Medal delight for Ipswich Lifesaving Club’s Tom and Sam

SUFFOLK senior champions Tom Linford-Wood and Sam Whitmore were the highest-placed Ipswich Life Saving Club pairing at the 2011 Kent Open, which also included teams from Colwick Park, Sheerness, Rochester, Crawley, Thanet, Folkstone and Heanor.

The duo, along with 14 of their team-mates, were competing even before a lesson had been taught in the new term at what is always considered to be a high-quality event.

Linford-Wood and Sam Whitmore achieved an impressive third place in the U18 boys’ pairs where they pitted their wits against Suffolk junior champions, Toby Whitmore, Sam’s brother and Sam Pugh.

“I’m frustrated that things didn’t go as well as we had hoped,” said Linford-Wood, proving the high personal standards set.

Toby added: “It was good to take on Sam, (Whitmore), and I think we did enough to gain their respect.”

In the U18 girls’ pairs event, Megan Pugh and Olivia De’Ath were the top-ranked Ipswich pairing with fifth place overall, closely followed by debutant Veronique Hack, and Georgia Cousins in sixth.

Suffolk junior champions Charlotte Alexander and Sophie Burns took seventh place and the Pickering sisters, Claire and Helen, and debut-making Vicky Garrard and Ellie Emsden took ninth and 10th places respectively.

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“We were so nervous at our first competition, and were glad to get it over with, but looking back it was a good experience and we have both learnt so much,” said Emsden.

For De’Ath who competes at junior level, this proved that the step-up to seniors will be taken in her stride.

David Ebbs and Mark Oxford took fifth and sixth places in the Male Open competition. For Ebbs who usually competes at masters level, this was a return to the ultra competitive 16-plus age group.

“I am disappointed with fifth place, but the next nearest to me in age is over 15 years younger, so I can’t really complain,” said Ebbs.

Oxford added: “It was good to beat David in a couple of events, as we are generally in different categories.”

Team Ipswich coach Nicola Humphreys was full of praise.

“It was evident throughout how tight the club team spirit is, with people cheering on their fellow club members, despite in some cases being in direct competition with one another,” she said.

Anyone interested in taking part in the events or who just wants to learn lifesaving and pass the various awards can join the Ipswich Life Saving Club at Fore Street Pool on Fridays from 7pm. Contact 07981 273232 to find out more.


U18 Girls pairs (overall finishes) Megan Pugh & Olivia De’Ath (5th); Claire & Helen Pickering (9th); Veronique Hack & Georgia Cousins (6th); Vicky Garrard & Ellie Emsden (10th); Charlotte Alexander & Sophie Burns (7th)

U18 Boys pairs (overall finishes) Tom Linford-Wood & Sam Whitmore (3rd), Sam Pugh & Toby Whitmore (7th)

Male Open: David Ebbs (5th); Mark Oxford (6th)

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