IT has been another hugely successful year for Pioneer 79 Swimming Club with a total of 16 swimmers achieving North West Regional Qualifying Times.

The Regional Championships kicked off with the Youth/Open swimmers competing at Liverpool Aquatics Centre in Wavertree. Matthew Clarkson and Tom Gilroy competed in 5 races between them, Tom taking bronze in the 100m backstroke while Matthew, who elected to just swim the heats, finished second fastest in the 50m Butterfly, 3rd fastest in the 50m Freestyle and 4th in both the 50m/100m Backstroke. In the 50m Backstroke, he achieved his first National Qualifying Time, which will enable him to join Tom in Sheffield for the National Championships in August.

A total of 14 swimmers took part in the Regional Age Group Swimming Championships in Manchester for their individual races.

During the course of the two weekends, a total of 100 individual races were swum, with a 50% PB rate, which at this level is extremely good. A total of 22 NQT's were set during heats and finals between 3 swimmers. Medallists were Niamh Robinson, 14, who won double gold in the 100m and 200m breaststroke as well as four silvers in the 100/200m Backstroke, 200m IM, 100 Fly Natasha Rogan, 13, one gold in the 100m Backstroke and bronze medals in 100m and 200m Butterfly.

In total, Pioneer 79 had 28 finalists during the course of the two weekends, with many of the swimmers finaling for the first time in some events Pioneer 79 had 3 of the 8 lanes taken up with Pioneer 79 Swimmers which was a fantastic sight.

Ben Turland, 12 achieved his 2nd NQT this year in the 200m Freestyle heat in a time of 2.17.33, He then went on and bettered this time by almost a second, finishing 4th in the final, in a time of 2.16.36.

Natasha Rogan also improved the number of NQT's for this season to a staggering six events and will compete in Sheffield in 100/200m Backstroke, 100/200m Butterfly, 100m Freestyle and 200m Individual Medley.

And Niamh Robinson improved a number of her personal best times but maintained her 7 NQT's for this season and will compete at the Nationals in the 100/200m Breaststroke, 100/200m Backstroke, 100m Butterfly, 200/400m Individual Medley.

Ewan McKavett, 13, just missed out on his first ever NQT in the 100m Butterfly, missing the NQT by 0.12 seconds.

IN the relay events, the boys entered the 4x100m Freestyle where they finished 12th and the 4x100m Medley relay where they finished 11th overall. The second weekend saw the Pioneer 79 girls hit the water, entering teams in all 3 relays, in the 4x100m Medley Relay, we entered a staggering 3 teams - the 'A' team finished 2nd, the 'B' team finished 15th and the 'C' team finished 24th overall. In the 4x100 Freestyle Relay, the 'A' team finished 3rd fastest overall and the 'B' team finished 12th. Whilst in the 4x200m Freestyle Relay, the 'A' team finished 4th and the 'B' team finished 10th. Club officials have just had confirmation that the 'A' team have qualified to compete at the National Age Group Swimming Championships in August in Sheffield. This will be the first time in the history of Pioneer 79 Swimming Club that we have qualified to compete in the Nationals in any Relay event, let alone to compete in all three.

On the final day of the Regional Age Group Championships, after all the points from every swim had been calculated, Pioneer 79 Swimming Club finished 7th overall. This was a fantastic achievement, especially for a Club based in the small town of Accrington with a small catchment area.

Pioneer 79 Swimming Club’s Head Coach, Mike Wilson said: “I am extremely pleased with the results from these Championships, it was great to see some new faces achieving National Qualifying Times.

“And with the possibility of Ewan McKavett still achieving his first NQT in the 14years 100m Butterfly when he swims at the English Schools Swimming Association Finals in Bristol within the next few days. “The team spirit of all the swimmers, within the relay events especially, was a pleasure to watch, with all our swimmers swimming close to or smashing their personal best times, their effort and enthusiasm was immense. “So much so, they will be flying the Pioneer 79 Swimming Club Flag with pride in Sheffield in August.”