Ellesmere College Titans - though still only six years old - have enjoyed their best ever results so far at the combined Midland (West & East) Age Group Swimming Championships in Coventry's 50m Long Course pool.
The club had sixteen swimmers making the tough qualifying grade against some of UK's best known elite County clubs, such as Nottinghamshire's 'Nova Centurian SC', with as many as eighty swimmers competing. The Titans showed their complete dominance of the West Midlands Region by winning ten gold medals over the first weekend (23 medals altogether), and another twelve gold during the second weekend (22 altogether making a total of forty five medals). Even with such a small but highly talented squad they finished 2nd in the combined Midlands behind the 80 strong 'Nova Centurian' with only one gold less, but well ahead of all the other 73 clubs - including the elite clubs of the forty strong City of Birmingham, City of Coventry, Derbyshire's elite club 'Derventio eXcell SC' and the forty strong Northampton SC.Ellesmere Titans' reign at the top was emphasised still further with the head count in the British Age Group Category (BAGcat) Fina pts totals, accumulating the best result from each stroke and distance throughout the two weekends. With the boy's divisions sporting 50-70 competitors and the girls 80-90 the 'Mighty Titans', as they have become known, finished with four swimmers taking the 1st place from the ten categories, and thirteen of their swimmers in the top ten - another phenomenal team achievement .
For the girls, Phoebe Townsend (11), Rosie Holland (12), Jade Hamilton (12), Shannon Dalligan (12), and Ellinor Southward (12) set many long course personal bests, and their success culminated with Ellinor Southward taking gold in the 200m freestyle in 2:14.11, taking her up to 7th in her end of year UK rankings. This was supported by her success in the 200m Individual Medley (2:30.48 and 3rd in the UK) and 100m butterfly (1:08.99), followed by five silvers in the 100m free, 400m free, 200m back, 400m Individual Medley (IM) and a bronze in the 800m free.
All of Southward's podium finishes culminated in her winning her BAGcat age group in style with 2433 pts, with team mates Hamilton, Dalligan and Holland finishing 21st, 25th and 26th respectively in the 90 strong age group. Eleanor Bainbridge (10) entered several months ago under the Coventry banner but is now an Ellesmere girl and enjoyed tremendous success taking five Midland Championship titles in the 400m IM (5:51.31 & 1st in her June UK rankings), 100m free (1:10.15 & 2nd in UK), 200m free (2:31.21 & 3rd in UK), and 800m free (10:22.67 & 1st in UK). Bainbridge went on to win the ten year old girls' BAGcat title - undoubtedly one of many top girl titles she will win in the years to come.
Older Girls Continue The GOLD Haul
The success continued for the older girls with Ellie Hutchings (13), Hannah Wain (14), Murrin Dalrymple (14), Hannah Knight(14) and Tazmin Pugh (14) in the 4 x 200m (800m) team relay, improving on their fifth seeded position to take silver in a time of 8:47.99 and taking their place as one of the top forty teams in the UK (from the nine various District Championships taking place in June) into the National Age Group Championships in July/August. The girls (4th with Wain, Knight, Dalrymple, Pugh) went on to record 4:07.82 in the 4 x 100m Free and 4:30.42 in the 4 x 100m Medley Relay Teams (5th with Southward, Hutchings, Pugh, Dalrymple), but once again should be good enough to make the National Championships. Ellie Hutchings - only recently back to full training - made it through the heats and took silver medals in the finals of the 200m IM (2:29.37) and 100m breast stroke (1:20.12), going on to take 5th position in the BAGcat award presentations, with club mate Hannah Wain taking 20th place in the 76 strong group.
Meanwhile, Tazmin Pugh approached the championships in good form and rewarded her top grade coaching team (Director of Swimming Jon Pardoe, Head Coach Alan Bircher together with Steffi Bircher and Tim Hastie) in some style, winning a medal in every one of her ten events. Her first of five golds came in the finals of the 100m butterfly in a new long course with a personal best of 1:03.75, consolidating her position as 1st in the UK rankings. Pugh went on to take gold (improving from an 8th place qualifying position) in the 200m IM (2:24.69 & rising to 6th in the UK). Pugh personified a 'Titans trait' of showing determination and never giving up by taking gold in the long distance 800m free, fighting back from 10 metres behind at the half way stage to win by just one tenth of a second. Having won the 200m IM it was unclear whether she could repeat it in the gruelling 400m IM (100m each stroke) but a great new personal best took her to the top of the podium in 4:56.98, beating one of the best swimmers in the country and England International Issy Griffiths by over 3 seconds and rising to 1st in the UK in the December 31st rankings. Three silver medals came for Pugh in the 200m back, (2:24.17 & 9th in UK), 200m free (2:07.47 & 2nd in the UK) and again only ten minutes later in the 100m back with a fresh set of competitors from those in the 200m free. She improved from being seeded 6th to coming in 2nd with a new long course personal best (1:07.85). Pugh completed her haul with a bronze in the 100m free, improving from 7th place in the heats to record 1:01.08 in the final, and another bronze in the 400m free helped her move from her 20th seeded position from her qualifying entry time to 7th in the UK. Pugh went on to win her BAGcat overall category (2806 pts) in the 90 strong group for the first time since competing (age 10) since 2010, although she has always finished in the top seven.
The boys were represented by ten year old Ben Holland taking gold in the 200m free in 2:26.61 (1st in UK), 400m free (4:50.50 & 1st in the UK), and also in the 200m IM (2:45.13 and 1st in the UK), 200m IM (2:45.13 & 1st in the UK) and 400 IM (5:42.57 & 1st in UK) with silver in the 200m fly and 200m back, finishing 2nd in the BAGcat awards.
Ellesmere's Hutchison is Man of the Championships
Twelve year old swimming ace Charlie Hutchison was truly in a class of his own, winning an unprecedented seven golds and one silver, his first gold coming in the 200m free (2:10.86 and 2nd in UK),with more coming in the 400m free (4:29.93 & 1st in UK), and 200m fly with 2:22.37, placing him 1st in the UK having recorded the 16th best ever time for a 12 year old boy and still six months to go until his birthday. Hutchison's other golds came in the 200m IM in 2:27.84 (1st in the UK), followed by more in the 100m fly (1:05.52 & 1st in UK), and 200m backstroke (2:26.39 & 1st in UK). A staggering 17:53.60 (& 1st in UK) in the gruelling long distance 1500m concluded Hutchison's record breaking gold haul. His silver came in the 400m IM (5:05.34 & 1st in UK in his end of November rankings). Hutchison won his BAGcat awards category with ease with 1941 pts. In one of the most exciting finger tip finishes (0.03) of the meet Adam Metcalf (12) took silver behind team mate Hutchison in 2:10.89 with bronze in the 100m breaststroke (1:21.62) and also in the 200m IM in (2:27.84). In the 100m free, however, Metcalf at last took a well deserved gold medal with a brilliant 1:00.73 and rose to 2nd in the UK in his end of year rankings, going on to the presentations taking the 7th overall 12 year old age group award.
Setting more club records, long distance specialist Hector Pardoe (13) took gold in the 1500m (17:13.10 & 1st in UK) followed by a bronze in the 400m free with a thrilling last few lengths (4:28.23 & 4th in UK) and another bronze in the 200m fly (2:25.14 & 3rd in UK). Joseph Small (13) took silver in the 100m back recording 1:06.38 (rising to 5th in UK) and together with Kareem Eldegwy (12) and Harry Bamforth (13) set many personal bests, proving the whole club had been prepared properly for the championships and on song sharing in the glory of team success. In the BAGcat awards Pardoe took 9th, Small 10th and Bamforth 16th in the 73 strong group.
Eighteen Titans go to National Championships
With eleven Ellesmere College Titans aged 11-14 years and seven aged 15-18 years stepping up the grade still further and training hard for their National Championships at the end of July/August it will be the biggest group yet to make it through the difficult qualifying times from the top age group club in the West Midlands. A jubilant Head Coach, Alan Bircher, stated "This is why I love the sport. It's David and Goliath and the Titans just keep stepping up and knocking down the big clubs! The swimmers now have six weeks to prepare for the nationals or four weeks to prepare for the end of season meet, so we'll continue to work hard and see what the season end holds!"
23rd June 2014 Back to News