East Region Youth Championships - May 18

A select group of just 7 swimmers travelled to the UEA Sportspark in Norwich for the annual East Region Long Course (50m pool) Championships and performed with distinction across the board.

Ellen Northwood, Euan Donald, Ish Rahim, Issy Soulsby,

James Chennells,  James Corner, Zac Patel



Busiest swimmer was James Chennells with 7 events but the club was represented across all 3 days of the Bank Holiday weekend in all bar the distance freestyle sessions.

The weekend began on Saturday morning with Ellen Northwood completing the 200m fly in 2:46.58 to finish 9th just one place outside the finals and setting the tone for a good weekend all round.

Ish Rahim placed 15th in the 50m back with 31.20 before Euan Donald stepped up with back to back races.

First off was the 100m breast. With an aggressive start he was quicker than his short course pb at 50m, splitting 35.70 and finished strongly to slice 3 seconds from his Long Course best coming home in 1:18.67.

The second of his double header was the 100m fly, one of 4 boys from the club taking part. Again, he was fast away and led his field comfortably from bleep to touch chopping 4 seconds from his long course best and actually finishing 4/10ths of a second faster than his best time in a 25m pool, 4 seconds quicker than his recent Long Course pb, placing 18th overall of 31st, real evidence of his improvement.

After several heats wait the next up was James Chennells and he began his meet with another heat win from 6th fastest seed in his heat & an unpromising 37th fastest entry time. His final 1:00.19 was agonisingly close to the iconic 60 second barrier as he continues to lower most of the club records every time he swims.

Zac Patel and Ish Rahim made it a clean sweep of Long Course personal bests in the event for the boys with 1:01.11 & 1:03.10 respectively with Patel finishing 2nd in his heat.

The second session of Day 1 started with the girls’ 200m backstroke and Issy Soulsby looking to rebuild her confidence after, in her own mind, disappointing swims at this level 12 months earlier. Another lane 7 draw saw her out of sight and out of mind for the faster swimmers in her race and she stormed away from the off to a clear heat win in 2:31.51 to make the final as 8th fastest when she had been seeded only 10th. Her 2:31.51 was yet another Long Course best time.

Ish Rahim & James Chennells were in the 100m free with Ish popping under the 60 second barrier in 59.19 and James Chennells making yet another pb in 55.02 and taking his heat comfortably again to place 10th when he went into the event in just 21st place.

Euan Donald stepped back up again to take on the killer 400m Individual medley. With his best stroke being the fly he had to take it out hard and led at 100m faster than his 100m fly pb before the morning race. He eventually finished 5th in the heat & 14th overall, another improvement on initial seeding.

Issy Soulsby’s 200m back final in the evening saw her just tail off towards the finish stopping the clock 3 seconds outside her morning swim but still comfortably faster than her previous best time.

The Sunday morning began with an exceptional 200m fly performance from Euan Donald. Only 2 weeks earlier he had dropped his pb by 9 seconds and with another attacking swim he improved a further 4 seconds and swimming quicker than his sc best as well. His 2:26.70 placed him 3rd in the heat from Lane 1 and 6th into the final, an improvement of 5 places on his entry seed.

Issy Soulsby went Long Course pb in the 50m back with 33.10 just outreached at the finish to place 2nd in her heat.

James Corner joined the party in the 50m free after a season beset by lack of training for a number of reasons and should be happy with his 27.51 before James Chennells was in the water again, taking 6th in his heat in 25.60 fractionally outside his best for the first time in the meet.

Euan Donald, showing his strength and versatility was up again in the next event for the 200m breast taking over 7 seconds from his 50m pool pb in 2:48.39 and the session wrapped up with James Chennells in the 400m Free and another club record. Wanting to impose himself on the race from second slowest lane 1 again, he went out through the first 100m leading in 1:00.26 and retained that lead through 200m (2:05.79) only dropping out of the lead at 250m. As he understandably tired he posted 4:17.25 for 4th in the 8 man heat. His new club record beat the previous one by 6 seconds and his own pb by 7 seconds. It was also converted to 3 seconds faster than his sc best.

Again, the day finished with the 400 IM, this time for the girls and Issy Soulsby was back in the water with a point to prove after a contentious disqualification at County Champs in January. Yet again drawn in Lane 1 she led at 50m on the fly, was just 2nd at 100m with a time some 4 seconds faster than her 100m Fly stand alone pb. From the turn to backstroke she was never headed finally coming home some 20m ahead of the field, lowering her best by some 18 seconds in 5:21.70, another club record & 8th place from 14th seed.

The final day saw James Chennells with 3 swims in the one session, a tall ask for anybody, alongside Issy Soulsby, Ish Rahim and Zac Patel again.

James Chennells began by dropping his own best and club record in the 200m IM to 2:17.60 smashing out the first 50m fly in 27.79, a good omen for his 50m fly individual later in the day. It also qualified him in 7th fastest spot for an unexpected final chance having gone in in 21st fastest place.

Issy Soulsby then stepped up for the 100m back seeded just 20th and made it 2 out 2 finals so far for the club with a pb of 1:11.97 as she won her heat comfortably with a controlled swim.

James Chennells target event for the final day was the 200m free and he duly delivered again, lowering his own recent club record and pb to 1:59.13 to make another final for the evening from 18th seed in the 6th fastest qualification slot.

The last event of the meet was the boys 50m fly with James Chennells up yet again followed by Ish Rahim and finally Zac Patel. James Chennells & Ish Rahim both placed 2nd in their heats with 27.59 & 27.82 respectively with Ish Rahim disappointed to finish one place outside the final in 9th but having swum well. Zac Patel was seeded 9th fastest and survived a kit malfunction as he stepped on to the blocks to blast his way into the final with a new pb of 26.63 and club record, heading into the final in 6th position.

James Chennells took the 200m IM final steady to try to set himself up for the Freestyle almost immediately after and was rewarded with 6th place, replicating his 1:59 from the heat and still faster than his previous pb.

Issy Soulsby recorded exactly the same time as in her heat in the 100m back final with 1:11.97 and, hopefully, this will all help to restore confidence in her own ability moving forwards.

So, it was left to Zac Patel as the last swimmer to compete and he moved up to 5th in the Open final of the 50m fly posting 26.65.

Although there had only been 6 finals this year for the Club’s athletes, their progress was evidenced by the fact that, in almost every case they improved on their seedings going into the meet and continue to lop time from their previous bests and the future, in the Youth Age Group looks bright as they all have a couple more years at least before moving onto University or Adult life.