Exmouth swimmer Grace Gillingham breaks record that had stood for two decades
PUBLISHED: 10:07 14 October 2019 | UPDATED: 10:07 14 October 2019
It has been a busy six weeks for the swimmers of Exmouth Swimming and Life Saving Society since the return to training after the summer break, writes Marcus Allen.
Members from across all sections of the society have competed in competitions across the region, and deserve recognition for their efforts.
Drawing the Open water season to a close, Mark Ashton and Lily Allen competed in the Devon ASA Open Water Championships, which were held in the sea off Teignmouth beach.
In the male open 3km event, Mark came home with a silver medal, whilst there was a similar result for Lily in the 1.5km junior ladies' vent, this being her first open water race!
The juniors within the competitive and development section of the club, have been very busy, with a number of events being held locally.
Five of the sections younger swimmers attended the annual Newton Abbot Leisure Centre meeting under the watchful eye of coach David Hill.
The squad of William Favereaux, Niamh Browning, Lottie Favereaux, Dominic Melhuish and Anna Monk, delivered the goods - and in a right degree of style - as they secured no fewer than five personal best (PB) times as well as nine new times, for which all five can be very proud of their efforts.
Some of the more experienced swimmers within the junior section have been competing at Level Three Open meets in order to gain times for county competitions early next year.
First up was the Exeter Sprints which was held at the Plymouth Life Centre. The meet was made up of 50m races and a 100m individual medley (IM) event.
There were a number of podium finishes and county qualifying times achieved by Joseph Bollington, Will Senjack, Lily Allen and Bethany Browning.
The club were also well represented at the Tiverton Sparkler Open meet where William Favereaux, Jessie Cooper, George Gillingham, Megan Harris, Grace Gillingham and Lily Allen competing.
This was another level three licensed meet, however, this time with the opportunity to compete over 100 and 200 metres in all for strokes plus the individual medley.
There were some stand out performances with Grace taking four golds and a club record in the 100m freestyle, whilst her brother George can be happy with his three PB's and three medals in the 200m breaststroke, 100m freestyle, and 100 IM. Both William and Jessie came away with a brace of PB's and, in the 100 freestyle they took a massive nine and 10 seconds respectively off their previous times which truly represents a fantastic achievement.
The club also held a team meet at Exmouth Leisure Centre with visiting teams from Dawlish, Torquay and Newton Abbot, competing against the host club.
This was an opportunity for our masters' swimmers, Stuart Baker, Neville King and Alison Browning to join forces with the younger ones.
It turned out to be a fantastic team event, with another notable swim from Grace Gillingham, who broke the club 100m butterfly record for U14 girls' - a record that had stood since 1999!
Some of the masters swimmers will now be focusing on competing at national level with the Master Championships being held at Ponds Forge in Sheffield at the end of October.
The Society's youngest members have also just had their big event of the year, with the Annual Learn to Swim Gala, for those that attend lessons on a Saturday evening. It was a fantastic event with races ranging from 10 metres upwards.
The majority of the youngest swimmers were participating in their first ever gala, and every swimmer taking part received a medal for their fantastic efforts. A big thank you now, to all those that helped out with the gala.
The society continues to accommodate swimmers of all ages and all abilities and if you would like further information on joining, please refer to our website www.exmouthswimming.org.uk