TALENTED young swimmer Niamh Robinson has set her sights on competing in the Commonwealth Games for the Isle of Man – and she is going about it the right way.
The 14-year-old from Accrington stormed to success at the recent AXA Isle of Man Swimming Championships winning 13 gold medals, two silvers, setting four new Championship records and, most importantly, achieving two Commonwealth Games Consideration Times (CGCTs).
Niamh, who is eligible to compete for the Isle of Man because her mother Suzanne was born there, now has an anxious wait to see if she is selected for the Commonwealth Games which will be held in Glasgow in July.
The Isle of Man Commonwealth Games Committee will make their decision at a selection meeting to be held in April – but Niamh has done her chances no harm at all.
The teenager competed in the Isle of Man Swimming Championships for her second claim club, Southern ASC.
Having already successfully achieved one CGCT at the Greater Manchester Autumn Meet in the 200m Individual Medley (2min 22.4secs) and then going on to improve it further at Pioneer 79 Swimming Club’s Annual Swimming Championships (2mins 20.6secs) the chance to achieve further Consideration Times was a possibility.
Niamh competed in seven individual and four team events over the course of the weekend. In each of the individual events, she qualified fastest for the final.
As part of the mixed 4x50m medley relay, Niamh swam the breaststroke leg with a split of 32.48 as her team finished in gold medal position, with a new Championship and junior Island record of 1min 59.95secs.
In the 50m backstroke, Niamh bettered her time in the heats to win her first individual gold in a time of 30.36secs, missing the CGCT by just 0.5 seconds (29.83). Niamh’s time placed her fourth fastest in her age group within the UK.
After swimming a pb in the heats of the 100m breaststroke, and missing the CGCT by just 1 second, Niamh, along with the Southern ASC coach made the decision to withdraw her from the final of the 200m Freestyle event to concentrate on the 100 breaststroke final.
And it was a gamble worth taking as she stormed to victory, destroying the field and finishing no less than 8.5 seconds ahead of her nearest rival in a phenomenal new personal best time, new championship record and CGCT of 1min 11.13secs.
It was the second fastest in the UK in her age group and just 1/100th behind Emma Cain – the 2013 National Champion in Niamh’s age group.
She finished the first day on a high, winning the 100m IM in another Championship record of 1min 04.81secs, making her the fastest 14 year old girl in this event within the UK.
Niamh was equally as impressive on day two, swimming three individual events along with three team events.
The first was the mixed 4x50m freestyle relay where, swimming the second leg of the relay in a split of 27.47, her team (Southern ‘B’) which consisted of all 4 swimmers under the age of 16, finished in 2nd place in a time of 1.48.84, however, in the process due to the age of the swimmers, they produced a new Junior Island Record.
Niamh qualified fastest for each of her individual events. The first final of the day was the 50m breaststroke and again she was in unbeatable form, producing her third CGCT of the event in 33.04secs which placed her first fastest within the UK in her age group The 100m butterfly was next up and Niamh’s determination paid off finishing in yet another PB and new Championship Record of 1min 03.68secs.
Her final individual event of the Championships was the 200m backstroke. Her final swim was simply breathtaking, finishing in yet another PB of 2mins18.87secs – finishing some 20m ahead of the field. Niamh also competed in the team events – girls 4x50m freestyle relay, swimming first leg in a time of 28.14, her team finished second overall in a time of 1.56.59.
In the mixed canon 8x50m freestyle relay, Niamh swam the fifth leg and their team finished first overall.
During the course of the weekend, Niamh’s determination paid off by achieving 13 Gold and two Silver Medals, nine new PB’s, four new Championship Records, seven Lancashire County Qualifying Times, seven North West Regional Age Group Qualifying Times, 3 National Age Group Qualifying Times and two Commonwealth Games Consideration Times, as well as being part of two team events where they gained new junior Island record times.
Niamh would like to thank TP Properties and the WM & BW Lloyd Charity for their continued support with her swimming, without their assistance these results would be extremely difficult for her to achieve due to the entry, travel and accommodation costs at these competitions.
Niamh’s next event will be in Sheffield at the end of January where she will be competing for the Isle of Man at the North Zonal Meet. Her Coach at Pioneer 79 ASC, Mike Wilson and all of her team mates wish her the best of luck in her attempts to achieve further Commonwealth Games consideration times..