Titans 2016 – Another outstanding year!
Ellesmere College prides itself in enabling and supporting its students to find, develop and excel in their various talents. If those talents include swimming, then Ellesmere College Titans is fast becoming the country’s top destination to passionately pursue those interests with no impact to their academic potential.
The Titans philosophy is simple, to enable each of its swimmers to become the best that they can be and to excel at the highest level possible. Within Titans, the coaches know every swimmer individually and care passionately about their success.
The application of this philosophy has driven the Titans to their most successful year to-date. This success is not only relative to its past successes, but also in absolute terms on the County, Regional, National and International Stages.
Two Titans win European Junior titles for Great Britain
Following their excellent performances at the British Swimming Championships in Glasgow, Freya Anderson and Tazmin Pugh were selected to represent Great Britain in the European Championships in Hodmezovasarhely in Hungary in early July.
Freya Anderson decisively announced her arrival on the opening day of the competition by shattering the 100m Free GB Age Group Record (GBAGR) (15YO) in a scintillating time of 54.99 to break the longest running GBAGR, which was last set back in 2006. She then followed this up in the final to win gold with an even faster time of 54.72.
Freya made it a full set of medals from the team relays – Silver in the 4x100m Free, Silver in the 4x200m Free and Bronze in the 4x100m IM. Tazmin shared in the spoils with Freya by playing a sterling part in the 4x200m Free to add Silver to her own collection.
Representing Great Britain in Open Water at World Junior Championships
After a terrific showing by Titan swimmers in June’s Great East Open Water Swim, which was held at Alton Water reservoir in Suffolk, Hector Pardoe (5km 14-15 age group), Phoebe Griffiths (7.5km 16-17 age group) and Gordon Mason (7.5km 16-17 age group) were selected for the 2016 FINA World Junior open Water Championships.
This year’s World Championships were held at Hoorn in the Netherlands, which was a terrific experience for all involved and saw Hector Pardoe win bronze in his event.
Gordon and Phoebe both performed well in their individual events, but Phoebe swam brilliantly to pick up a 5km Relay Bronze medal alongside Hector to ensure that she also brought home a medal.
Gordon swam valiantly in the U19 relay team, which was narrowly beaten into 4th place.
Titans again dominate the Shropshire County Championships
Two successive weekends of intense competition in late February saw the Titans achieve a record points total of 848 points to retain their Top Team status in the County. This is the 3rd year in succession that the Titans have triumphed in the County Points Table!
|1||Ellesmere College Titans||848|
In doing so, Titan swimmers set a staggering 52 new County Records as they put their finely honed skills and rigorous training to the test.
Individual rankings are a great reflection of the all round talents of each competitor, with points awarded to the top eight swimmers in each discipline. It must therefore be daunting to compete against a Titans team who excel in almost every discipline that they compete in.
This year, Titans took 75% of the top three places available for each age group and also took first place in 11 out of 12 age group categories! Particular congratulations to the three highest points scores at this championships:
- Phoebe Townsend – 134 points;
- Anna Smail – 131 points; and
- Charlie Hutchinson – 128 points.
This is a great reflection of each Titan’s dedication and discipline to their sport, and it is also is a real measure of the expertise and skills of the Titans coaching team. All of the Titans competing in this year’s championships performed well, with the following swimmers taking the top place for their respective age group categories.
|Age||Top Girls||Top Boys|
|10-11||Asha Turner-Tarr||Archie Neaves|
|13||Phoebe Townsend||Ben Holland|
|14||Anna Smail||Charlie Hutchinson|
|15||Ellie Southward||Adam Metcalfe|
|16+||Chloe Golding||Jacob Jackson|
Midland District – Six of the Best!
At this year’s Midland District Championships, six Titan relay teams took on the region’s finest teams in the following events: Men’s 4×100 Medley, Freestyle and 200m Freestyle relays and also the Women’s 4×100 Medley, Freestyle and 200m Freestyle relays.
As the tension mounted, one team after another took gold before Ellinor Southward, Phoebe Griffiths, Anna Smail and Tazmin Pugh finally took to the blocks in the last team event to make it six golds out of six team events for the Titans. The collective noun for a team of Titans must surely be ‘an awesome’.
With most of the other Titan swimmers focused on representative, national or international events, one lone swimmer took to the lanes to fly the Titan flag in the individual events, Hector Pardoe. Unphased, Hector won a fantastic 2 golds and 3 silvers.
Titans excel at the British Swimming Championships
Early April saw selected Titans compete at the British Swimming Championships at Tollcross in Glasgow. With Olympic selection in the background, competition was fierce and not for the faint hearted.
Twelve Titans were invited to compete at this year’s championships:
|Freya Anderson||Cassie Wild|
|Tazmin Pugh||Ellinor Southward|
|Chloe Golding||Gordon Mason|
|Phoebe Griffiths||Hayden Griffiths|
|Laura Harrison||Joseph Small|
|Anna Smail||Jacob Jackson|
Of these fantastic swimmers the following won medals:
- Freya Anderson (Gold 50m Junior Free), (Gold 100m Junior Free), (Bronze, 200m Junior IM), (Silver 100m Junior Breast), (Silver 200m Junior Breast),
- Tazmin Pugh (Gold, 200m Junior Back), (Silver, 100m Junior Back), (Silver, 200m Junior Free), (Bronze, 100m Target Tokyo Free), (Silver, 200m Target Tokyo Fly),
- Chris Walker-Hebborn (Gold, Open 100m Back)
- Cassie Wild (Silver, 100m Junior Back)
- Jacob Jackson (Bronze, 200m Target Tokyo Fly)
And the following swimmers made finals: Chloe Golding, Jacob Jackson and Ellinor Southward.
Titans ‘punch above their weight’ at the British Summer Championships
This year’s British Summer Championships were held at the Ponds Forge aquatics center in Sheffield and provided another significant medal haul for the Titans who topped the overall medal table with 21 Gold, 12 Silver and 10 Bronze medals. This was a remarkable performance given the relative size of the other elite clubs competing at this event.
The following Titans qualified to compete at this years championships: Freya Anderson, Harry Bamforth, Olivia Gardiner, Chloe Golding, Hayden Griffiths, Phoebe Griffiths, Jacob Jackson, Laura Harrison, Charlie Hutchinson, Leighton Mayers, Adam Metcalfe, Pia Murray, Hector Pardoe, Tazmin Pugh, Harriet Rothwell, Dante Des Rosier, Anna Smail, Joseph Small, Ellinor Southward, Nathan Wells, Cassie Wild, Shannon Dalligan, Gordon Mason.
The Women led the charge, topping out their sub-table with 15 Gold, 8 Silver and 4 Bronze Medals. The Men played their part by coming fourth in their table with 6 Gold, 4 Silver and 6 Bronze medals.
Pia Murray distinguished herself by storming to victory in her 50m Fly to set a new GB Age Group Record (14YO) of 27.80.
The Titans coaching alchemists use science, talent and coaching skill to turn potential into Gold
Sustained excellence in any sport means constantly striving to move forward. Ellesmere College Titans are entering an exciting new phase of development with the appointment of two new coaches to complement their award winning Head Coach, Alan Bircher.
Alan has this year recruited two of the country’s leading coaching talents to ensure that every Titan is coached in the Titan way from Age Development, through Age Performance to National Performance. Marc Foster has joined Titans to lead Age Performance and Danny Proffitt has joined to inspire Age Development. The addition of Marc and Danny is a perfect complement the other members of the Titans team and ensure an integrated pathway from Learn to Swim to Olympic Podium.
In addition to building a coaching team that will be the envy of every club in the country, Alan has complemented this with new training equipment for the teams and an extra training pool. Additionally Alan has implemented the latest thinking in the world of performance swimming to assist with Titan sprint preparations.
This means that not only are Titans coached really well, but that they are able to minimise disruption to their sleeping patterns and studying patterns. Early morning swimming for Titans begins at 06:00 am and ends at 19:45 pm – times that most other swimmers would consider a lie in and an early night.
Alan Bircher inspires the Titans, strikes fear into competitors and earns the respect of colleagues in equal measure
The phrase of ‘punching above your weight’ is very applicable to the Titans, which is a small but elite squad of talented and committed athletes. Titans are recognised everywhere they swim because of their technical skills, high levels of performance and great attitude.
Success is never an accident and Titans owe a huge debt of gratitude to the vision and leadership of their Head Coach Alan Bircher. Alan’s focus on his Titans doesn’t stop him from also making a huge contribution to swimming in Ellesmere, Shropshire, he West Midlands and also within the Great Britain set up.
None of this has gone unnoticed and at the 2016 British Swimming Coaches Association (BSCA) conference and awards event in Leeds this year, Alan’s success, results and contribution was recognised by being awarded Youth Coach of the Year.
In making their award, the BSCA highlighted the number of swimmers who claimed national and international titles on the junior stage. This included two Junior European Champions in Tamzin Pugh in the 200m Backstroke and Freya Anderson who took gold in the 100m Freestyle.
Congratulations to a great coach and the chief alchemist of the Titans!
New kids on the block
Nothing stands still and the 2016/17 season sees a number of talented newcomers join the Titans squad. They are all very welcome and we look forward to helping them to unleash their potential and to develop a Titan approach to their training, studies and lifestyle!