TORNADOES of South Dorset took seven swimmers to the ASA South West Regional Youth Championships in Plymouth for three days of fast competition.
This year, saw three new youth championship qualifiers, Ciaran Richards, Samantha Dunning and Lily Young, as well as previous qualifiers Hope Stanger, Ellie Harvey, Jenny Scott and Rebecca Beal.
Richards had qualified for just the one event as he went in the 50m backstroke, but he made an impact straight away by setting a new long- course personal best and making a regional final at his first attempt.
He qualified in 10th place and also finished 10th in the final. The boys’ captain had set the standard for the weekend and now knows what is required of him for next season, a challenge he is keen to take on.
Dunning continued to build on her age group championship success from last year.
In her first year of youth competition, she qualified for four events, the 200m individual medley, 200m backstroke as well as the 100m and 200m butterfly.
She was lucky to be there, as a serious injury at the start of the year had kept her out of the pool for a long time.
However, she produced the goods ,setting a new long-course personal best in the 100m butterfly, finishing 17th.
Dunning also secured a time that gave her a reserve spot in the 15-and-under 200m butterfly final by finishing 12th, something that six weeks ago seemed most unlikely.
Lily Young qualified for the 50m and 100m breaststroke events and she too claimed a new long-course personal best in the 50m to finish 13th.
Stanger qualified for all the backstroke events and her first race was the 50m, where she produced a great swim to record a new long-course personal best, followed by two further good swims in the 100m and 200m events, coming within fractions of her best times to keep herself well inside the top 20.
Harvey also qualified for the 200m individual medley, 200m and 100m butterfly.
She had been fighting an illness for much of the season and decided to withdraw from the 200m butterfly.
A sensible decision in the end to give herself time to recover from the 200m individual medley, she returned and looked more like herself with a much stronger swim in the 100m butterfly where she finished in 19th place.
Jenny Scott had a mixture of events 50m butterfly and 50m backstroke as well as the 50m and 100m freestyle.
She had her eyes on a national time and did not disappoint, hitting the timing pad 0.04 seconds under the required 50m backstroke time to book her place in Sheffield.
She had also finished sixth, giving her a final place, going on to hold that position in the final.
She followed that with another final, this time in the 50m butterfly where sixth place was hers once again.
In the 50m freestyle, Scott was a reserve finalist, and finished in 17th place in the 100m freestyle.
Beal had a tough schedule of five events with the 200m and 400m individual medley, plus 50m, 100m and 200m breaststroke.
The girls’ captain was targeting three breaststroke finals and started the competition well with a new long- course personal best in the 200m individual medley, finishing 19th.
She then competed in the 200m breaststroke where she produced a 3.56 second long-course personal best to qualify in seventh for the final, in which she went on to finish fifth.
As the weekend progressed, she set more personal best times in the 50m and 100m events, where she qualified for the final in ninth place both times and held ninth position in both finals.
Coach Chris Beal was delighted with the performance levels all weekend, he said: “To leave Plymouth with a national qualifying time, two club records, six regional finals and two reserves was truly outstanding.
“The swimmers are really training hard and getting the rewards they deserve, they have delivered at every meet this season, just getting better each time they compete.”
He also praised the rest of the Tornadoes’ coaching staff as without them these great results would not be possible.