THE first weekend of the Northumberland & Durham County Championships saw swimmers compete in the 50m sprint events and in a series of relays.
City of Sunderland fielded a squad of 36 swimmers, ranging in age from nine to 18, who won 13 individual medals and a further ten medals from the relay events.
Finishing third behind Sunderland team-mate and winner Adam Taylor in the 50m Backstroke event was 18-year-old Joe Middleton.
He set a new personal best of 28.65 seconds, fast enough to secure his first national qualifying time, having previously gained national experience in relay events.
Sunderland’s youngest competitor, nine-year-old Niamh Swailes was first to win a medal, finishing third in the final of the 50m freestyle, setting set a new club record in the process.
Just minutes later, Freya Rayner (15) topped the podium in the 50m freestyle in the Open Age Group, setting a new personal best and taking the club record for her age group and the All Time club record.
Freya also won a silver medal in the 50m backstroke event and just missed out on a medal in the 50m butterfly.
Sunderland’s girls performed well in the 50m butterfly events to win two silver medals and a bronze medal.
Emma Sinclair (17) came second in the Open Age Group, set personal best times in the heat and the final, achieving a national qualifying time and setting a new club record.
Fourteen-year-olds Anya Sordy and Jodi Bunker finished second and third respectively. Anya improved her time by more than three seconds and also finished fourth in the 50m breaststroke final.
Jodi set a personal best in the butterfly final and went on to win a silver medal in the 50m breaststroke event, setting personal best times in the heat and final.
Jodi also finished fourth in the 50m backstroke final and fifth in the 50m freestyle final.
Setting new club records were 13-year-old Natalya Sharp and 11-year-old Tom Brumwell.
Natalya swam brilliantly in both the heat and final of the 50m breaststroke event to finish fourth in both. Her time of 37.95 broke the club record for the 13-year-old girls, which had stood since 2008.
Tom finished fifth in the finals of the 50m freestyle in a time of 31.92 seconds, to claim the 11-year-old boys’ club record.
Also qualifying for finals were 11-year-old Lara Greggs, Ana Lazar (12), 13-year-olds Elizabeth Clements, Eve Larsen and Matthew Phillips, Lauren Exley and Joseph Pomfret (both 14), and 16-year-olds Joshua Campbell, Jack Tallentire and Lucy Walton.
Lara finished 10th in the 50m freestyle and Ana was seventh in the 50m freestyle.
Elizabeth finished fifth in the 50m backstroke and eighth in the 50m butterfly in a dead heat with Eve, who also finished sixth in the 50m freestyle and 50m backstroke events.
Matthew gained eighth place in the 50m breaststroke. Lauren was seventh in the 50m butterfly. Joe was seventh in the 50m backstroke and 50m butterfly and 10th in the 50m breaststroke.
Jack was ninth in the 50m butterfly. Joshua finished ninth in the 50m breaststroke and Lucy finished ninth in the 50m backstroke and 10th place in the 50m freestyle.
The relay events proved to be very successful for Sunderland, whose teams won four gold, two silver and four bronze medals.
Gold medal winners included Laura Taylor, making an impressive comeback following a year out due to injury, alongside Lucy Walton, Freya Rayner and Gabrielle Burdess in the women’s 15/16 year old 200m freestyle relay.
Gold also went to Alexandra Clements, Gabrielle Burdess, Freya Rayner and Lucy Walton who won the women’s 15/16 year old 200m medley relay; Jennifer Tatters, Lucy Ellis, Freya Rayner and Gabrielle Burdess won the open 400m freestyle relay; and Lucy Ellis, Lucy Walton, Jennifer Tatters and Gabrielle Burdess won the Open 800m freestyle relay.
Silver medallists were the men’s open 400m freestyle team, comprising Joe Middleton, Adam Taylor, Callum Reveley and Michal Kotlewski and the men’s 15/16 year old 200m medley team of Andrew Markham, Joshua Campbell, Jack Tallentire and Callum Reveley.
Finishing with bronze medals were the men’s open medley team of Joe Middleton, Joshua Campbell, Adam Taylor and Michal Kotlewski and the men’s 15/16 year old 200m freestyle team of Callum Reveley, Joshua Campbell, Jack Talentire and Andrew Markham.
Bronze also went to the women’s 13/14-year-old 200m freestyle team of Eve Larsen, Elizabeth Clements, Anya Sordy and Jodi Bunker; and the women’s open 400m medley team of Freya Rayner, Lida Abrie, Emma Sinclair and Lucy Ellis.