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Merissa Booth bounces back to take gold medal

Merissa Booth put the disappointment of last year’s National Open Water Festival behind her as she claimed gold in the Girls’ 13 Years 2K race.

The Wycombe District swimmer finished fifth in the event last year but was 35 seconds clear of the field as she was crowned national champion 2018 in a time of 26:44.

Northampton’s Bobbi Harper won the silver medal in 27:19, while Ellesmere College’s Katie Hale was third in 27:30.

Booth said: “It feels really good to be national champion.

“Last year, I was really upset as I finished fifth and I was really upset as I felt I could have done better – it felt like I wasn’t really prepared.

“I was thinking about trying to sprint to the first bout and get in front of everybody and I was pleased with my race and tactics. It was very wavy at points which was difficult to swim through.”

Liam Carey lands boys’ 2k title

Liam Carey won the boys’ 13 years 2km race by 49 seconds and said: “It feels good top be national champion.”

The Wigan BEST swimmer clocked 26:03 to finish ahead of Warrington’s Luke Critchlow (26:52) and Southend’s Jude Hills (26:56) and take the gold medal.

Liam said: “I was planning to go out quick and keep it up. The conditions were good. Hopefully, I’ll here here next year and try and defend my title.”

Alexander Cooper wins gold in second open water race

Alexander Cooper was crowned national champion in only his second ever open water race.

In a close Boys 12 Years 2K race, he finished in a time of 29:29, six seconds ahead of teamipswich’s Finn Cooper (29:35) and nine seconds in front of Kirklees’ James Plant (29:38).

Liam said: “The swim was quite good. It was quite clear which way the wind was blowing and I enjoyed coming back and finishing.

“It’s only my second 2K race and I enjoyed it. I want to do more [open water races] and it feels really good to have my first national medal.”

Ruby Wheeler storms clear in girls’ 12 yrs

Basildon’s Ruby Wheeler was pleased to take the gold medal in her first national race.

She won the Girls 12 Years 2K race in a time of 28:05, 29 seconds clear of City of Salford’s Ella Blocksidge (28:34) and 41 seconds in front of Wycombe District’s Alice Weston (28:46).

Ruby said: “I have not been open water swimming long so this is my first national race – to get a medal is really good.

“I tried to get a personal best but I was a few seconds off. But you cannot really get a PB in difficult conditions.

“My best mate started doing open water swimming and said give it a go as it was fun. I enjoy doing it.”