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Stephens edges Large in back and forth race to land national title

A thrilling race between Laura Stephens and Emily Large took centre stage to round out the opening day of the 2022 Swim England National Winter Championships.

In the Women’s 200m Butterfly event, the pair traded places for the lead throughout the opening stages before Stephens edged ahead as the race entered the final 50m.

The gap with just one length to go was just 0.22, but it was Stephens who kept more in the tank to power home and take the crown.

Stephens’ time was 2:05.91, which was her season’s best in the event as the Loughborough swimmer edged out her Millfield counterpart by 0.75.

In an incredible race, the pair both displayed their potential as they celebrated their respective selections to the British Swimming World Class Programme and the Swim England Performance Squad, with a one-two finish.

The bronze medal for the event went to Northampton’s Betsy Wizard who had to settle for being best of the rest despite her own strong display.

Junior medals in the event went to Lucy Fox (Wycombe District) and Erin Tankard (City of Sheffield), with Ping Yi Audrey Lau (City of Birmingham) being awarded the bronze.

Wood claims win with new PB

Abbie Wood swam a new personal best time of 53.76 to take gold in the Women’s Open 100m Freestyle final.

The Loughborough swimmer was later joined by Mount Kelly’s Erin Little as the 17-year-old was awarded the junior gold.

She finished in 54.67, which saw her also take home the silver medal in the open results, followed by City of Sheffield’s Charlotte Berry (54.74).

16-year-old Eva Okaro was the next junior athlete to touch the wall in the open final, resulting in the Sevenoaks swimmer being presented with silver.

Repton’s Laurie Devine set the fastest time in the junior final to earn bronze.

Double gold for Millfield

Matthew Richards led a Millfield one-two in the Men’s 50m Freestyle final, where they took both the open and junior gold medals.

Richards stormed to the wall in an impressive time of 21.11, ahead of his teammate Alexander Painter.

Painter fought well in a close race for the silver medal as he finished just 0.03 ahead of Swansea University’s Dan Jones.

The impressive performance from Painter earnt him the junior gold medal, with Mount Kelly’s Harry Robinson the junior silver medallist and Chelsea and Westminster’s Nicholas Finch winning the bronze.

Hutchinson storms to victory

Loughborough’s Charlie Hutchinson claimed victory by almost four seconds in the Men’s 400m Individual Medley.

It was a solid performance from the 20-year-old, who finished in a time of 4:10.62 to top the podium.

City of Manchester’s Reuben Rowbotham-Keating featured in the podium places yet again to claim his third and fourth medals of the opening finals session.

He added another junior gold to his collection alongside a silver medal in the open results. His time was 4:14.24.

The junior silver and bronze medals went to Bath University’s Isaac Dodds (4:19.28) and Royal Wolverhampton’s David Annis (4:19.33).

In the remaining podium spot and taking the open bronze medal was City of Cardiff’s William Ryley after touching home in 4:16.01.

Harris win out close battle for gold

Swansea University’s Medi Harris won the centre lane duel with Mount Kelly’s Leah Whittaker to take the Women’s 50m Backstroke title.

European gold medallist Harris set a time of 26.49, which was 0.18 ahead of Whittaker in the ‘splash and dash’ race.

It was a double podium for Mount Kelly, as Flawia Kamzol joined her teammate on the podium with bronze in a time of 27.58.

17-year-old Whittaker became the junior champion with her time, with Kamzol taking junior silver and Norwich Swan’s Amara Addison the new junior bronze medalist.

Painter at the double

Alexander Painter was back in the pool and added two gold medals to his tally to round off the day’s action.

The Millfield swimmer won the open race to claim both the open and junior titles in the Men’s 100m Individual Medley.

His time of 53.67 saw him as the only swimmer to break the 54-second mark as he finished 0.71 ahead of Brighton’s Dominic Polling.

Polling had to settle for silver, with Mount Kelly’s Matthew Ward winning open bronze and junior silver with his time of 55.01.

The junior bronze medal went to another Millfield swimmer in Elliott Woodburn who set a 55.22.