Golden girl Freya leads way for city

Freya Rayner.
Freya Rayner.
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Freya Rayner, 14, was City of Sunderland’s star of the British Gas North East Region Age Group Championships after winning four out of the five medals won by the club.

Rayner began by taking first place in the 100m backstroke, matching last year’s achievement and setting a new club record in the process.

Freya also won a gold medal in the 100m freestyle in a new personal best time of 58.66 seconds which places her first in the national rankings in her age group.

In the 200m backstroke final, she finished second to take home a silver medal and won a bronze in the final of the 100m butterfly, also in a new personal best time, to complete a very successful meet.

Seventeen swimmers from Sunderland, aged 10–14, met the tough qualifying times to compete.

The gala was held over two weekends, at the Ponds Forge pool, in Sheffield and the standard of competition was high.

Sunderland’s other medal winner was 13-year-old Jodi Bunker, who put in a fine performance in the 400 individual medley final to finish second.

Her time was a new personal best and well inside the national qualifying time for this event.

Jodi swam in nine individual events, qualifying for seven finals and finished seventh in the 800m freestyle.

Freya and Jodi both formed part of the girls’ relay team which finished in national qualifying positions in the 4x100m freestyle and the 4x200m freestyle events, securing fourth and sixth places respectively.

Fourteen-year-olds Gabrielle Burdess and Lauren Patterson completed the successful team.

The girls’ 4x100m medley team, comprising Rayner, Bunker, Burdess and 12-year-old Eve Larsen, finished sixth.

In addition to swimming in the relay events, Burdess reached eight finals.

Her 800m swim, where she finished fifth, was fast enough to qualify her for the national open water event.

Gabrielle finished fourth in the final of the 200m breaststroke, and recorded seven personal best times.

Competing in seven individual events, Lauren Patterson qualified for the 400 medley and 200m breaststroke finals, where she finished ninth and eighth respectively.

Eve Larsen reached the finals of the 400 medley, 100m and 200m breaststroke and the 200 medley. Her best result came in the 200 medley, finishing sixth.

Amy Henshaw, 13, reached the final of the 200m butterfly, qualifying in sixth place. In the final, she produced a personal best time of 2.32.22 to finish in fifth.

Fourteen-year-olds Jennifer Sharp and Jay Whitehead both competed in five events.

Jennifer’s best results came in the 200m and 100m butterfly events, where she finished in 12th and 13th.

Jay finished a creditable sixth in the 800m freestyle and was 16th in the 400m freestyle.

Natalya Sharp, 12, finished 16th in the 400 medley, 19th and 21st in the 200m and 100m breaststroke.

Thomas Burns, 14, finished seventh in the 1500m. He also swam in the 200m and 400m backstroke.

Joseph Pomfret, 12, competed in the 200m and 100m butterfly events, reaching both finals – finishing fourth and ninth respectively..

Eleven-year-old J.J. Robins achieved personal bests in each of his four events.

He reached the finals of the 400 medleyand 200m breaststroke, finishing seventh and 10th respectively.

Fourteen-year-olds James Brewerton and Callum Walker and 10-year-olds Lara Greggs, Tom Brumwell and Joe Whelan all made their debuts at the championship.

James competed in the 200m and 100m backstroke, Callum took part in the 100m breaststroke and Lara competed in the 200m breaststroke.

Tom set two personal bests in the 100m and 200m backstroke, finishing 11th in both.

Joe’s best result came in the 200m backstroke, where he finished a fine fourth.

He also finished ninth in the 100m backstroke, 10th in the 200 medley and 16th in the 200m freestyle, setting two more personal bests.