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World champion Ceri Edwards adds national open water title to medal haul

Ceri Edwards backed up from her successful FINA World Masters Championships campaign, winning gold in the Women’s 5km at the Swim England Open Water National Masters Championships.

The Portsmouth Northsea swimmer was crowned world champion in the 40-44 age group over 3km last month and she added to her growing medal haul with victory at Nene Park.

Edwards was locked in a tussle with Hayley Davis for much of the race and she finished second overall – behind Davis – in 1:13:55 to win the title.

Edwards also won multiple medals in the pool at the World Championships and reflected on a successful month.

“I’ve just come back from the World Championships in South Korea so this was an extra I wanted to put in,” she said.

“I haven’t been very well the last couple of days, so I thought I’d just come and have some fun.

“I swim purely for fun, as long as I get out knowing that I’ve enjoyed it and I’ve given it what I’ve got then I’m happy, the rest is a bonus.

“The experience in South Korea was amazing. I came back with some unexpected souvenirs but I’m just having fun.

“I just wanted to do the best I could do at the time. I was fortunate, I came back with four golds, a bronze and a fifth, so I placed in everything. It was incredible.”

Poole’s Liz Mills won silver in 1:31:54, while Leicester’s Laura Davison claimed bronze in 1:47:12.

Davis sprints to gold

Otter swimmer Davis sealed the 35-39 age group title after finishing first overall.

She left enough energy in the tank to sprint to the finish gate, clocking 1:13:53.

Davis was another of Britain’s star performers in Gwangju, winning silver in the open water before claiming multiple medals in the pool.

She won silver at her last National Masters Championships, over 3km in 2015.

The GB Police duo of Charlotte Jessup and Lucy Hall rounded out the podium.

Double gold for Coventry

City of Coventry were twice represented on the podium in the 45-49 age group.

Dawn Smith was victorious in 1:27:34, closely followed by City of Cambridge’s Julie Scott (1:29:07), before Smith’s teammate Sophie Matthews picked up bronze (1:31:23).

That was City of Coventry’s second gold of the event, following Kathryn Gill’s win in the 30-34 age group.

Heidi Nevin cruised to the 50-54 title in 1:19:45.

The Rochford swimmer streaked away from her rivals, with Bishop Stortford’s Helen Shingler winning silver in 1:31:16 and City of Coventry’s Claire Coventry wrapping up bronze in 1:39:53.

Deepings swimmer Caroline Randeria finished fourth in the age group.

Emily Jevons (1:18:42) was crowned 18-24 national champion, finishing ahead of Guildford City’s Kate Alexander (1:21:23) and Exeter City’s Gemma Owen (1:26:54).

Nene Valley’s Kimberley Bell was with the lead group for much of the race and her early efforts were rewarded with gold in the 25-29 age group.

Bell clocked 1:15:14 to win her sixth national open water title since 2016.

East Leeds’ Jessica Trewin (1:22:33) won silver, while Felixstowe’s Gemma Cannon won bronze in 1:30:07, trailed by Bexley Masters’ Rebecca Farrell.

In the 55-59 race, Winchester City Penguins’ Catherine Munro (1:27:01) streaked away to win gold, with Wellingborough’s Sheila Hardy (1:35:44) in second place and Leicester’s Jose Mills third (1:38:28).

Meanwhile, City of Derby’s Valerie Thorp won gold in the 65-69 age group.

Photo: Will Johnston Photography