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Kelly’s heroes claim National Arena Swimming League B final victory

Mount Kelly added their name to the National Arena Swimming League honours board for the first time when they won the 19th B final.

The Devon club won 17 of the 50 events at Cardiff to build a 43-point victory margin over runners-up Bromley.

It was only Mount Kelly’s second appearance in 50 years of national finals and it improved on the fifth place they achieved as Kelly College in the 2005 B final.

Their victory made up for the disappointment of missing out on the Cup Final this time.

Despite finishing third in a thrilling Western League final in December, seven points ahead of Millfield, the 36-team ‘virtual gala’ that helps to decide the national qualifiers saw their positions reversed with the Somerset team making the top final and Mount Kelly squeezed out.

Mount Kelly’s director of swimming Emma Collings-Barnes said: “It was disappointing for us not to make the A final but we bounced back well and this was a good win.

“It has worked well for us really. It gives us a bit more time to get it right in the A final.

Proud of achievements

“Hopefully we will be in the A final next year and challenging the best teams in the country.

“We’re a small school and we’re really proud of what we’ve achieved.”

Mount Kelly also won the relay challenge.

The club’s Italian international Federico Burdisso contributed to five wins, including the men’s medley and freestyle relays and the individual 200m IM, 100m Butterfly and 100m Freestyle.

The European bronze medallist and world junior champion eased back as he completed the 100m Freestyle in 50.94 but the time still won him the award for the best male swim.

Burdisso, making his debut in the finals, said: “I love the atmosphere and the noise. The cheering of the supporters encourages the team.”

Bromley, appearing in only their second B final after a 2018 debut, won a battle with Teamipswich for second place as three of their swimmers picked up individual age group awards.

B final results

  1. Mount Kelly 390
  2. Bromley 347
  3. Teamipswich 318
  4. City of Milton Keynes 278
  5. City of Cambridge 270
  6. Sevenoaks 269
  7. Thanet 253
  8. Camden Swiss Cottage 224
  9. Southport 224
  10. Worcester 174

Bromley’s Tamryn Van Seim was a triple winner, taking the U16 100m Backstroke and 100m Freestyle before stepping up to claim the open 100m Freestyle in 57.01.

Thomas Woolley touched ahead in the U16 100m Freestyle and Lucas Bryl in the U12 50m Backstroke to secure top swimmer awards for their age groups.

Teamipswich’s eight race wins included two from Rosalind Saise, whose successes in the U12 50m Breaststroke and 50m Freestyle won her the age group award.

The Suffolk club’s line-up also included 44-year-old Zoe Cray, a former British record holder for the 50m Backstroke, who was representing Ipswich in the league for the 35th year running having started when she was nine.

Camden Swiss Cottage’s Ally Larson was named top female swimmer after winning the women’s 200m IM in 2:18.70.

The remaining individual awards went to Thanet’s Archie Hawkins and Sevenoaks’ Eva Okaro.

Hawkins won the U14 100m Backstroke, Okaro the U14 100m Butterfly and 100m Freestyle.

Southport’s dream comes true

Southport – the only debutants in the 2019 finals – managed to tie in eighth place with Camden Swiss Cottage, although the London team were awarded the higher ranking on countback of race wins.

Southport head coach Mark Patrickson said: “After we won our Junior League national titles in 2008 and 2009, Swimming Times quoted me as saying it was my dream to make the senior finals one day.

“Nine years later, that dream has come true.

“And what a fantastic experience it was for the Southport team, coaches and supporters.

“The team performed above our expectations. It was a great event and a great atmosphere.”

West Midlands League representatives Worcester won the prize for the best supporters.

Relay Challenge results

  1. Mount Kelly 33:27.41
  2. Bromley 33:54.44 (+27.03sec)
  3. Teamipswich 33:56.01 (+28.60)
  4. Sevenoaks 34:19.90 (+52.49)
  5. City of Cambridge 34:24.51 (+57.10)
  6. City of Milton Keynes 34:31.24 (+63.83)
  7. Camden Swiss Cottage 34:38.82 (+71.41)
  8. Thanet 34:43.41 (+76.00)
  9. Southport 34:55.87 (+88.46)
  10. Worcester 35:09.05 (+101.64)
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