Hughes and Jones wins National 3km titles

3 August 2014

Caleb Hughes and Ellena Jones won the 17/18 Yrs 3km titles with impressive performances at the British Gas ASA National Youth Open Water Championships at Rother Valley.

Hatfield swimmer and British international Hughes, who won 7.5km silver at last year’s European Junior Open Water Championships, took the race out and couldn’t be caught as he took gold in 31:58.02.

Click here for full results from Rother Valley.And the 18-year old admitted the race was the perfect preparation for the 10km at this month’s European Championships where he will make his debut.

“There wasn’t really much tactics for that. It was just about getting some racing in. We’ve just come back from a training camp in Loughborough and I haven’t been tapered for this at all because we’ve got Europeans coming up so it was more just to see what I can do without any rest.

“I saw nobody else really wanted to go in front and I didn’t want the pace being too slow so I just took the lead out because of that. I think I could have gone a bit quicker but it was just about doing what I had to do.

“A 3km like this good practice because it’s not too long so obviously you’re not going to be absolutely exhausted after it. It’s good practice for setting the pace of the first 3km of a 10km race.”

The battle for silver proved a closer affair as last year’s 15/16 Yrs 2km silver medallist Tobias Robinson (Royal Wolverhampton) edged out Thomas Nelson (Wirral Metro) in a desperate dash for the finish, Robinson touching in 32:00.86 to Nelson’s 32:01.21.

Swansea Aquatics swimmer Jones was swimming at her first National Open Water Championships having also competed at the European Junior Championships and Commonwealth Games for Wales earlier this summer.

And the 17-year old continued her form into the Rother Valley event, heading straight for the front of the field to drag a group of six swimmers away from the pack before upping her stroke rate to pull clear in the final 1km loop.

“I definitely wanted to try and control the race as much as I could,” said Jones, who will compete for Great Britain at the World Junior Open Water Championships later this month.

“I thought I would see how it went and see if we could break away a little bit. It’s always harder swimming in a really close pack so if we could break quickly, it would be easier to get around. It seemed to work quite well once we got to the front.

“It’s been a good year competing at European Juniors and Commonwealth Games – a bit mad, but I’m really pleased with how it’s gone. Glasgow was a really great experience. I wasn’t sure how I would do today but I’m absolutely chuffed to have won and for the race to have gone so well.”

"It’s always harder swimming in a really close pack so if we could break quickly, it would be easier to get around," - Ellena JonesJones ultimately won in 33:53.44 ahead of Windsor and Team GB’s Lucinda Campbell (34:00.55) and Hatfield’s Philippa Shuttleworth (34:03.62).

Tom Millburn (Cockermouth) and Harriet Rothwell (Ellesmere College) won the boys and girls 15/16 Yrs 2km races respectively.

Millburn also took to the front early before powering clear of defending champion Scott Deans (City of Glasgow) in the final stretch to win in 23:41 ahead of Deans (23:48) and Winsford’s Ashley Hogg (23:51).

“I came in and thought someone had to win it, so why not me?” said Millburn, who was seventh in his first year of the Age Group 12 months ago.

“I’ve swum a lot this year and swum at European Juniors in Croatia last month where I came 12 and that gave me a lot of confidence for this. The plan was to go out hard and lead from the start then let them catch me up.

“I was never really sure how close it was but I was feeling pretty confident the whole way through. I’ve got world juniors now next month so hopefully I can get another good performance in there.”

Rothwell took the girls title after a mix-up at the finish in which 5km European Junior silver medallist Sophie Evans missed the finish funnel and was disqualified.

Rothwell and Evans were the two leaders throughout, the latter taking the initiative in the second of the top 1km loops.

And while Evans underlined her potential with a gutsy performance over the 2km, her disqualification saw Rothwell claim gold in 24:38 ahead of last year’s silver medallist Erin Nabney (Ealing) in 24:48 and Northampton’s Rose Foden in 24:54.

“I just wanted to get out in front and try and get some clear water with the front pack,” said Rothwell, who was 16th in European Junior 5km race.

“I knew I needed to draft because it was quite rough and windy conditions. Then I knew I would have to be tough in a sprint finish. I knew Sophie [Evans] would be there at the end and then I saw her going off the wrong way.

“I’m better at longer distances so I preferred that to the 1.5km last year. It’s my first year in this age group though so I didn’t really know how well I’d do against girls like Sophie who is European Junior silver medallist this year.”

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