The first of three weekends of action in the long course Yorkshire Champs took place at John Charles over the weekend of 4th and 5th Feb. In action for Tadcaster were Ava Williams, India Bryant-Chesters, Libby Walker, Alex Chesters, Ethan Baylin, Abby Parkinson, Thomas Bleanch, Alex Williams, Ellie Walker and Rachael McHenery.
On the Saturday, Thomas and Alex Williams both bagged PBs in the 100m breaststroke, with Ellie and Rachael also registering long course PBs in the 100m backstroke. Ethan would have joined them in registering a PB but for a wobble on the start block and the resulting post-race DQ. India’s customary enthusiasm got the better of her on her Yorkshire long course debut and she also fell victim to the starter.
Despite such setbacks, spirits were high on the Sunday morning. With India and Abby poolside at the same time, some level of “background noise” was inevitable! One can only imagine how noisy it was in the changing rooms as this pair helped each other into their new, inflexible, “go-faster” leg suits.
India was first into action and put her new leg suit to good use with a 7s PB in the 100 fly, to finish in 11th place. There was understandable disappointment at missing a place in the final, but relief all the same at not having to race the 100 fly again. India was then joined by Ava and Abby for the 100 breaststroke heats and all 3 returned PBs to qualify for their finals.
India’s day was almost spoiled when only 8 girls initially reported for the 100 fly final. As first reserve, it was time to “step up”, however reluctantly. So off she trudged with a lack of enthusiasm unmatched since Marie Antoinette embarked on her fateful last journey, though M-A could be excused as hers was a final trip to the block rather than a trip to the block for the final. The Swimming Gods were benevolent though, as two girls sprinted past at the last minute to claim their places and India was reprieved, which brought forth a celebration more extravagant than anything produced by any of the event winners!
In the breaststroke finals, Ava and India were up first, presenting the pleasing sight of 2 Tad hats in the same county final. Unless the Spice Girls have done a reunion gig at Magnets, this must qualify as the best example of “Girl Power” in Tad for some years! Ava went off hard and was in 3rd place at the turn before fading to 6th on the return leg, with India finishing strongly to claim 4th place.
Abby backed up these performances with a 5th place of her own. Needless to say, all three performances were PBs though the swimmers were more pleased with the pennants they got for being finalists than what was recorded on the clock.
In the afternoon session, Ava, India and Libby all bagged PBs in the 100 free, with Ava and India both progressing to their second final of the day. Libby was just outside the top 20 in a fiercely contested age group whilst Abby just missed a PB and a place in the final, though did have the consolation of swimming down alongside Georgia Coates.
For the 100 free final, Ava and India adopted the same tactics that had worked so well in the breaststroke, with the former in 2nd place at the turn before fading down the home straight and the latter again coming through to claim 4th place with her 5th PB in 5 races.
All in all, not a bad weekend, and hopes are high for more pennants (if not references to Marie Antoinette and the Spice Girls) next weekend in Sheffield.