Swimming: Talented swimmers clock 42 PBs in the pool

Ben Makin in the freestyle

Olivia Nicholls battles it out in the 200m backstroke

First published in Sport Lancashire Telegraph: Photograph of the Author by , Sports reporter

Pioneer 79 Swimming Club members were in fine form at the City of Manchester Open Meet 2014. The City of Manchester Open Meet is recognised as one of the most important meetings of the year and is attended by many clubs from across the UK, and this year also included clubs from Dubai and the Czech Republic. During the weekend of competition, there were European, British, Polish and South African records broken, including British Paralympian’s, Jonathon Fox who achieved a new 200m Backstroke World and British Record in a time of 2.31.38 and Eleni Papadopoulos who also achieved a new European and British record in a time of 2.38.32. (both records are pending verification).

Pioneer swimmers achieved 42 new personal best times between them, the most notable of which came from 13 Year old Ellie Perris in the 200m Individual Medley and 200m Breaststroke, 13 year old Olivia Nicholls in the 200m Backstroke and Eleanor Collin in the 400m Freestyle who each improved their times by 3.5 seconds! 31 Regional Qualifying Times were also met by 9 swimmers; Meghann Leaver, Eleanor Collin, Ben Turland, Matthew Clarkson, Olivia Nicholls, Natasha Rogan, Joseph Murray, Ellie Perris and Simone Ellson. Regional qualifying times must be achieved at a level 1, 2 or 3 meet and swimmers are eligible to compete in 12 & under/13 and 14 years age groups at the North West Regional Age Group Championships, while the older swimmers, 15+ compete at the North West Regional Youth Championships. For many of our swimmers, competing at the Regional Championships would be the pinnacle of their season, for others, their sights are firmly set on achieving National Qualifying Times. National Qualifying times are usually achieved by the top 30 swimmers in each age group within the UK, for each individual event each year, however, at the 2014 Manchester Open alone, 3 Pioneer 79 Swimmers successfully achieved 5 NQT's between them; 12 Year old Ben Turland, swam the 100m Freestyle in superb form, knocking over 1.5 seconds off his previous personal best time, finishing in an Age Group National Qualifying Time of 1.02.64, taking the bronze medal in his age group. In the 200m Freestyle, he also swam extremely well, but unfortunately missed the NQT of 2.17.38 by just 0.7 seconds!

Natasha Rogan, 13, last year achieved 4 NQT's (100/200m Butterfly, 100m Backstroke and 200m Individual Medley) reaching the final in the 100m Butterfly. Prior to the 2014 Manchester Open, Natasha already had the 100m Backstroke NQT under her belt, and was extremely close to a number of others. This competition was the perfect opportunity for Natasha to improve her number of qualifying times. Entering ficw events over the course of the weekend, she was able to prepare herself and successfully improved her NQT tally to an impressive four (100m Freestyle, 100/200m Backstroke and 100m Butterfly). She narrowly missed out on the 200m Freestyle and 200m Individual Medley qualification times.

Matthew Clarkson, 22, is proving that he was also a starin the pool.

Previously a member of Pioneer 79's ‘A’ Squad, he decided to slide across to the ‘Sprint’ Group.

Since returning to the pool in 2013 his performances have gone from strength to strength, during this competition Matthew achieved his first ever NQT in the 50m Backstroke, finishing in a time of 28.60, knocking over half a second off his previous personal best time and finished 0.2 within the NQT unfortunately he just missed out on the medals.

Head Coach, Mike Wilson said: “Our swimmers had some excellent swims over the course of the weekend.

“Well done to everyone who competed.”

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