Each day double Commonwealth Champion Sarah Ruckwood (née Price) will pick her top swimmers in each age group from the ASA National Swimming Champs at Ponds Forge in Sheffield.
My picks for the 12/13yrs age group have to be James Cooper of Romford Town and City of Leeds’ Tia Ward. These two young swimmers show incredible promise, both of them bagging five gold medals each over the course of the competition.
Lewis Smart of Littlehampton swam an amazing race to drop six seconds off his lifetime best and take gold in 14yrs 200m Breaststroke, so he is my pick for that age group.
Samuel Phippen of Chalfont showed that he could step up the pace, swimming 1:01.80 in the men’s 15yrs 100m Backstroke, after claiming a silver in the 200m on day two. It’s great to see young swimmers pushing out PBs at competitions like this.
For the 16/17yrs age group, I would say Emily Cutler of Mount Kelly was the most impressive yesterday. She swam 30.16 for her third gold in the backstroke. Her 50m event showed impressive physical strength, it was great to watch.
In the 18yrs age group, I particularly enjoyed watching Matt Edwards of Tavistock win the 1500m Freestyle. This distance event is not just about the physical strength; you have to have a certain strength of character too. In the last 400m he was able to dip into his energy reserves and pick up the pace, winning gold by over five seconds.
Full reports and results from Day Five can be found on the Nationals hub