Bobcat buddies are stars of the Open

TWO members of Burnley Bobcats Swimming Club starred at the recent DSE Disability Open Short Course Championships in Sheffield.

Katie Rilett-Young and Thomas Hamer scooped nine medals between them in a competition that involved some of the top paralympians from across the country – including Olympic champion Ellie Simmonds.

While 15-year-old Katie has competed at this level for a few years now it was Thomas’ first full disability competition having recently been classified as a S14 swimmer.

And he showed he could be a star in the making as he won two gold medals, a silver and a bronze and was just 0.13 seconds outside setting a new British record in the 200m freestyle.

Katie, a pupil at Shuttleworth College, again demonstrated why she is considered one of the best young swimmers around.

She won gold medals in the 50m and 100m freestyle – narrowly missing out on setting new pbs in each – and touched home first in the 100m backstroke, beating her previous best time by seven seconds.

She smashed her own short course pb in the 400m freestyle as she finished second to Simmonds who set a new world record.

Katie, who won 11 medals at the World Dwarf Games earlier in the year, also set a new pb in 100m breaststroke when she finished in fourth place.

And she helped the North West win gold in the 400m individual medley relay where she swam the final 100m freestyle leg in the next lane to Simmonds.

The performance of 15-year-old Thomas was equally as impressive.

The Rawtenstall teenager won gold in the 200m freestyle – knocking 3.5 seconds of his previous best – and also won the 400m freestyle.

Thomas, a pupil at Alder Grange School, set a new pb in winning silver in the 100m freestyle then was a part of the North West team that won bronze in the individual medley relay team.

And after setting new pbs in the 50m freestyle, 200IM, 100m backstroke and 100m breaststroke, his overall performance earned him the best boy swimmer of the championships.

“It was a great weekend for both Katie and Thomas and for Burnley Bobcats,” said Katie’s dad Roger.

“Katie was a bit disappointed that she did not set new pbs in the 50m and 100m freestyle but it just shows how determined she is to succeed.

“For Thomas, it was a fantastic achievement to be named best boy swimmer especially as it was his first full disability event.

“He could be a real star of the future.”

Roger added: “Having two swimmers competing at this level is great for the Bobcats but also great for the Katie and Thomas.

“They both get on really well and now they can support each other as they compete in competitions across the country.”

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