Bognor swimmers prove medal marvels at memorial meet

Mia Stockdale-Cunningham in action for Bognor at the Arun meeting
Mia Stockdale-Cunningham in action for Bognor at the Arun meeting

MORE than 250 swimmers swam in Bognor Swimming Club’s annual Vanessa Knight memorial open meet at Arun Leisure Centre.

The children completed more than 1,100 races and an amazing number of personal bests were achieved.

While Bognor had a small squad of swimmers - 14 across the ten age groups - they finished fifth out of 21 teams.

There was a superb result for Daisy Donoghue, ten, in the first event. She started competing only this year but knocked nearly 20 seconds off her personal best, receiving a gold medal in the B class in the 50m backstroke.

She reduced her personal best by an incredible 26 seconds in the 100m medley (25m of each stroke), by 20 seconds in the 50m breaststroke, and by 13 seconds in the 50m freestyle.

Alys Turner, ten, knocked nearly two seconds off her best to finish less than half a second behind Donoghue in the 50m backstroke, receiving silver.

Her sister Anna, 15, bagged three firsts in butterfly, backstroke (both A class) and the individual medley (B class). She picked up silver in the freestyle. Bognor’s most successful swimmer with five medals, she also gained third in the 50m breaststroke race (C class).

Georgia Spink, 11, continued her sparkling form in the breaststroke, racing to gold in the B class. There was a second gold in the individual medley and fourth in the 50m backstroke (both B class).

Her sister, Olivia, nine, was second in the breaststroke A class final, improving her PB in the backstroke by more than 2.5 seconds.

Also performing incredibly well were Archie and Callum Strowger.

Callum gained three podium finishes: a first in the individual medley and bronzes in the butterfly and back. These were all in the C class finals for boys aged 13. He also smashed eight seconds off his PB in the breaststroke final and two seconds from his freestyle time.

Archie, nine, gained a first, two seconds and a third. He also shaved 6.5 seconds from his breaststroke time. His first place in the individual medley was in a PB time.

Tyler Van-Zijl, 15, removed five seconds from his previous best in the 50m freestyle. Maddy Brown, 12, relatively new to competitive swimming, achieved three personal bests, including taking more than 20 seconds off her backstroke time.

Jessie Moon, 15, was unlucky not to get a PB in the 50m freestyle.

Nathan Cowell and Josh Stevenson set out to try to beat their PBs. Josh, 11, earned bronze in the C class breaststroke final, he also smashed 16 seconds off his PB in the individual medley. Nathan, also 11, reduced his best in the individual medley by 16.5 seconds, gaining silver in the B class final.

Earlier he had taken second place in the 50m breaststroke and third in the backstroke (both B class). He managed a bronze in the C class final for the 50m freestyle despite a goggle malfunction.

In the 12-year-old girls’ group, Emily Guiry shaved 30 seconds off her PBs in individual medley and backstroke, taking gold in both. This was combined with a first in the freestyle and a silver in the butterfly.

Despite reducing her PB in the 50m breaststroke by just under one second, she was pipped to third in a tightly-contested final.

Mia Stockdale-Cunningham competing in the 13-year-old girls’ category, gaining first places in the C class individual medley and the butterfly finals.

These were complemented with a bronze finish in the C class 50m backstroke and fourth in the breaststroke final.

Sam Hawkins, 12, competed admirably in the breaststroke final but it was in the backstroke that he excelled, blowing the field away with a competent swim. He took first place in a very competitive field.

Bognor coach Sue Eason said: “ What a result! Fifth place with only 14 swimmers is amazing. Considering some teams had more under-12 girl swimmers competing than we had competitors in our entire team, they did fantastically well.

“It was great to see so many children competing in their first open meet. For Daisy to win a medal and Maddy to reduce her personal bests, is an incredible achievement. Hopefully, they will act as good examples to our new swimmers, who will also strive to compete in similar competitions.”