Three talented young members of Bognor Swimming Club have successfully qualified for next year’s Sussex county championships.
The event will be held in March following two gruelling days of competition at Brighton’s swimming pool in the open meet.
They will now compete on behalf of the club against children from across Sussex, with the possibility of representing Sussex against other counties if they do well.
Emily Guiry (12) won the 100m and 200m backstroke events for 12-year-old girls, as well as the 200m medley, where competitors swim 50m each of backstroke, breaststroke, butterfly and front crawl. She also won the 100m butterfly. Unfortunately, her butterfly time was just short of the time required to compete in the upcoming championships.
Romney Pluthero (ten) swam brilliantly in the 200m individual medley, finishing less than half a second behind winner Lily McArdle from Worthing.
She secured a place in next year’s finals nonetheless - and finished a credible third in the 100m individual medley.
Perhaps the most impressive results were achieved by the team’s youngest competitor and debutant at the qualifiers, Archie Stowger (nine) - pictured at the top of the article.
If the qualifying meet had occurred four days earlier, he would not have been allowed to enter.
Despite being the youngest competitor at the event, Archie qualified for five races at next year’s championships. He comfortably won the 50m backstroke for nine-year-olds and came a close second in a further three races.
Archie’s father Trevor Strowger was incredibly proud of his son’s achievements and said: “In his first open meet he surpassed expectations and we couldn’t be more proud of him!”
While not qualifying for the championships in March, there was also a win for Samuel Hawkins (11) in the 100m individual medley, alongside top-three finishes for Joshua Hockey (12) in his first meet, Georgia Spink (ten) and Mia Cunningham-Stockdale (12).
The children will now be training up to six times a week, with only a few days off over Christmas, in preparation for the finals. Hopefully their dedication will pay off.