Ipswich swimmers deliver perfect gift

TEAM Ipswich head coach Dave Champion could barely hide his excitement following the club's best-ever finish of third in the National Speedo League Cup final.

Stuart Watson

TEAM Ipswich head coach Dave Champion could barely hide his excitement following the club's best-ever finish of third in the National Speedo League Cup final.

Champion, who has also recently been named as head coach for Great Britain's European and World Junior Championship campaigns later this year, said: “This truly was a whole team performance. Every swimmer played a huge role for us today with the only goal being a great team result and that's what we got.

“Not only did we finish third for our best finish ever but we were third in the relay challenge which proves that we are one of the best teams in the country.”

Champion, whose birthday happened to be on the same day of the competition, added: “We have some great stars in the making here and who knows what the future holds.

“We have great coaches and some awesome swimmers and you just can't buy that combination of talent. I'm already looking forward to a great Nationals in the summer.”

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Held at Sheffield's Ponds Forge, the 39th National Speedo League Cup final saw the top 10 clubs in the country take part following the entry of over 300 clubs in the first rounds.

Ipswich, whose best ever finish was previously sixth, were always going to be up against it, with several teams fielding members of the Beijing Olympic team and the European Junior Championships.

Despite this, things got off to the best possible start when the Suffolk club's boys 9/11 years freestyle team of Charlie Smith, Joshua Coleby, Robert Aland and Jake Tyson secured a huge win.

Following them, the girls 13/under medley team of Rose Cross, Heather Rodwell, Ellen Oxbrow and Jasmine Cross stormed into third place to add to the points tally.

The boys' 13/under medley team of Elliot Cook, Aaron Lynch, Jack Hollis and George Bartle soon secured second spot, while the girls' 15/under freestyle team of April Hyam, Coral Young, Charlotte Taylor and Rachel Andvig finished in fifth place. This latter result was then mirrored by the ladies open medley team of Rebecca Reader, Amy Swallow, Jennifer Redmond and Zoe Cray.

With the first set of relays finished, the racing turned to individual performances with the majority of teams all within 10 points of each other.

A great set of performances from Ipswich followed, with Gemma Bartle finishing in second place in the 10/11 yrs 50m backstroke (34.25), while Joshua Coleby had the poolside buzzing with a great win in the boys' 10/11 yrs 50m backstroke (33.59).

Heather Rodwell was a fifth place finisher in the 13/under 100m breaststroke (1.18.36), while Aaron Lynch stormed to an emphatic win in the boys' 13/under 100m breaststroke (1.11.30).

Charlie Smith was another second place finisher in the boys' 10/11yrs 50m butterfly (33.28), while Rose Cross finished in fourth spot in the 13/under 100m backstroke (1.12.05).

The boys' 13/under 100m backstroke saw a fourth place finish for Elliot Cook (1.07.73), while team mate Lewis Coleman secured yet another fourth place for Ipswich in the boys' 15/under 100m butterfly (1.00.57).

Rebecca Reader then swam an outstanding 100m backstroke to secure second place in the ladies open event to add valuable points to a very close scoreboard. Jack Hollis swam a storming 13/under 100m butterfly to secure third place in 1.03.15, while Aaron Lynch added another impressive performance to his resume with a fourth place finish in the boys' 15/under 100m freestyle (55.51).

Amy Swallow also added a fourth spot to the team's points in the open 100m breaststroke (1.17.88), while Gemma Bartle swam another blistering race in the 10/11 yrs 50m freestyle to finish in third (30.16).

Joshua Coleby did the double when winning the boys' 10/11 yrs 50m freestyle (29.17), while Jasmine Cross had to settle for a third spot in the 13/under 100m freestyle (1.01.86).

Aaron Lynch was in action again in the boys' 13/under 100m freestyle with a second place finish (55.74), while Lewis Coleman swept into first place with a 1.10.29 performance in the 15/under 100m breaststroke.

Zoe Cray battled to fourth place in the open ladies 100m freestyle against swimming superstar Francesca Halsall to finish with a time of 58.49.

The boys' 11/under medley team of Philip Dowding-Young, Jake Tyson, Charlie Smith and Joshua Coleby came from behind to snatch second place, while the girls' 13/under freestyle team of Jasmine Cross, Rose Cross, Sophie Demetriades and Heather Rodwell had a third place finish to add valuable points to the pot.

The boys' 13/under freestyle team of Elliot Cook, Oliver Bott, Aaron Lynch and Jack Hollis finished in third place, while the girls' 15/under medley team of Charlotte Taylor, Rachel Andvig, Jennifer Redmond and April Hyam finished in fourth.

The boys' 15/under medley team of Brendon Marsh, Lewis Coleman, Jack Hollis and George Bartle had to settle for fifth place, while the ladies open freestyle team of Rebecca Reader, Stephanie Calver, Alex Seal, Rachel Andvig, Jasmine Cross and Zoe Cray earned valuable points with a great third place finish.

What had always looked set to be a close gala certainly lived up to its billing, with just 12 points separating third place Ipswich and sixth place Hatfield.

Final table: Plymouth Leander 399, Millfield School 364, Teamipswich Swimming 284, Guildford City 281, City of Liverpool 274, Hatfield 272, Stockport Metro 258, Camden Swiss Cottage 250, Lincoln Vulcans 184 and City of Coventry 182.

This competition also marked the sponsorship of Team Ipswich Swimming by Brian Griffiths of Westbank Timber who have provided a valuable contribution towards the club's increasing costs.

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