Swimming:Payne strikes gold in city of steel

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The gold medals were won by 11-year-old James Payne in the 200m IM in a time of 2 min 43 sec, which broke the club record, and the 100m freestyle.

He also won the silver in the 100m fly and the bronze in the 200m breast-stroke, and broke another Tigers record in the 200m free.James, just two weeks off his 12th birthday, took his chances and finished second overall in his age-group.He also swam personal best times which put him closer to the elusive national qualifying times.The other bronze medal was won by Victoria Rebours in the 200m breast-stroke.For many of the younger swimmers it was a new experience, with some of Britain’s leading clubs, with large squads of swimmers, taking part.In the 10-11-years girls Kerrie Smith, Abigail Lucas and Pippa Whitehead gave good accounts of themselves.Kerrie’s 200 IM (2.58.65) and 200 backstroke (2.59.37) were both new club records, as were her 100m back (1.23.82) and 200m free (2.37.10), and showed excellent pace awareness while Pippa’s free and Abigail’s breast-stroke were among their best performances.In the 13-years section Jill van der Vliet and Rebecca Larkin used the races to strengthen their claims for a trip to the County Championships in March and Sam Fernandes and Michael Le Couilliard (12) produced excellent 200m performances, Sam’s 2.21 for the 200m free, and Michael’s 200m breast-stroke and fly especially impressed.Ian Black was up against many of Britain’s best in the 14/15 year age group.

With 1.10 and 2.36 in the 100 and 200 fly respectively, plus a strong medley and competent breast-stroke, he continues to make good progress.Victoria Rebours and Sarah Jane Smith were in fine form, reaching the 100m breast-stroke final (both in a time of 1.22), with Victoria winning bronze in the 200m breast-stroke.

Her fly continues to improve (1.13 and 2.35) and Sarah Jane’s all round performances are getting stronger.Amy Pallot made the finals of the 100m fly and, with Ashley Cope, produced consistent performances.This group now focus on March competitions, with Ian Black travelling for the Scottish Age Groups while the others go to the Hampshire County weekend.All three seniors in the party made the finals – Lauren Le Mière in the 100m breast-stroke, Rosie Barrett in the 100m back and 200m IM and Damien Boucheré in the 100m breast-stroke and 200m IM – and although not as quick as they had been in Amiens last month they were consistent and coped well with the programme.Lauren’s 29.6 in the 50 free plus confident performances are an excellent platform from which to build while the vastly-experienced Rosie and Damien took the meet in their stride; Rosie’s 31 sec 50 fly, 2.16 200m free and 2.30 200 IM were particularly encouraging.Tigers’ coach Paul du Feu said he felt the meet provided the the right level of competition for the group, after an excellent Christmas training programme.

Tigers squads have the CI Championships at the end of January with most of them training through them prior to the March event.

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