The British Gas ASA Open Water National Age Group and Youth Championships took place on 27 July 2009 at Rother Valley Country Park under a sky of sunshine and showers.
Spectators crowded the start line as the 15/16 years and 17-24 years competitors dived into the water to contest the 1750m and 2000m respectively in the first race of the day.
Shiverers’ Charlotte Woolliscroft put in an impressive performance to take the girls title in the 17-24 division. Having just returned from the World Championships in Rome Woolliscroft put her experience to good use as she led from the front and got in the mix with the boys race. Closing the gap considerably between herself and the leading three boys Woolliscroft managed a 24:17.41 finish, only five seconds behind the boys 17-24 years bronze medallist.
After the race she said: “It was a good race and quite a bit faster than I expected…I do like swimming with the boys, I wish I could have beaten some more! I wanted to get out of the pack and lead from the front to avoid the scrappiness at the back and that is what I did.”
Of her experience in Rome she said: “It was amazing, I learnt a lot out there and picked up some good tactics so I know what to do next time I’m in that situation.”
Stephen Waterhouse (Scot Non-Res) comfortably took the boys 17-24 years title touching home in a time of 24:03.10 leaving James Radcliffe (Gallica) and Nathan Barr (Co Liverpool) to fight for silver. Radcliffe, after leading throughout some of the race, reached the 2000m mark in 24:10.00 to take second place, two seconds ahead of Barr in third.
Speaking afterwards Waterhouse said: “It was cold out there today! It went faster than I expected and it was very tactical so I’m pleased I saved something for the end.”
City of Sheffield’s Eleanor Faulkner was a clear winner in the girls 16-years race. Managing to stay with the older girls until she had to turn off for the finish line, she recorded a time of 21:08.45 to take gold ahead of Sarah Lucas (Gallica) in second position with a time of 21:56.73.
“It was cold in there, but it was definitely an enjoyable experience. I stayed with the older girls which was good for me,” Faulkner said. Adding: “At the moment I’m enjoying both the pool and open water events so I’ll just keep going and see how everything turns out.”
Aydin Berki of Mid Beds took the boys 16-years title in 21:06.46, leaving Chris Sugglit (Wigan BEST) and Ben Green (Northampton) to battle it out for the silver medal. Sugglit took second after a tight final stretch finishing just 0.3 seconds ahead of Green in 21:10.47.
The afternoon saw the 12/14-years events contested over 1500m for both the boys and girls.
City of Sheffield’s Matthew Johnson made it ten out of ten as he took gold in the boys 14-years event with a time of 17:53.76, further adding to the nine gold medals he won last week in the pool.
After leading the pack from the start Johnson continued to make progress in the water, but came up against a strong fight from Mark Deans (City of Glasgow) in the final minutes. A sprint-finish between the two ended with Johnson hitting home 0.58 seconds ahead of Deans to round-off a very successful competition.
Speaking about the Championships as a whole Johnson said: “I’ve enjoyed this year more than last year and I’d like to thank everyone at City of Sheffield and my parents for their support.”
Northampton’s Georgina McManus took the title in the girls 14-years event in a time of 19:06.45, over 25 seconds ahead of her closest competitor: Derventio’s Gabrielle Hignett who finished in 19:33.42.
Click to view full results:
Boys 12/14-years (1500m)
1. Matthew Johnson (Co Sheffield) 17:53.76
2. Mark Deans (Co Glasgow) 17:54.34
3. Harry Payne (Bo Southend) 17:58.48
Boys 15/16-years (1750m)
1. Aydin Berki (Mid Beds) 21:06.46
2. Chris Suggitt (Wigan BEST) 21:10.47
3. Ben Green (Northampton) 21:10.79
Boys 17-24-years (2000m)
1. Stephen Waterhouse (Scot Non-Res) 24:03.10
2. James Radcliffe (Gallica) 24:10.00
3. Nathan Barr (Co Liverpool) 24:12.30
Girls 12/14-years (1500m)
1. Georgina McManus (Northampton) 19:06.45
2. Gabrielle Hignett (Derventio) 19:33.42
3. Alexandra Taylor (West Suffolk) 19:38.26
Girls 15/16-years (1750m)
1. Eleanor Faulkner (Co Sheffield) 21:08.43
2. Sarah Lucas (Gallica) 21:56.73
3. Kelly Henson (Thanet Swim) 22:06.23
Girls 17-24-years (200m)
1. Charlotte Woolliscroft (Shiverers) 24:17.41
2. Aynsley Heseltine (Co Sheffield) 24:22.10
3. Alice McCall (Wigan BEST) 24:25.27