Ellesmere Titans Top Club at British Summer Championships
Twenty two of Ellesmere College Titans were in Premier action at the British Summer Championships (BSC) where the top 24 ranked swimmers in each of the 17 events across the 13/14; 15; 16; 17/18; 19+ age groups had been invited following their superb qualifying times in the designated eight week window British Swimming had invoked. Ellesmere were joined by over 600 elite swimmers from over 100 clubs
By the end of the six day BSC praise was pouring in for the club’s swimmers and their head coach Alan Bircher for what he had done in the club in the last four years since taking on his present role on. Even before the champs had begun there had been multiple wins and podium finishes at the European Junior Championships in Hungary from Freya Anderson and Tazmin Pugh and also from Titans representatives at the World Junior Open Water Championships in Hoorn in the Netherlands where Hector Pardoe, Phoebe Griffiths and Gordon Mason won medals. Laura Harrison had won Gold at the Scottish Nationals in the 17-18 200m breaststroke.
The day before the BS Champs Ellie Bainbridge (age 13 in the 1.5km) had won her age group in the ASA Open Water Championships at ‘Rother Water’ together with Silver for Dante Des Rosier (15 in the 1.5km), 4th for Shannon Dalligan (15 in the 3km); Gold for Phoebe Griffiths (16 in the 3km), Bronze for Gordon Mason (18 in the 5km).
First Day celebrates Titans making it through to 11 finals, 6 medals, 3 Golds
On the first day the Titans had sixteen swimmers in action in the heats with eleven making the finals. 14 yr old Charlie Hutchison (age14) finished 2nd in the 400m freestyle with a pb of 4:10.37, whilst Hector Pardoe (age 15)fresh from standing on the podium at the World Open Water Champs also made the finals in the same event.
In the women’s 200m free Anna Smail (14) made the finals with a Bronze won whilst in the year above Freya Anderson (15) was utterly dominant winning her first Gold with 2:00.54. In the Women’s 400m Individual Medley (IM) Tazmin Pugh (16) excited the 1200 spectators by just piping local Sheffield swimmer to win her first Gold of the Champs with 4:51.98 whilst club mate Chloe Golding (17) also made her finals finishing 9th.
For the Men’s 50m backstroke Leighton Mayers (15) won Gold with 27.06 followed by a 7th place for Joseph Small (16) in the next age group up setting a new West Midlands Record with 27.01 (heat time) and a 4th place for Jacob Jackson in the 17/18 group.
In the 50m breaststroke Freya Anderson took her second medal of the evening finals winning Silver in a new West Midlands Junior and Senior Record with 31.90.
Second Day = 16 swimmers in 7 events, 14 finals, 13 medals, 5 Gold. The second day began full of Titan’s promise with the 16 year pairing of Cassie Wild and Tazmin Pugh making their way through the heats to the 100m backstroke finals taking Silver and Bronze respectively whilst Chloe Golding took her first British title winning the 17/18 age with a time of 1:01.54. These three medals in the first event started a British Champs medal haul unsurpassed in Ellesmere’s short history.
In the men’s 200m fly Charlie Hutchison won his first medal of the evening with Gold of the championships in a superb pb of 2:05.22 with his second medal coming in the 100 back taking Bronze, whilst back to the 200m fly Jacob Jackson took Bronze for the 17/18 yr olds.
In the women’s 200m breast Feya Anderson (15) again won by a distance with a new West Midlands record with 2:31.46, whilst in the men’s 50m breast Adam Metcalf (15) had all the Titans cheering as he won Silver in a new pb with 30.67.
Phoebe Griffiths (16), also fresh from winning team relay silver at the World Junior Open Water Champs, took Silver in the 800m free with a life time best of 9:01.94. Pia Murray (14) was in action for the first time in this year’s championships and set a new British 14 age record in the 50m fly with 27.80, whilst Taz Pugh won her second medal of the evening with Silver for the 16 yr group with 27.64 a little shy of her own British Junior Record set last year.
In the men’s 100m backstroke Leighton Mayers won his second Gold of the Championships with 58.35 with Joseph Small taking Bronze in 58.37 with a new West Midlands Record.
Third Day = 12 Titans swimmers, 11 finals, 5 medals, 4 Golds.
On the third day found Pia Murray again in action setting a new pb of 2:22.56 in the 200m fly finishing 7th in her 14 yr finals, whilst Tazmin Pugh took the 16 yr age title in 2:14.71.
Adam Metcalf once again impressed whilst progressing through to the finals of the 100m free where another 1 second pb found him climbing onto the Silver podium position recording a time of 53.63.
In the women’s 50m freestyle finals Freya Anderson took Gold setting a new West Midlands Junior and Senior Record amazing spectators by swimming away from the field with 25.64.
If Freya had stunned the spectators there are few words to describe Charlie Hutchison’s performance in the 400m IM being sheer brilliance from start to finish finishing on 4:31.15 a full 10 second improvement over his entry time and unsurprisingly a new West Midlands Record. Hayden Griffiths made the 19+ finals finishing 9th.
Five Titans had entered the long distance 1500m for men (30 lengths) being Dante Des Rosier (14); Hector Pardoe (15); Harry Bamforth (16); Gordon Mason (17) and Nathan Wells and although set good times there were no podium finishes.
In the final event the quartet of Annis Smail (14) Ellie Southward (15) Phoebe Gtriffiths (16) and Freya Anderson (15) had made their way through to the final of the women’s 14-16 years 4 x 200m freestyle team relay in first place with 8:24.03. In the finals Tazmin Pugh was brought in to swim the first leg followed by Smail, Griffiths and Anderson improving their earlier time to a new West Midlands record of 8:14.50 to take team gold, Ellesmere first ever at the British Summer Championships.
Day Four = 11 Titans, 5 events, 11 finals, 6 medals, 3 Golds.
The eleven Titans swimming on the fourth day were joined by Phoebe Townsend (14) and Olivia Gardner with first to swim being Charlie Hutchison and although qualifying for the 200m breaststroke finals in 6th place declined his place in favour of concentrating on his 100m fly final. It proved an excellent decision with Hutchison going onto win Gold with 57.35.
In the women’s 200m backstroke eight Titans were involved with Ellie Southward making the finals in the 15 yr group finishing 5th with 2:17.59. In the 16yr Tazmin Pugh took Gold with 2:12.89 with fellow team mate Cassie Wild (16) took Bronze in 2:14.55. In the 17/18 years Chloe Golding took Silver with 2:12.90 and Olivia Gardner unable to replicate her heats personal best of 2:18.99 finishing 9th.
Entering the Championships the Titans 4 x 200m freestyle relay had been seeded 11th from the 30 top teams so qualifying in 8th (8:03.82) and making the finals was special for Adam Metcalf (15); Joseph Small (16); Harry Bamforth (16) and Hector Pardoe (15). To then improve their finals time to 8:00.35 meant they finished even higher in 7th place a superb achievement.
Day Five = 12 Titans, 7 events, 11 finals, 6 medals, 3 Golds.
The penultimate day had twelve Titans competing across seven events with Freya Anderson (15) once again cruising through the heats this time in the 400m freestyle together with Tazmin Pugh and Phoebe Griffiths for the sixteen year group. Anderson went onto take Silver for the 15 age whilst Pugh comfortably went onto take Gold with Griffiths an agonising 4th place in their age. For the younger age Shannanon Dalligan was only 1 sec behind her pb but using that valuable experience for the following week’s ASA English Home Nations Champs (UK ranking 25-49).
In the boy’s 200m IM Charlie Hutchison qualified comfortably for the finals where he went even quicker increasing his lead by nearly 4m each length and with a 15m lead at the finish set another West Mids record with 2:09.10.
Ellie Southward (15) made the final of the women’s 200m IM with Adam Metcalf (15) also making the finals of the Men’s 50m free though both decided to concentrate on their respective team relays coming up at the end of the finals.
In the women’s 50m backstroke six Titans competed led by Pia Murray (age 14 in 31.74) ), Phoebe Townsend (15 in 31.21) both recording pb’s and Townsend making the finals. For the sixteen year olds Cassie Wild and Tazmin Pugh were both in action in the 16 year group with Wild (28.97) securing Silver and Pugh (29.72) Bronze. For the 17/18 Chloe Golding finished 4th in 29.52.
In the men’s 14-16yr 4 x 100m freestyle relay Chris Hooper came up tyo Sheffield especially to help his club mates out, and although they improved their entry time by 5secs and had come in seeded 30th they eventually finished 16th so didn’t progress. Meanwhile the young Titans girls of Phoebe Griffiths, Anna Smail, Ellie Southward and Freya Anderson did indeed progress in their women’s 14-16yr 4 x 100 freestyle going through in 1st place thanks to a spell binding last leg from Anderson. For the finals Tazmin Pugh was brought in to lead out the team in 57.13 and with Southward (2nd leg 58.65), Griffiths (3rd leg 58.37) and Anderson (55.15) took Gold in a time of 3:49.30 yet another West Midland open record.
Day Six = 12 Titans, 7 events, 11 finals, 7 medals, 3 Golds.
On the final day the Titans boys and especially the girls eyes were firmly set on the final relays the question being asked being could the 14-16 girls actually win them all but first of all had to concentrate on their individual races.
After swimming to yet another pb this time in the 200m free Adam Metcalf (15) qualified in 5th for the finals eventually going on to a time of 1:58.15 and improving to 4th.
Fresh from her victory at the Scottish Nationals in the 100m breaststroke recently Laura Harrison (17) could not progress to finals but Freya Anderson certainly could and although within a smidge of her pb had to accept Silver in the final in time of 1:10.55 and even though breaststroke is no longer her first stroke Freya now favouring freestyle she is still showing her natural talent and class in that event.
In the men’s 200m back Charlie Hutchison (14) went on to the finals to win Silver with a superb new West Mids Junior Record in 2:08.69. Leighton Mayers progressed to the finals but 9th position did not match his pb in the heats (2:11.81), the same being true for Joseph Small (16) who progressed to the finals with a time of 2:11.06 but finished 10th with a slightly slower time.
In the women’s 100m fly Anna Smail did not progress to the finals but Pia Murray most certainly did where she swam to a new pb of 1:02.41 winning Gold. Tazmin Pugh in her last individual race also qualified for the final in 3rd place but bettered this by nearly 3 secs to win her 5th individual Gold of the Championships in a time of 1:01.09.
In the men’s 50m fly Charlie Hutchison (26.90) and Adam Metcalf (26.13) made the final both going on to win a Bronze in each of their age groups. In the men’s 14-16yr 4 x 100m Medley the Titans quad of Leighton Mayers (59.01, back); Adam Metcalf (1:08.47, breast); Charlie Hutchison (58.36, fly) and Joseph Small ( (54.12, frontcrawl) improved from the heats (9th place) to a great finish in the finals to 5th place with 3:59.96.
There was some nervous tension for the Titans quartet in the women’s 14-16yr Medley Relay as they had qualified in 2nd place with only 0.2 sec separating the top three teams of Guildford, Ellesmere and City of Leeds. With a fresher Tazmin Pugh again being brought in to the finals to replace the younger Pia Murray who had successfully swum the fly leg of the heats the quartet desperately wanted to make it three Gold out of three for the relay.
Cassie Wild (16yr) led out (1:02.42) and gave them a lead they were desperate to hold, Freya Anderson (15yr) swam the breaststroke leg (1:11.41) and although the gap was reduced to the Gold Medallist in the individual race earlier Pugh took over still with a lead and only lost 0.02 to the swimmer from Leeds who were on their tail.
It was left up to Ellie Southward (frontcrawl) to hang on having to do her second stroke with only a 1.02 sec lead against a swimmer who had taken Bronze in the individual event. Coming into the last 20m City of Leeds had drawn level and it looked a lost cause but with one last effort Southward summoned every last ounce of energy to swim her best ever 100m frontcrawl with 58.41 winning for the Titans by just 0.01 the swimmer from the City of Leeds having herself bettered her own pb by 0.5 secs (57.40).
This all left the Ellesmere College Titan’s club top of the medal table with clear water (from the City of Leeds) with 21 Golds, 12 Silver and 10 Bronze securing their place as the UK’s number one most successful club which they have managed to do in less than ten years (founded in 2008 by their Director of Swimming Mr Jon Pardoe) through the hard work of their swimmers and their dedicated coaching team led by Britain’s number one Head Coach Alan Bircher.