “I felt good and went out fast, managing to hold on in a pretty good time for me. I am happy with the win and looking forward to the rest of the week”.

Hatfield's Caleb Hughes swam a personal best 3:57.59 to win the younger age group and add to his 1750m Open Water title from earlier in the week.

James Guy (Millfield) gave a strong challenge to Hughes but had to settle silver in 3:58.89 while Team Ipswich swimmer Ryan Tomkins finished in 4:01.15 to take bronze.

“It was a hard swim but I am pleased with it," said Hughes. "I wanted to go 3:55 but I went out hard and tried to hold on which I did”.

Guy added: “It was also a tough swim, I knew to dig deep which I did to achieve my goal. I gave it everything and smashed my goal”.

Plymouth Leander rounded off the night by taking gold in the boys 4x100m Freestyle Relay.

The quartet of Aaron Rickhuss, Joseph Patching, Daniel Jones and James Young finished in 3:26.77 to beat City of Manchester (3:27.49) and City of Leeds (3:29.22) who came home for silver and bronze respectively.


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