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Impressive swims in Combo Cup division one and special win for City of Leeds

City of Leeds were crowned the division one champions in the 15 and under age group at the Swim England Artistic Swimming Virtual Combo Cup 2021.

The Combo Cup is always a unique event as it only features free combination performances, and it was extra special for the Leeds-based club this time around.

With some of their swimmers only starting artistic swimming just six months ago, this was the first ever competition for the team of Anna James, Philipa Strangeway, Filippa Smith, Molly Rose Young, Gabriella Ruddick, Mia Dawson, Bethany Shrimpton, Iris Thompson, Isabelle Corry and Amie Balmforth.

The 10-strong team achieved an overall score 53.9333 to win gold. Their score was broken down to 15.2000 for execution, 22.9333 for artistic impression and 15.8000 for difficulty.

The silver medal winners, Denton ASC, finished on the same overall score but finished in second place after a lower artistic impression score of 22.1333. They were awarded 15.9000 for both execution and difficulty.

Taking the bronze medal was Gateshead SSC ‘A’ – just 0.3333 behind the top two teams with a total score of 53.6000.

After their win, the City of Leeds swimmers said: “Over the past eight months we have done lots of walk throughs and lots of swims.

“Our theme was Zumba and I hope our costumes made that very clear. Next year we would like to compete in the Combo Cup again and nationals.

“This is our first ever competition and some of us have only started this sport six months ago. A big thank you to our coach Sue and Swim England for running this virtual event.”

Reading Royals ‘delighted’ with win

The gold medal in division one’s 12 and under age group went to Reading Royals after their Dora the Explorer themed swim.

Emily Woodard, Erin Round, Florence Teague, Stella-Maria Kinalopoulou, Sophie Cole, Eva Nightall and Libby Wright teamed up to score 52.9000.

They achieved 16.1000 for execution, 22.0000 for artistic impression and 14.8000 for difficulty.

In a message following their win, the team said: “We are delighted to have won the 12 and under in division one at the Combo Cup.

“We trained three days a week for six months, and sometimes even trained four times a week. Our routine was themed Dora the Explorer and this is the first time that we’ve won a competition together.”

City of Salford SSC took the silver medal (51.8333) with Rugby SC (49.2667) finishing in bronze medal position.

Rugby add to medal tally

Rugby added to their division one medal tally as they followed up their bronze medal with a gold in the 13-15 age group.

Their Aladdin themed swim earned the team a score of 56.0000, which saw them finish on top of the pile.

Representing Rugby were Rebecca Harper, Agata Sitko, Natalia Rodriguez, Evelyn Whisker, Lily Van Vleit, Freya Twiss, Jasmine Farr, Poppy Jenkins and Emilia Owen.

Agata explained that the team were ‘very glad’ to win gold, saying: “The theme of our routine was Aladdin and we’ve been working on it for around a year.

“It has been quite difficult to train as most people are often unable to attend due to Covid and it’s hard to work as a full team that way.

“We’re looking forward to going back to the competition [in 2022] and defending our title.”

Cheltenham S&WPC finished in a close second with their overall score of 55.5000, followed by City of Salford SSC (53.6000) who took bronze.

Brilliant Bramcote and Salford silver

In the division one 13-18 age group, it was Bramcote SC who clinched victory with a score of 57.3000.

Olivia Woodrow-Smith, May Williams, Sarah Pickard, Heidi Woolley, Beatrice Hughes, Jennifer Powick and Jessica Bartlam were awarded 16.4000 for execution, 23.6000 for artistic impression and 17.3000 for difficulty.

It was also a third division one medal for the City of Salford team after already achieving one silver and one bronze earlier in the competition. Their score of 55.6000 was their highest from the three performances.

The bronze medallists were Erith & District SC with 55.6000. Rykneld SC finished on the same score but missed out on a medal position with a lower artistic impression score.

Effort paid off for Halifax

Halifax SC were crowned 15-18 division one winners during what has been described as a ‘very hard’ time for the club due to facility problems.

The team of Amy Bennett, Freya Birch, Grace Franklin, Grace McLaughlin, Keeva Cassidy, Lucy Bowker, Scarlett Haigh and Sophie Temple scored 54.8333.

Lydia, one of the coaches at Halifax, said: “I am delighted that they have won the 15-18 division one category of the 2021 Combo Cup.

“Training for this team has been really hard, not just for our team but for the whole club this year.

“We actually started working on this routine back at the end of 2019. The original idea that the girls had for a theme was something sort of Spanish, and that ended up morphing into something more international.

“We worked on it throughout 2020, walking through via Zoom as best as we could. We decided having put in that effort, that we would use it again for this year.

“We did have new members come up to the age group with the change of year, so half of the team who competed actually only learnt it in spring this year via Zoom before getting into the water as soon as we were allowed back in.

“For 2022, we’re looking forward to starting a new routine and hopefully bringing that to some face-to-face competitions, particularly the Combo Cup.”

Full results

Division 1