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Yorkshire back on top at the National County Team Championships

Yorkshire went one better than last year as they became National County Team champions for the first time since 2018 with an impressive display to win Division One.

The home pool side missed out on the crown by just four points to Kent last year but made up for it this time round as they stormed to victory with a total of 472 points.

They faced some tough competition with Devon and Essex in close contention throughout, with the lead changing hands on multiple occasions.

It was Devon who led at the halfway stage just ahead of Essex and Yorkshire with the leading trio split by just seven points.

However, Yorkshire showed their class in the second half of the event with victories from Gabriel Shephard (Open/Male 14/15 Years 100m Freestyle) and Lily Stansfield (Female 12/13 Years 100m Butterfly) helping to fire them into a commanding lead.

There were also victories from Lois Child (Female 12/13 Years 100m Breaststroke), Phoebe Cooper (Female 14/15 Years 100m Butterfly) and Elizabeth Warner (Female 12/13 Years 100m Freestyle) earlier in the competition on a strong day for Yorkshire.

They sealed the title in the penultimate event with their sixth win of the day in the Female 14/15 Years 200m Medley Team event.

The quartet made up of Nell Carter, Ella Mcdermott, Cooper and Hollie Wilson stormed to victory by more than two seconds to finish in a time of 1:56.21.

Yorkshire also placed second four times and third once in a consistent display.

Both defending champions Kent and Surrey battled back in an effort to join the leading pack in the second half of the competition with Kent having to settle for second on this occasion with a score of 441 points.

Surrey claimed third with 437 as Devon (418) and Essex (411) completed the top five, the latter climbing five places from last year’s result.

A team effort

Yorkshire’s head coach Tom Rhodes was delighted to see his team lift the title after narrowly missing out last year.

He said: “I think they were outstanding today.

“We had a slow start to the day but we came strong in the second half of the meet, so it was really pleasing to see all the swimmers stepping up and doing their jobs.

“It makes a massive difference (to win this time around), no one likes to be first loser do they? They all want to be the one that wins it!

“It’s nice to get over the line. It’s nice to have done it in a comfortable fashion, I know it didn’t feel it at times but certainly going into those relays it was nice having a buffer.

“The swimmers have had a great day. It’s different so they really enjoy just being part of a team because they go to meets and they see these kids but to be part of that group, they’ve enjoyed it and they’ve been buzzing all day.

“As coaches, we enjoy it because again, it’s different. It’s not that same old, same old for us so we’ve had a great time. Lots of fun and smiling.”

When asked if they were confident before the event, after coming second last year, he added: “I don’t think you’re ever confident until you get going.

“We got to halfway and we were seven points behind but knowing that there had been a few mistakes so we knew we had a chance. So it was just about getting those guys geed up for the second half of the day and fortunately they stepped up drastically and we got the job done.

“Today was a team effort and everyone did their part in the team today.”

You can view all the results from Division One of the GoCardless Swim England National County Team Championships 2023 here.

Images: Will Johnston Photography

Division One final standings

1. Yorkshire 472

2. Kent 441

3. Surrey 437

4. Devon 418

5. Essex 411

6. Somerset 382

7. Northumberland & Durham 381

8. Derbyshire 367

9. Lancashire 365

10. Scotland West 323

11. Scotland East 322

12. Worcestershire 315

13. Swim Wales East 310

=14. Hampshire 283

=14. Sussex 283

16. Warwickshire 274

17. Suffolk 216

18. Berkshire & South Buckinghamshire 174

19. Middlesex 170

20. Nottinghamshire 159