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Tobias Robinson stars in 5km race to close 2015 NAG Champs

The final session in the ASA Age Groups Open Water Swimming Champs was the 5k race, both the 17/18 yrs and the 19 and over.

Tobias Robinson (Loughborough) had a clear lead throughout the men’s race, followed closely by Timothy Shuttleworth (Hatfield), Reece Worth (Mt Kelly) and Thomas Nelson (Wirral Metro).

Robinson ploughed his way ahead with each buoy he passed, putting a good distance between him and the other three swimmers. Nelson had drafted his way around the penultimate lap, conserving energy for the final push.

At the start of the final lap, Worth overtook Shuttleworth, changing his long and steady stroke up a gear. Nelson fell back despite his drafting efforts and it became a battle between three in the last few hundred metres.

Robinson finished almost a second ahead of Worth touching 56:49.9 in the 19 yrs+ for the gold medal. Worth claimed silver with 57:39.9 and Nelson followed up for bronze with 57:44.4.

Shuttleworth, although finishing third overall, claimed gold in the 17/18 yrs with his time of 57:41.2. He was followed by Thomas Millburn of Cockermouth (58:53.3) and Max Ward of Derventio (59:29.3).

Shuttleworth commented on his performance: “I was pretty happy with my gold medal, I wanted to mix in with Toby [who won the open race] a bit more, but he left me behind.

“I was looking for gold, I’ve just been out at the Europeans in Switzerland where I came ninth, so I was feeling quite confident.

“I’m hopefully going to Loughborough next year if I get the grades, so hopefully I’ll be training more with Toby and Caleb Hughes.”

Jessie Westnidge lands women’s title

The women’s race was almost too close to call at the finish line. Jessie Westnidge of Sheffield led the way by over 15 metres with a lap and a half to go, with a pack of five girls in her wake, but Rebecca Dutfield of Ealing upped her pace in the last 500 metres to draw level.

Westnidge and Dutfield matched stroke for stroke as they came up to the finishing line, with Westnidge just reaching first for gold in the 17/18 yrs age group (1:01:58.4). Dutfield was a whisker away receiving silver (1:01:59.5).

Ellesmere College’s Harriet Rothwell took bronze medal in 1:02:34.1, holding off Newcastle’s Georgia Darwent (1:02:35.0) in fourth, who surged back after initially missing the finishing funnel.

The 19 yrs+ swimmers were in the pack behind, with Alysha McCracken of Warrander Baths taking gold in 1:03:05.3, Lauren Walton of Beckenham taking silver (1:03:14.9) and Fern Davies of Swansea claiming bronze (1:03:26.5).