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Olympian Matt Richards delivers impressive win at National Winter Champs

The first finals session of the Swim England National Winter Championships 2021 saw Olympian Matt Richards delivering an impressive performance in the Men’s 50m Freestyle.

The Bath National Centre athlete Matt Richards stormed to a win in the tightly-contested final with a time of 21.96 – the only swimmer in the field to break the 22-second mark.

He bettered his time from the heats by 0.02 of a second and was followed closely by second-place finisher Jacob Whittle who touched in 22.24.

Loughborough Univerisity’s Alex Cohoon won bronze with a time of 22.30, shaving 0.12 off his time for the morning’s heats.

Speaking on his win, Richards said: “Everything in that race went wrong compared to this morning but the time was slightly quicker but I’m in a bit of a weird space in training at the moment so I’m just trying to find the balance between pushing it and getting the processes right.

“I’m happy with it overall, it was a good race – I swam with a hundred stroke so it shows I’ve got the easy speed ready for the 100m at World Short Course.

“That was every so slightly quicker, but it was a less good race technically but that’s good because it means there’s more to come.

“I’m still really happy with that, it’s a good position to be in for the 100m so I have that now for World Short Course and for later in the season. It shows I’ve got the twitch ready to go so I’m happy with that.

“I haven’t done a 50m fly in years so it should be good fun. Hopefully, I’ll be able to put down a decent time and have a good race with Jacob Peters, one of my good mates from back home so there are some bragging rights in that one.”

Speaking on the winner of the silver medal, Jacob Whittle, Richards said: “He’s a good lad, he’s very quick. Long course I think he’s a lot better once he gets into his stroke.

“I’m probably the same but him even more so but it’s good fun – I think the two of us will have a few years of good scrapping in the pool so it’s nice to have somebody like that to keep pushing against.”

Nicholas Finch was the winner of the Junior gold medal after he powered to a win in the splash ‘n dash race. His time of 22.86 delivered the only sub-23 second time in 22.86.

Plymouth Leander’s Jacob Whibley touched in the silver medal position with his time of 23.04 while Joshua Bailey (Repton Swim) was third in 23.13.

Keegan leads the way in 800

City of Sheffield’s Amber Keegan was the winner of the Women’s 800m Freestyle after establishing an early lead over the rest of the field.

Her time of 8:30.17 was more than three seconds of second place Alice Dearing (8:33.71), who clawed her way to a silver medal in a hard-fought battle with Leah Crisp (8:33.74).

On the junior side, it was 15-year-old Evie Dilley who took the win with her time of 8:48.41. She swam a strong second half of the race to bridge the gap between her and the eventual winner of the silver, Ashleigh Baillie (8:51.74).

Mount Kelly’s Ruby Griffiths followed closely to touch in the bronze-medal position with 8:52.55.

Battle of the backstrokers

The Men’s 200m Backstroke saw a superb race unfold between Cameron Brooker of Wycombe District SC and Elliot Clogg of Loughborough NC.

Brooker got his hand on the wall first with a time of 1:52.80, while Clogg was just 0.18 behind with 1:52.98. His Loughborough teammate, Charlie Brown, took the bronze medal in 1:52.12. All three medal winners took more than three seconds off their times from the heats.

The Junior equivalent was won by Millfield’s Matthew Cairns who posted 1:57.12 to take the gold medal. Just over half a second behind him was silver medal winner Oscar Barlow of Taunton Deane (1:57.67).

Bronze went to Mount Kelly’s Matthew Ward who completed the hat-trick of youngsters who broke the 2-minute mark in this event.

Canny on top

Aimee Canny came out on top in the Women’s 200m Individual Medley and was the only swimmer to reach the 2:10 mark in both the heats and finals.

Her time of 2:10.19 bettered her earlier time of 2:10.89 to deliver the win for the Plymouth Leander swimmer. In second was the Loughborough University’s Lily Booker who touched in 2:11.42.

Commemorative bronze went to Molly Mayne of Hamilton Aquatics (2:13.08) while Hazal Ozkan took home the bronze for her performance (2:14.15).

City of Sheffield’s dominated in the Junior 200m Individual Medley with Phoebe Cooper taking the win in 2:15.20.

Her teammate Annabelle Wilkinson won the bronze medal with a time of 2:18.26, while it was Caitlin Lansom of Co Manchester Aquatics who touched in the silver medal position with 2:17.38.

To view the full results, click here.

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