After two amazing weekends of swimming for the Beccles Kingfishers ‘Green Army’ the third and final weekend of this year’s County Championships saw the Beccles swimmers take on the Counties best at 400m Freestyle and the always popular County Relay events.
Sunday morning kicked off with three Beccles long distance swimmers taking on 16 lengths of Crown Pool in their 400m freestyle races. Grace Madsen was first up for the challenge and broke the 5 minute mark for the first time, knocking over 5 seconds off her previous best. For the boys Ross Barnshaw and Lawrence Lowman were in fine form as they smashed their previous best times.
The morning events nicely built up to what is always a highly competitive and strong climax to the 3 weekends, the County Team Relays. Beccles this year fielded teams in 14 events, with each team made up of 4 swimmers across 4 age groups. Races for these events are always close with overall positions normally separated by the smallest of margins. A squad of 31 Beccles swimmers took part, and all of them produced amazing performances, too many to put into words.
There was however a few stand out performances. The girl’s highest finishing team was made up of Poppy Allen, Emily Waller, Grace Madsen and Alex Sampson who took home 5th place and were only a few seconds off third. The junior teams also put in some great swims, most of them taking part in their first County Relay events in front of a packed out crowd of spectators. Sophie Crawley, Fran Pullinger and Christian Carter showed no signs of nerves as they competed in their first ever county events.
The swim of the afternoon went to the Open Men’s Relay Team, made up of Martin Hailes, Lawrence Lowman, Dalton Yallop and Ross Barnshaw. Last year the same team of swimmers were unlucky to come away without any medals and this year they were trying to break into the top three. In both of their events they finished over 2 seconds quicker than last year and in their Freestyle event they made up 2 places on the previous year to finish 6th in an event where 2nd to 7th place were separated by just two seconds. The Medley Relay event was always going to be the teams strongest with Martin a specialist on Breaststroke and Lawrence on Butterfly. Dalton got the team off to a great start on the Backstroke leg and Ross put in a massive performance in the final freestyle leg to secure the team a well-deserved third place and bronze medal.
Overall Beccles swimmers produced another club record performance over the course of the three weekends. In total 35 swimmers took part in the 2015 Suffolk County Championships producing a staggering 66 new personal best times. The clubs top swimmer awards this year went to Sophie Thurtell, Callum Thurston-W, Harry Bond, Samuel Skuse, Alex Sampson and Grace Mann.