TORNADOES of South Dorset finished top as they began their 2014 Dorset Novice League campaign with a trip to Bridport Leisure Centre in the first of three galas.

The Novice League is a chance for up-and-coming swimmers to show their ability with each race having a cut off time, with any swimmer having a personal best time faster than the cut off unable to compete in that event.

Should any of the competing swimmers go faster than the cut-off time then they receive a speeding ticket.

With the team captains, Emma Perkins and Sam Allen, swimming in the first two races and gaining a speeding ticket and a third place respectively, Torna-does were off to a great start and that continued throughout the whole gala.

Jessica Gale had a great night with two speeding tickets and also a first place when she was joined by Abigail Barnes, Billy Hope and James Faley in the 11-and-under freestyle relay. Faley then went on to seal another first place in the individual 11-and-under 50m freestyle.

Barnes wasn’t to be outdone and also picked up a first place in the 12-and-under 50m freestyle.

Individual first places followed for Max Richardson in the 10-and-under 25m butterfly and Bethany Firth in the 11-and-under 50m butterfly.

When they teamed up with Jacob Baldwin and Molly Frampton in the 10-and-under medley relay, the result was another victory for the superb Tornadoes. Baldwin and Frampton showed their talent once more by getting speeding tickets in their individual races, 50m freestyle for the former and 50m backstroke for Frampton.

In the final individual race of the night, nine-year-old Aaron Griffin gave a fantastic swim in the 10-and-under 50m breaststroke, winning the race convincingly with a 2.5 second gap over second place.

Out of the 44 races, the Tornadoes gained 32 top-three finishes and nine speeding tickets to finish the gala in top spot.

The young swimmers amassed 50 personal best times between them on a hugely successful night.

Coach Bill Babb was delighted with his team’s performance and said: “The lead coaches’ schedules have been followed quite closely since September, which is starting to notice with the number of pbs and good finishes attained by the junior and development squads.”