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Lena Ramanah-Beck makes it a birthday to remember with national gold

It was a birthday to remember for City of Salford’s Lena Ramanah-Beck as she became the National Youth Figures champion at the GoCardless Swim England Artistic Swimming National Age Group Championships 2024.

Ramanah-Beck marked her 14th birthday with a controlled figures display, scoring 72.9395 for her efforts.

The Swim England Youth Squad member improved her score by more than nine points from last year’s contest as she propelled herself from sixth to top spot at the K2 in Crawley.

Ramanah-Beck set the standard in the South East with scores of 20.2000, 19.667, 21.2000 and 19.1667 for her four figures to top the standings.

Results from the figures events decide the top 12 swimmers that progress to the solo and duet finals meaning she’ll also be in pole position to build on her success in the solo tomorrow.

Speaking on her birthday success Ramanah-Beck said: “I can’t really top that for my birthday.

“I was a bit nervous this morning coming into it but I managed to remain calm, remember what I’ve been working and training on coming into this and it’s resulted in a gold medal.

“I’m really looking forward to coming back tomorrow and taking that into the solo event tomorrow.”

One of those putting themselves in a strong position was London Regional Synchronised Swimming Clubs’ Andrea Eliasson who was just half a point off Ramanah-Beck with a score of 72.4243.

Her club mate Shameiah Newton made it a double podium for London and an England youth squad top three with Newton taking national bronze with a score of 70.0757.

Commemorative gold and silver went to Royal Dutch Swimming Federations Noa Van Ettinger and Féline Neerincx who scored 74.0455 and 73.0000 respectively.

Sharashkina goes back-to-back

Aquavision’s Victoria Sharashkina made it back-to-back 11-12 Figures titles as she once again impressed to reach the top step of the podium.

After winning the title by more than three points last time round, Sharashkina defended her title in style, extending her advantage to just over five points.

She was the only swimmer to break the 70-point barrier with a final score of 70.1781 – a significant improvement on her score of 64.0630 in 2023.

The North London based swimmer scored 11.6800, 14.4000, 12.4800 and 12.6700 on route to the national title.

Sharashkina’s improvement was needed as Portsmouth Victoria’s Madeleine Swandell performed well to earn a total of 65.0640 for her four figures.

That score gave her a second silver in two years after finishing as runner-up in the 9-10 age category last time out.

City of Birmingham’s Teal Sutton completing the podium thanks to a score of 62.7215 which earnt her bronze.

Keva Ennis (Rugby) and Dominika Janikova (Aqualina) rounded out the top five with both swimmers performing well to record totals that would have earnt them a medal 12 months ago.

Harding takes top spot

Evie Harding of Aqualina came out on top in the 9-10 Figures competition by the narrowest of margins.

Harding finished just 0.2649 ahead of Aquavision’s Carmen Harrison to stop the North London club from a double figures title.

It was Harding’s barracuda that made the difference with the Aqualina star scoring 11.4600 for a figure where she was the only swimmer to score more than 10 points.

Harrison recorded the highest score in both the water drop and swordfish but it wasn’t quite enough to take her to the title.

Harding ended with a total of 52.4749 whilst Harrison ended on 52.2100.

Third place went to City of Leeds’ Alana Hirst, who recorded her clubs first medal of this year’s event. She ended with a final score of 51.6895.

London clubs take top spots in Youth duets

London Regional Synchronised Swimming Club made an impressive start to the championships with a one-two in the Youth Duet events.

Andrea Eliasson and Georgina Steele were in provisional first after figures, and then scored 68.5833 in their routine to seal the gold with an overall total of 138.8106.

“We’ve worked really hard on exectution, trying to get no basemarks and hitting the R7s, so we’ve been doing lots of drilling of the routine” Eliasson said.

Shameiah Nanton and Evelyn Bernal, with Valentina Kapiris in reserve finished just 0.2 points behind their teammates to take the silver medal with 138.6428.

Their spy themed routine was the highest scoring of the event with 73.7867, but their combined figure average wasn’t quite enough to reach the top spot.

“I’m really proud of everyone today,” said London coach Debbie Harris. “All the girls have worked really hard, but especially our reserves who are vitally to the success of a routine.

“These duets are more trios rather than a duet because I think for us reserves are vitally important. The success of any duet or any team it’s vital to have reserves to come in when someone’s not feeling well and we work hard to make sure that they know how important they are.

Coach Maddie Berry added: “Today for us all to come away with gold medals is a real nice unexpected cherry on top of a great swim. I think we always say going into it, our goal is just to feel proud so this is just the nice extra surprise.”

City of Bristol took the bronze medal with a routine inspired by the Stranger Things soundtrack. Bo Jones and Hannah Gibbons, with Elspeth Brand in reserve, scored 136.9959 to finish over 4 points clear of fourth place.

Commemorative gold and silver went to the two Royal Dutch Swimming Federation pairs.

Top figures scorers Van Ettinger and Neerincx had to settle for silver after being ousted by their teammates Alara Yapar and Danique Van Straten after two impressive routines.

Aquavision at the double

Aquavision doubled up on national titles to round out the duet competitions.

Their 12 & under duet of Christina Kapiris and Ya Xi Tong with Aria Irving in reserve recorded an overall total of 114.1954 to earn them the gold medal.

They finished almost three points clear of City of Birmingham’s Jessica Blinder and Teal Sutton who performed well for silver.

Birmingham’s duo came into the competition with the highest figure scores between them but their routine couldn’t quite keep them on top spot despite a strong performance.

City of Bristol’s Bonnie Wilshire and Wren Jones came away with the bronze thanks to an overall score of 105.0985.

Only Aqualina’s routine could outscore the Bristol pair in the duet event with a fine routine score of 53.9500 earning them a spot on the podium.

Rugby and Bristol victorious on combo’s return

Day one rounded out with the Free Combination events which returned to the competition for 2024.

In the 12 & under category it was Rugby Synchronised Swimming Club who came away with the gold medal.

Their five athlete team of Charlotte Wilkins, Isobelle Watkins, Keva Ennis, Melinda Bogdanova and Aaron Lee scored 64.2788 for their routine.

City of Leeds followed them with silver with a score of 52.5000. Abbie Dargan, Alana Hurst, Elspeth Pearce, Florence Tallant, Jemina Twohey represented the club who earnt their second medal of the day.

The Youth Free Combination winners were an elated City of Bristol, who celebrated as their score echoed around the K2.

Their Pirates of the Caribbean themed routine earnt them 105.7958, almost two points clear of their nearest challengers.

Anastasia Appleby, Annelie Johnson, Bo Jones, Elspeth Brand, Hannah Gibbons, Indigo Harris, Joséphine Phillips, Josie Linehan, Lola Jones-Hackett and Thea Conway all took to the pool to earn their club at first gold of this year’s competition.

Second place went to City of Salford’s six-strong team of Abigail Pullen, Eleanor Burlinson, Ramanah-Beck, Sophie Huang, Ysabel Brook and Zofia Holyniewska.

They scored 103.8321 which was the only other routine to break the 100-point mark.

Rugby’s routine to the soundtrack of the Lion King won the final bronze medal on the opening day.

Amelie Jeary, Beatrice Banks, Chloe Bartholomew, Frankie Klym, Lola Huett, Olivia Barry and Saranne Black represented the club who took to the podium in both combination events.

You can keep up with the live scores from the GoCardless Swim England Artistic Swimming National Age Group Championships here.

Images: Will Johnston Photography