Hannah Miley is miles ahead of rest

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OLYMPIC swimmer Hannah Miley started her competitive preparations for the London 2012 games with a bang at the Sunderland ASC Firecracker gala.

She took seven gold medals with a series of impressive performances at the Aquatic Centre, but local prospects Danielle Huskisson (Sunderland), Pheobe Lenderyou (Newcastle) and Jessica Theilmann (Newcastle) provided worthy early season opposition for the European and Commonwealth 400m individual medley champion.

Miley eased home in her favoured 200m and 400m individual medley events with respective times of 2.15.61 and 4.47.15.

She followed this up with further victories in the 100m freestyle (58.13), 100m breaststroke (1.11.49) and 200m butterfly (2.15.92).

In the 800m freestyle, Huskisson shadowed Miley until the latter stages of the race, when Miley accelerated away from the Sunderland swimmer to win comfortably in 8.49.77.

Huskisson tried again in the 400m freestyle, but once again Miley powered ahead to a 4.17.67 victory, leaving Huskisson and Theilmann to battle for second.

Theilmann took this in 4.21.85, with Huskisson taking bronze in 4.22.78. Sunderland’s Alexandra Robinson finished in fifth.

Newcastle’s Pheobe Lenderyou, however, provided Miley with food for thought in the shorter distance events, snatching gold with three outstanding performances.

In the 100m butterfly she fought valiantly to edge Miley into second spot by 0.85, taking gold in 1.01.27.

In the 100m backstroke, Lenderyou again beat Miley into second, this time by 2.28 seconds, to win in 1.03.23.

In the 200m backstroke, Lenderyou enjoyed a more comfortable victory over Miley by 3.19 seconds to top the podium with a time of 2.16.16.

Olympic Sprint hopefuls Robert Bale (Loughborough) and Jak Scott (Stirling) also provided the Aquatic Centre crowd with top-quality entertainment.

In the 50m freestyle Bale took the honours with a breathtaking 23.98 finish, touching 0.38 ahead of Scott and he repeated this feat in the 100m freestyle, finishing 0.09 ahead of Scott in 51.65.

Sunderland’s Jonathan Carlisle went head to head with British national squad member Ryan Bennett (Preston) in the 100m and 200m backstroke events, but was beaten into second on both occasions by Bennett’s commanding performances in respective times of 56.21 and 2.03.57.

Carlisle added to his two silver medals with a bronze in the 200m individual medley.

Sunderland’s youngsters also amassed an impressive haul of medals.

Pick of the bunch was 12-year-old Jodi Bunker, who took gold in the 400m freestyle (4.49.61), 800m freestyle (9.46.40), 200m breaststroke (2.59.43), 200m butterfly (2.39.23) and 400m individual medley (5.40.75), together with two silvers.

Joseph Pomfret (11) showed his prowess in the butterfly events with golds in the 50m (34.47), 100m (1.18.48) and 200m (2.51.61), together with one silver and two bronzes.

Thomas Burns (12) won the 400m freestyle (4.54.26), 400m individual medley and 1,500m freestyle (18.55.90) and he also collected two silver and bronze medals, while fellow 12-year-old James Brewerton topped the podium in the 100m backstroke (1.17.51) and the 200m backstroke (2.39.69) and also won four silvers.

Thirteen-year-old Laura Taylor enjoyed golden success in the 100m freestyle (1.05.26) and 400m individual medley (5.14.44) and collected two silvers and a bronze, while Lucy Ellis took the 14-year -old 400m freestyle (4.30.97) and 800m freestyle (9.18.59) titles, together with a silver and bronze.

Lauren Patterson won the 12-year-old 200m freestyle gold medal in 2.20.27 and followed this up with three silvers and a bronze, while Emma Sinclair (15) took the 200m individual medley gold (2.29.45) and three butterfly silver medals.

Breaststroke specialist Lida Abrie (15) won the 100m event in 1.23.19 and collected silvers for the 50m and 200m distances.

James Burns (14) won the 1,500m gold medal (17.30.89) and a silver and 15-year old Matthew Wylie took the multi-disability category 9 titles in the 400m and 1,500m freestyle, 200m backstroke, 100m breaststroke, 50m butterfly, and the 200m individual medley events.

Other medal winners for Sunderland were Jessica Thompson (13) three silvers and two bronzes, Andrew Markham (13) two silvers and one bronze, Jennifer Sharp (12) two silvers, Beth Nicholson (11) one silver and three bronzes, Lucy Walton (14) one silver and two bronzes, Callum Dann (11) one silver and one bronze, Freya Rayner (13) one bronze and Kristian Donaldson (13) one bronze.