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City of Leeds win the 2023 Swim England Artistic Swimming Combo Cup

City of Leeds Synchronised Swimming Club became the new Combo Cup champions at the 2023 Swim England’s Artistic Swimming Combo Cup at Ponds Forge.

The team managed to grab a medal in all five swims at today’s event with three in this afternoon’s session before adding two more in the evening with gold in the Division 1, 15-18 event and bronze in the Division 2, 13-18 competition.

That meant that the club left Ponds Forge with an incredible total of three gold medals, one silver and one bronze, which crowned them winners of the Combo Cup trophy with an impressive 42 points.

After a celebratory jump in the pool, an emotional City of Leeds’ Head Coach Deanne Ward commented on her teams victory saying: “It’s incredible. We are getting emotional, actually.

“As soon as we realised that it was coming to Sheffield, obviously it’s in our county and our region so we really worked hard as a club. We really started to believe that we could do it.”

Combo Cup – top 10

1. City of Leeds, 42 points

2. Rugby, 33 points

3. City of Bristol, 32 points

4. City of Salford, 30 points

=5. Bramcote Aquastars, 24 points

=5. Aquaoaks, 24 points

7. City of Bradford, 19 points

8. Cheltenham, 17 points

9. Kingston, 15 points

10. Reading Royals, 13 points

‘It’s a like a big family’

She also thanked Leeds City Council for all their support, adding that, “without them, we would not have had the opportunity that we’ve had today to lift that trophy.”

Deanne admitted that executing lifts in their routines has always been a struggle and said she was ‘astounded’ by how well her team performed the tricks today.

She believes that the key to success is to make sure each swimmer is prepared and to treat them as individuals.

“I could tell you every single swimmer’s name in our club, they mean so much to me. It’s like a big family. Treating them all as equals that they could come here and believe in themselves.”

“I’ve been involved in this sport for 22 years and I do not know who I am without this sport.

So if you’re looking for something, to feel part of a team, to grow confidence, to meet new people, to exercise, stay healthy – mentally as well as physically – Artistic Swimming is the absolute sport that you need to do. It’s just incredible.”

Salford, who won the Cup last year, congratulated the new winners and Head Coach Jessica Fletcher told Deanne that she was pleased that the trophy was staying up North.

The gold that sealed the trophy for Leeds

It was a gold in the opening event of the last session that put Leeds into an unassailable lead in the Combo Cup standings.

They came away with a brilliant total of 58.9000 to win gold in the Division 1, 15-18 category. They were awarded 24.0000 points for the team’s show-stopping Artistic Impression, whilst they earnt 17.7000 and 17.2000 points for Execution and Difficulty respectively.

The victorious team was made up of Beth Walker, Erin Fulton, Esther Mallors, Phoebe Hirst, Evie Stewart-Pullan, Ava Baczkowski, Charlotte Entwistle, Lily Mae Collier, Elisabeth Brown and Emma Mcnab.

The silver medals went to Kingston Synchronised Swimming Club who earned an overall score of 56.2000. The team were close to meeting the winning Execution score, but fell just short with 17.1000. They also achieved 22.8000 points for Artistic Impression and 16.3000 for Difficulty in a strong showing.

City of Bradford Swimming Club came third with a commendable score of 54.3667, which included a mark of 21.8667 for Artistic Impression, 16.5000 for Difficulty and 16.0000 for Execution.

The bronze medal team was made up of Amy Bennett, Edie Caris, Ellen Hewitt, Eva Kitson, Freya Birch, Hazel Webster, Rachel Edwards and Sophie Temple.

City of Bradford win gold by narrowest of margins

City of Bradford did manage to get their names on the gold medal board in the penultimate event of the day however.

They won the Division 2, 13-18 event by just 0.0333 to edge out Reading Royals for the title.

Swimming third, Bradford scored 63.1333 points for their routine which included the highest ranking difficulty and artistic impression mark of the competition.

They were awarded 18.7000 for execution, 25.3333 for artistic impression and 19.1000 for difficulty as the team of Bethany Seal, Chloe Foster, Chloe Shilito, Felicity Welding, Isabella Lister Smith, Katherine Gareis, Keeva Cassidy, Lily Preistly and Orla Cassidy won gold for the club.

Reading Royals were second with a score of 63.1000 despite impressing in execution where they received a mark of 19.4000.

The bronze went to City of Leeds in what was their final swim of the competition to make it five medals from five for the day.

Salford close out competition in style

Despite losing the Combo Cup trophy, City of Salford ended the competition on a high with gold in the 15-18 Division 2 event.

They finished more than four points ahead of their nearest rivals thanks to a stunning display from their 10-strong squad.

Amy Outram, Caitlyn Brook, Chloe Mccreedy, Elza Melia, Emilia Hughes, Eva Lawrence, Gabriella Jackson, Olivia Dickinson, Sofia Mulcahy, Sophie Rowney joined forces for the club to score 64.9667 points.

It was a close race for the remaining spots on the podium with Aquaoaks Artistic Swimming Club and Rugby coming out on top.

Aquaoaks’ team total was 60.6000, with Rugby just behind to win bronze with 60.1333.

Cheltenham Swimming and Water Polo Club once again just missed out on the medals with a score of 59.7333 for their routine.

The bronze medal guaranteed Rugby’s place as runners-up in the final Combo Cup standings as it moved them one point clear of City of Bristol who had completed their swims earlier in the day.

You can see the full scoreboard here.

Images: Will Johnston Photography.