TORNADOES of South Dorset swimmers scooped 15 medals – seven of them gold – at the Dorset County Championships held in Weymouth and Bournemouth over three weekends.

As well as the haul of gold, members won four silver and four bronze medals, achieved 109 personal bests, swam 16 times that will see them considered for the upcoming regional championships, and earned four top-eight places in the British Age Group Categories (BAGCATS).

Thirty-three Tornadoes swimmers competed in a total of 174 events and girls’ captain Rebecca Beal led the way by winning all of the breaststroke events (50m, 100m and 200m) in regional consideration times (RCT) in the 17 years category.

She also won a silver medal in the gruelling 400m individual medley and had a fifth RCT in finishing fourth in the 200m individual medley.

In the 15 years section, Lily Young won the 50m breaststroke and came fourth in the 100m, both in RCT.

Jennifer Scott triumphed in the 17 years 50m freestyle and 50m butterfly, and also picked up silvers in the 50m and 100m freestyle, all four in RCT.

Joining Beal, Young and Scott at Plymouth in May for the Regional Championships will be Eleanor Harvey and Hope Stanger. Harvey got the times needed in the 100m and 200m butterfly, and 200m individual medley, with gold and silver medals in the first two events.

Stanger will be swimming in the 50m and 100m backstroke in Plymouth after winning bronze in the latter and coming fourth in the former.

Completing the medal haul for the Osprey Leisure Centre-based club were up and coming boys in the 9 years age group.

Both Aaron Griffin and Charlie Rowe were competing in their first county championships, with Griffin winning silver in the 200m breaststroke and Rowe bronze in the 200m backstroke.

These results helped them in the BAGCATS (a system of awarding points for times in four different events covering all strokes and multiple distances).

There was a fourth place ribbon for Rowe and sixth place ribbon for Griffin, while Luke O’Dowd collected the eighth place ribbon.

In the girls’ BAGCATS, the top Tornado was Abigail Barnes in the 10 year olds group. She came fourth and collected her ribbon at the end of the championships.

There were also some great performances from swimmers who have been training with the Tornadoes as guests.

The swimmers wanted to increase the number of hours they train and the Tornadoes have been able to assist while the individuals compete for their home club.

As this has proved a success, it is something which is set to continue and is open to any swimmers who wish to access more pool time.

Commenting on some great swims over three hectic weekends, lead coach Chris Beal said: “It was most encouraging to see all the swimmers using the skills worked on in training to good effect.

“The senior swimmers showed good performance levels to win many medals and gain regional times, setting the standard for the juniors to aspire to.”

Anyone wishing to join Tornadoes of South Dorset Swimming Club, either to learn to swim, swim competitively or access extra training, should contact the club secretary at tornadoessecretary to arrange an assessment.