Three Harpenden swimmers returned to Norwich for the second weekend of the ASA East Region BAGCAT Championships.
Our sole representative in the first session, Alice Richardson set the weekend off nicely with a PB in the 100m backstroke before getting her head in gear for the gruelling 400m IM. On her way to a brilliant 5th place finish Alice set a 10 year old girls 100m butterfly record, and the 400m IM record for the age group. We were off to a great start.
The day continued to get better as Michael Ripper continued his rankings-defying swims of the first weekend to clamber up to 8th in the 200m freestyle and book a place in the final. On the way he set 50m, 100m and 200m 12 year old boys records, breaking a 4 year old record on the 200m. In the final Michael was just 0.27 outside his heats time but still managed to pull himself up to 6th place overall.
Alice then hopped back into the action in the 200m breaststroke. A strong swim with a good PB put her in 16th position overall and filled in another BAGCAT category, creeping her further up the overall rankings.
Joe Richardson was the last to hit the water in the second session of the weekend, competing in the 100m breaststroke. A fantastic swim placed him fourth going into the final and broke the 50m and 100m breaststroke 12 year old and Club records. Despite wild celebrations from his Dad in the stands, Joe wandered back from the race looking slightly confused, only to have it confirmed that he had raced to his first ever National Qualifying Time! We are incredibly proud of Joe's achievement, and look forward to seeing him in Sheffield in August! Congratulations Joe! In the final Joe went slightly slower and placed 7th overall, but nothing was going to tarnish the excitement of his achievement.
After a nice team meal with the swimmers, parents and coaches, and a good restorative sleep, everyone reconvened at the pool for the final day of swimming.
First up was Alice in the 200m backstroke, where she again PB'd and boosted her overall ranking in the event. Michael's final swim was the 400m freestyle. He swam strongly to break his short course PB and set a new 12 year old boys record on his way to 12th overall.
The final event was the girls 200m freestyle, in which Alice was competing. After a long weekend Alice was struggling with tiredness but stepped up brilliantly to grab 8th place going into the final and set a new 10 year old girls club record. In the final Alice fought hard all the way and swam a great race, but couldn't quite improve on her ranking.
Overall in the BAGACATs competition Joe finished 20th out of 34 competitors, just a place behind Michael in 19th. This is a fantastic effort considering that both boys have never been to Regions before, and were actually missing one of the 4 categories required to do well in the competition. However, Alice stole the show with a 9th place finish out of 37 10 year old girls, a fantastic effort at her first ever Regional Championships!
The coaches are incredibly pleased and proud of the achievements of all the swimmers at the BAGCAT Championships this year. We are excited to see a new swimmer at Nationals, and it's great to see new swimmers coming through and racing well at the higher levels. Well done to all four swimmers who raced this year!