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Young swimming stars compete at Olympic venue

Talented young swimmers from across the UK (and Brazil) had the opportunity to compete at the Olympic pool in London this week as part of the Sainbury’s School Games 2012.

The swimmers joined more than 1,600 of the nation’s finest young sports stars to take part in the UK’s biggest multi-sport event for school age athletes. Surrounded by an amazing atmosphere and safe in the knowledge that they would be the last swimmers to grace the pool before worldwide swimming legends took to the water, the youngsters were spurred on to display some fantastic performances.

The excitement from the 6,000 strong crowd was audible and the swimmers were roared home as personal best’s tumbled, records were broken and medals were won. Many swimmers accredited their fantastic performances to being inspired by swimming in such an iconic pool.  Georgina Evans who swam for the England North team and was victorious in the Girls 100m Breaststroke said: “It’s been absolutely fantastic to swim here at the Olympic pool. It’s been really exciting and the atmosphere is great. You can even hear the crowd in the pool!”

Some of the most exciting races in the day came from two extremely close finishes in the long distance events. Kristina Neves, swimming for England South pipped England East’s Lucinda Campbell to win the Girls 800m Freestyle winning in a time of 8:51.47, just 14 hundredths of a second ahead of Lucinda.

The following race, the Boys 1500m was just as nail biting with England South’s Archie Mitchell winning a closely fought battle ahead of Ireland’s Morgan Berryman. Both times were PB’s for the boys with them clocking 16:17.95 and 16:18.50 respectively. The noise in the Aquatics Centre during the final few metres of both the long distance races was incredible, an exciting insight into what ticket holders can expects in just a few months time.

In other events Wales' Siwan Thomas-Howells clinched two gold medals in both her races.

The 15-year-old Swansea swimmer came up trumps in the 200m freestyle followed by victory in the 100m freestyle. She commented: "I am so grateful to have had this opportunity to compete here and get the chance to do my best and get the gold medals.

"This is a fantastic arena and the noise of the crowd really spurred me on."

Meanwhile, Jordan Lamb also came away with two gold medals in the 100m and 200m backstroke, while 14-year-old Charlie Attwood produced a fantastic time of 1:06.86 minutes to win the 100m breaststroke.

North England eventually topped the medal table on the day with gold medals coming from Linda Shaw in the 50m freestyle, and two golds for Chloe Buck in the MC 100m breaststroke and 200m individual Medley.

Kahoru Harazawa also came away with a haul of medals, with victory in the boys' MC 200m individual medley and 100m breaststroke and a bronze in the 50m freestyle.

In the crowd on the day was Lynsey Pinch, teacher at St Oswald's Junior School, Guiseley.
She said: 'What an absolutely fantastic experience watching the events. It has inspired some of our children who are already very successful swimmers to hopefully go on to compete in the School Games in years to come. Well worth the travel”

One of Lynsey’s students, Joe Briggs, a year 5 pupil at St Oswald’s School added: “'We have loved watching the swimming, it was really exciting to be in the Olympic venue and we are so pleased that we got to come to London”

To view a video of the highlights from the aquatics competition click here

For a full list of results click here

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