The Championships saw some great performances as Rother Valley Country Park was over taken by young swimmers looking for gold.
The two battled it out at the front of the course as the rest of the group took shape behind. After the first lap the boys were stretching out, with Hughes and Knight sitting in front and the chasing group battling it out for third.
With the finish line in sight Knight demonstrated his strength as he upped his stroke rate using everything he had in reserve to power past Hughes who was unable to respond.
Knight avenged last year’s second place finish with the Championships title after touching in 17:03.00. Hughes came in second with a time of 17:16.00 and Harry Smith (UEA Norwich) finished with bronze in 17:25.00.
“It feels really great,” said Knight. “Competing in Open Water is a lot more fun than the pool because you can see everything that’s going on. Last year I went away with silver and this year I closed the gap in the pool [on Hughes] and to win here has topped off.”
In the Girls’ race Chloe Waddell (Swim Trafford) took an early lead as she rounded the first buoy. By the mid-way point Harmonie Waterman (Kirklees) was closing the gap, but Waddell maintained a commanding lead.
Mixing it up with the back of the boys’ pack Waddell took gold in a time of 18:40.00 with Freya Mitchell (City of Sheffield) coming in second and Waterman in third.
“My plan going in was to get to the front early on,” said Waddell. “I managed to stay with some of the boys and they helped me keep a good pace. I did a training session at Salford Keys which was really good and helped with my preparations, but this is the first time I’ve competed so to win is great.”
Ashley Trent of West Suffolk claimed gold in the Boys’ 12 years category with a time of 19:26.00.
“It was a bit rough at the start,” said Trent. “I really enjoy competing in Open Water. It’s the thrill of being able to do whatever you want.”
Harrow’s Erin Nabney took gold in the Girls’ 12 years. Nabney took the 1,500m title at last week’s British Gas ASA National Age Group Championships which set her up well for the Open Water challenge: “It was really enjoyable out there,” said Nabney. “I’m really pleased with my performance and I definitely want to enter again next year.”
Ted Elson took gold in the Boys’ 12 years category. The Harrow swimmer took the title in a time of 18:03.00.
“The first 100m was very interesting,” said Elson. “After the first lap my muscles started hurting but I just kept chasing the boy in front of me. I’m going to keep swimming Open Water events and hopefully I’ll get better and improve my times.”