Victorious Beth Nicholson claims the 800m freestyle swimming title

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TEN-YEAR-OLD Beth Nicholson set the pace for Sunderland in the British Gas Northumberland and Durham Women’s Freestyle Swimming Championships by taking the 800m title.

Beth’s time of 11.10.06, boosted her to third place in the British age group rankings, while team-mate Jodi Bunker, took the 11-year-old gold medal, finishing with a time of 10.38.03, an emphatic seven seconds ahead of second placed Miriam Jessett of Newcastle.

The Sunderland Aquatic Centre was the stage for the swimming championships and a team of 18 girls from the City of Sunderland ASC enjoyed outstanding success in their home pool.

Sunderland’s 12-year-olds continued their medal rush with Laura Taylor taking the age group gold and overall ninth place with a time of 9.43.51.

Jessica Thompson took the bronze medal behind Newburn’s Amelia Cassidy with a time of 10.13.37. Team-mate Lauren Patterson just missed out on a podium place, finishing fourth with a time of 10.15.31.

Finishing the competition in overall sixth place was 13-year-old Lucy Walton. Fresh from her recent battles with current GB senior international Hannah Miley, she took the age group gold in 9.29.57, a 2011 national qualifying time which was almost half a minute ahead of second-placed Rosie Linsey of Chester-le-Street.

Former 1500m National Youth medallist Alexandra Robinson (16) finished in 9.15.02, taking overall second place behind the City of Newcastle’s Rachel Smedley. Alexandra still qualified for the British Gas National Youth Championships.

The Sunderland team, which also included Rachel Sinclair (17), Lida Abrie (14), Ashlyn Liddle (13), Freya Rayner (12), Gabrielle Burdess (12), Anabelle Joyce (13), Abigail Carlisle (13), Christina Castledine (13), Jennifer Sharp (12), Amy Henshaw (11) and Hannah Costello (12), performed to a high standard with many of the swimmers boosting their national rankings with personal best times.

A delighted Coach Danny Thompson said: “The performance ensured that the City of Sunderland Age Group Programme dominated the distance events striking gold in every age group from ten to 13years. This is further evidence that the swimming future in Sunderland continues to be very bright indeed.”