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Amazing Annabel stands out on day one at National Summer Meet

The first finals session of the Swim England National Summer Meet 2023 saw a total of 27 national titles up for grabs.

Amongst an array of impressive performances on day one, Annabel Crees of Leamington Spa stood out after her outstanding display in the Women’s 16 Years 200m Freestyle final.

It was a remarkable turnaround from Crees, who was the ninth-fastest qualifier for her final, and posted a personal best time of 2:07.65 for a well-earned victory.

Leckonby and Meeres earn first medals of event

However, ahead of the finals session, there was also two heat declared winner events during session one, which were both the Men’s and Women’s Multi-Classification 100m Breaststroke races.

Cleethorpes and District Swimming Club’s Angus Leckonby won gold in the men’s race with a time of 1:20.81.

The 21-year-old finished 6.96 seconds ahead of silver-medallist Kai Bradford from Romford Town.

Aidan Stanbrook, representing Winchester City Penguins, completed the make-up of the podium by finishing in 1:29.19 to take bronze.

In the women’s event, Elowyn Meeres of Wycombe District took gold. The 14-year-old’s time of 2:06.99 earned her 382 points – seven more than Norwich Swan’s Mwaba Mkwasa, who recorded 1:50.80.

Bronze was taken by 46-year-old Amanda Readhead from Maxwell Swimming Club, who finished with a time of 1:50.98.

Davies dominates

The opening final of this year’s National Summer Meet saw young swimmers shine in both Multi-Classification 100m Freestyle finals.

16-year-old Max Davies from Worksop Swimming Club was able to tot up a massive 683 points to dominate the men’s event by posting 1:05.50.

Alfie Penfold of Crawley won silver with 531 points and a time of 1:02.53.

Meanwhile, Richmond Dales ASC swimmer Archie Hare came away with the bronze medal for his time and points total of 1:10.89 and 496 respectively.

In the women’s event, Tonbridge Swimming Club’s Iona Winnifrith produced a fantastic performance to take gold.

The 12-year-old recorded a time of 1:27.71, earning her 531 points – nine more than her closest challenger Rebecca Hardy-Bishop, who finished in 1:11.19.

Maisie Catt of Richmond Dales ASC secured bronze by amassing 464 points thanks to an effort of 1:29.26.

Leo and Leigh lead the way

All 10 swimmers set new personal best times in the heats of the Men’s 13/14 Years 100m Breaststroke, but it was Jaden Leo and Wilfred Leigh who led the way in the battle for the national title.

Leo of Belper Marlin Swimming Club took the spoils with a time of 1:07.61.

The silver medal went to Millfield swimmer, Leigh, who touched the wall in 1:07.74. In third was Thomas Wooffindin of the City of Leeds.

The 15 Years final saw a very close finish, with Winchester’s Arthur Grundy taking the victory.

His time of 1:08.91 was enough to clinch gold but following closely in second was Hackney’s Storm Heggenhougen (1:09.00) to earn the silver medal.

Chelmsford’s Reece Burns secured the final podium place in a bronze medal-winning time of 1:09.42.

The national champion in the 16 Years final, representing Norwich Swans, was Lewis Andrews.

He clocked a time of 1:07.93 to beat Dartmoor’s Alexander Grenardo to the wall by just 0.07 as the pair earned gold and silver respectively.

Chalfont’s Noah Wheeler (1:08.26) produced a strong swim for third.

There was another clean sweep of lifetime best times in the heats of the 17 Years race.

Ethan Bird then went on to better his time from the heats by 0.6 to win gold. The City of Oxford swimmer registered a time of 1:07.23.

Gloucester’s Daniel Fielder was the silver medal winner, followed by Matthew Charlesworth of Blackpool Aquatics for bronze.

The 18 Years and over final saw Chesterfield’s Jack Blair storm through in the last 25m to take his place at the top of the podium.

Blair blasted his way through the field to finish in 1:04.10. Loughborough University’s Mackenzie Cannon was next to the touch to take home silver.

York City’s Simon Robinson was awarded the bronze medal and two commemorative gold and silver medals were presented to Queensland’s Joshua Collett and Bailey Lello respectively.

Bellinger’s brilliant breaststroke

Iola Bellinger from Salisbury Stingrays ASC broke her lifetime best for the second time in the day to win the Women’s 12/13 Years 100m Breaststroke, but she was pushed all the way by Poole’s Halle Robinson.

Just 1.4 seconds separated the pair, with Bellinger posting 1:15.25, and Robinson recording 1:16.65.

It was even closer between second and third, as Harriet Griffiths of Royal Tunbridge Wells Monson Swimming Club earned a bronze medal for her time of 1:16.80.

In the 14 Years age group, Amalie Smith of Tonbridge Diving Club took gold with a very impressive time of 1:12.79

Chase Swimming Club’s Isabel Owen finished second to claim silver in 1:15.74. Olivia Zobek from Camden Swiss Cottage Swimming Club won bronze thanks to her time of 1:16.00.

Just 0.03 seconds separated Petra Varga and Ava Wilson in the 15 Years. Varga, representing Wirral Metro Swimming Club, finished with a time of 1:14.53, whilst Wilson – of New Hall School Swim Academy – posted 1:14.56.

Third-placed Martha Cunniffe of Leander Swimming Club wasn’t too far behind either – as she recorded 1:15.33.

The margins got even tighter in the following event – just 0.98 seconds separated the top five.

It was Poppy Williams who came out on top, however. The Team Bath AS swimmer’s effort of 1:14.22 was enough to fend of Ramsbottom’s Ruby Swinney and win her the gold medal.

Swinney secured silver with a time of 1:14.84, whilst Natasha Greer of Greenwich Royals Swimming Club claimed bronze by posting 1:14.98.

The very next event saw celebrations for Crawley Swimming Club as Sophie Moore was the first English athlete to touch the wall in the 17 Years and over event.

Moore recorded a time of 1:13.22 to win gold. The silver medal went to Pixie Lale-Klasicki of Brompton and City of Manchester’s Denisa-Elena Gogu earned bronze.

It was a close finish for the commemorative medals between Queensland swimmers, Matilda Smith and Tilly King.

Smith finished with a time of 1:09.33 for commemorative gold, whilst clubmate King came in just over a second behind her on 1:10.39.

Soppett-Moss secures win

The first of the ‘splash and dash’ races, the Men’s 13/14 Years 50m Freestyle final, saw Ethan Soppett-Moss claim the national title.

The swimmer from Corby was the only English swimmer to go sub 25 seconds, as he clocked in at 24.91.

Braintree’s Joshua Parker raced to second place in 25.15 and City of Sheffield’s Jenson Owen finished in third. A commemorative gold medal was won by Zain Salah of Hamilton UAE.

In the 15 Years final, Ollie O’Connor of Putteridge stretched out in front to win gold, but it was the remainder of the podium places which saw an even closer finish.

There was only 0.01 between Rotherham’s Oliver Davis-Tootill and City of Lincoln’s Ewan Cox. In a fingertip finish, it was Davis-Tootill who got there first and took his place on the podium in the silver medal position.

It was a similar story in the 16 Years final, as Riley Perry of Royal Wolverhampton and Laurel Roberts-Burrell of Nottingham Leander were also separated by just 0.01 for silver and bronze respectively.

But out in front, and taking what looked to be a comfortable victory as he glided home, was Chalfont’s Ethan Richards-Knight in a time of 23.89.

The star of the show in the 17 Years final was Daniel Jackson after a strong swim saw him clinch gold from out in lane one.

The Borough of Kirklees swimmer managed a time of 24.24 to finish ahead of Aquabears swimmer Joel Birtles (24.29) in second. The bronze medal went to Philip Suddes of York City.

Birmingham University’s Adrian Ting was crowned national champion following the fastest race of the opening finals session, the Men’s 18 Years and over 50m Freestyle.

His time of 23.31 was enough to see of his opposition, the closest of which was Derby’s Tom Trueman in 23.58.

Aidan Cannon of Mid Sussex Marlins won the bronze medal and there was more commemorative medals for Queensland swimmers – this time it was Harrison Turner and Jack Carr who were awarded gold and silver respectively.

Hall heads up podium

In the first of the Women’s 200m Freestyle events, Jasmine Hall – representing Basildon and Phoenix Swimming Club – took gold with a superb time of 2:10.53.

She was closely followed by City of Leicester’s Janie Finch, who managed to record an effort of 2:12.56 for silver.

Autumn Claxton of Stockport Metro Swimming Club won bronze by finishing in 2:13.64.

In an unbelievably close finish, Repton Swimming’s Elodie Pearcey finished 0.02 seconds ahead of second-place Isabelle Price from City of Birmingham to claim gold.

Pearcey posted 2:09.81, whilst Price finished in 2:09.83.

Emily Hughes of Millfield School set a time of 2:11.57 to seal third and win bronze.

The drama of the 200m Freestyles did not stop there – the 15 Years age group event witnessed the top three swimmers separated by just 1.37 seconds.

Lilia Fornasier of Royal Tunbridge Wells Monson Swimming Club pipped closest challenger Olivia O’Mahony to the post by 0.03 seconds, with the former setting 2:08.44, and the latter coming in at 2:08.47.

Hazel-Anne Carter from Wycombe District Swimming Club was next to finish – taking bronze thanks to an effort of 2:09.81.

Alongside the sensational swim from Leamington Spa’s Crees in the 16 Years final was also City of Liverpool’s Lucy Parsons, who did her best to chase down Crees.

Parsons finished in 2:07.81 to take silver and Grace Greenhalf of City of Norwich, meanwhile, won bronze by recording 2:08.64.

City of Leicester’s Anna Farrow had a gold medal-winning performance in store in the 17 Years and over final.

The 18-year-old finished in 2:05.62 to take home gold ahead of the City of Milton Keynes swimmer, Poppy Baybutt, who swam a confident race which resulted in a silver medal.

Third place went to Beckenham’s Amelia Brian and there was more commemorative medals for Queensland.

Phoebe Bentley posted a phenomenal time of 2:00.21 to claim commemorative gold, whilst Lucy Dring secured commemorative silver with 2:01.43.

Manley medley PB

Less than eight seconds separated all the qualifying times going into the Men’s 13/14 Years 400m Individual Medley final.

There was a number of PB’s set, but the largest came from the eventual silver medal winner, Austyn Manley of Nova Centurion.

Manley, who led for the majority of the race, clocked in at 4:49.44 to record a 10 second personal best time.

However, he was pipped to the wall by Portsmouth’s Skye Sharples, who finished in 4:48.82 for gold.

City of Birmingham swimmer Kaiden Hitchins was another of those to set a new PB with his 4:51.77 for bronze.

In the 15 Years final, Max El-Mokadem of RTW Monson opened up a lead and went on to finish more than five seconds ahead of his nearest rival.

His winning time was 4:46.38, with City of Peterborough’s Orlando Dearing taking silver and Newcastle’s Nicholas Land earning bronze from out in lane zero.

Although a slender lead, Jamie Steadman of Clevedon also opened some space between himself and second place in the 16 Years final.

Steadman went ahead from the 300m mark and didn’t look back as he swam a time of 4:43.59.

Leamington’s Charlie Rounce (4:46.67) held on for the silver medal, followed by Samuel Williams (4:47.18) of Wycombe District.

There was a great battle between the top three – Lewis Turner, James Escolme and Daniel McGuinness, in the 17 Years final.

McGuinness of Basildon Phoenix was in the lead and maintained it during the first 50m of the breaststroke leg, but Turner made his move in the second 50m to go ahead as they entered the freestyle leg.

Winsford’s Turner was the gold medallist, but Carnforth’s Escolme also made a late burst to snatch the silver medal and McGuinness finished with the bronze.

The final race saw Reading’s Joseph Buxton set two lifetime bests in one day as he went on to beat his heats time with a superb 4:32.73 to win the 18 Years and over national title.

City of Sheffield’s Howarth-Osborne was the next to finish, followed by Mount Kelly’s Donatas Dragasius to round off the podium.

Images: Morgan Harlow

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