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The Oxfordshire and North Bucks ASA County Swimming Championships opened last weekend with the Boys 1500m Freestyle, Girls 800m Freestyle and the Boys Age Group Relays on the first weekend and on the second weekend the events were Girls 400m Individual Medley, Boys 400m Freestyle, Girls 400m Freestyle, Boys 400m IM and finally to end the weekend the Girls Age Group Relays. 

Bicester Blue Fins had four boys in the gruelling 1500m Freestyle, which wasn’t held in age groups. Josh Rowland achieved the first 2 points for the club in the championships by achieving a regional base time of 16:58.97 with a great 7th place. 16 year old William Whitley shaved 20 seconds of his PB with 17:19.83 gaining him 11th place and he achieved a regional accepted time. Ben Inness soldiered on despite a bad back pain during the event with an impressive time of 17:56.25 and is expected with a clean bill of health to beat his PB of 17:39 very soon. Freddie Whybrow also did the team proud with PB of 18:05.54 and is proving he’s ready to join his teammates with a sub 18:00 time in his next 1500m appearance.


All five girls performed well in the 800m Freestyle races. 16 year old Sinead Vine-Nealon came an impressive 7th place with her consistently paced strong swim and a time of 9:38.50 just off her PB of 9.33, gaining the team 2 points and achieving the Regional Base Time. Teammate Maddy Powell (age 13) achieved under the 10:00 mark once again with a time of 9:57.83 gaining her 17th place. Chloe Wanless and Olivia Ashley-Sparks both swan hard for their times of 10:03.80 and 10:07.45 respectively. Both looked stronger and Liv beat her old time of 10:11.17. 12 year old Tia Falkner put in a fantastic performance smashing the goal of going under 10:30 with an epic time of10:22.70. Coach Craig’s Swim of the Day!


In the Boys Age Group Relays, the teams all showed commitment and strength. In the 11-12 year old 4 x 50m Medley they came 11th place with Noah Powell on Backstroke, Leo Jayakody on Breaststroke, Zac Powell on Fly and Tim Walker on Freestyle. It was a very rounded race with Noah capitalising on a great turn at 25m, Leo smashed out a great takeover with his reliable and efficient long stroke, Zac demonstrated his ever increasing strength and Tim swam the most controlled and speedy Freestyle! A great 2 second improvement on their entry time, finishing with a solid 2:50.92.


The same four swimmers also competed in the Boys 11-12 year old 4 x 50m Freestyle Relay, with a slightly changed order of Noah, Leo, Tim and Zac. All four teammates showed a much improved Freestyle technique and again finished faster than their entry time with a time of 2:31.55 gaining them 14th place.


The 13-14 year old boys came 12th in their 4 x 50m Medley. Christopher Littleton took the start with a great Backstroke showing his ever growing strength with a great lead, Thomas Whitley was next with a very speedy 50m Breaststroke, followed by Sean Lock working hard for the team with his Butterfly finished by John Finn in the Freestyle for the final 50m taking the boys to a fast finish with a 3 second improvement on their entry time with 2:22.17.


As the first weekend came to a close, the four older boys also competed in the 4 x 50m Freestyle Relay and with a great determination to get their time as close to the 2:00 marker as possible they achieved a fab result of 11th place and a time of 2:06.96. 


The second weekend saw the team ready to compete again starting with the Girls 400m Individual Medley. First up was last week’s star, 12 year old Tia Falkner who impressed again with a PB of 5:58 breaking her target of 6:00. Girls Captain Chloe Wanless also excelled with a super performance within a second of her best time. 


The next event was the Boys 400m Freestyle and the Bicester Blue Fins team had nine contenders across the different age groups competing in this race. Zac Powell led the way with a 16 second PB going from 6:22 to 6:06, gaining him 4th place and a valuable 5 points for the team. Chris Littleton also achieved a good swim shaving one second off his former PB. 


Meanwhile in his 400m Freestyle race Ryan MacKenzie was just out of points with a 9th place but demonstrated a strong performance with his Freestyle knocking 5 seconds off his PB. Matt Thornley also raced hard and was rewarded with a 6 second PB. Alex Pryce equalled his PB finishing just behind his two age group team mates, showing great promise for the 4 x 200m Freestyle Relay team. Josh Rowland showed his younger teammates a great performance and scored valuable points coming 3rd in his race with 4:13, not his best time this season but he displayed great strength following a tough 1500m. 


William Whitley gained points more points coming 6th with a time just 1 second away from his PB. Ben Inness showed his determination after an unfortunate back pain the previous week which haunted his 1500m by achieving a 4 second PB in his 400m Freestyle race. Freddie Whybrow had an admirable swim with 4:32 and Stephen Taylor knocked an astonishing 10 seconds off his time to achieve a new PB of 4:36, which was well deserved after all his hard work. 


Next followed the Girls 400m Freestyle. The two 12 year old teammates Georgia Usher and Iona Mclellan both made the coaches proud today. Georgia was feeling unwell and still managed 11th place with 5:30, whilst Iona smashed that milestone of 6:00 by setting a new PB of 5:54 and coming 20th. Tia Falkner (age 12) gained 1 point with her 8th place showing a great improvement with a time of 5:05. The coaches are keen to see her perform in a 400m Freestyle without a 400m Individual Medley beforehand as she’s expected to take another PB. 13 year old Maddy Powell earned a great 6 points for the team with a fabulous 3rd place and a well deserved new PB of 4:41 after a frustrating DQ earlier in the day. Sinead Vine-Nealon showed her dedication paid off with 7th place and 2 points and a great time of 4:39. Olivia Ashley-Sparks took 11th place with a wonderful time improvement of 4:51 from 4:56. 16 year olds Chloe Wanless and Chiara Brown achieved great swims with 16th and 25th place respectively. 


The boys were back up next with the 400m Individual Medley. Alex Pryce hit a time of 5:23 which although not a PB showed a strong backstroke length. 16 year old William Whitley came 7th taking away 2 points thanks to his new PB of 4:51 after a great PB on the Fly leg to set off the race brilliantly. Ben Inness was placed 11th with 5:01, Josh Rowland achieved 15th place with 5:07, Stephen Taylor took 16th place with a new PB of 5:09 and Freddie Whybrow knocked 4 seconds off his PB after a strong swim earned him a time of 5:18 and 20thplace. 


The Girls Age Group Relay teams followed next with all the teams beating their entry times!  In the age 11-12 Medley A Team we have Grace Bradney on Backstroke, Georgia Usher on Breaststroke, Harriet Gower on Butterfly and Charlotte Kemp on Freestyle. This feisty team beat their entry time by 2 seconds with 2:36 and gained another point for the team coming 8th. The 11-12 Freestyle B Team should be thrilled with their 11th place, consisting of Isla Bohannon (showing she’s the fastest BBF girl in her age category even beating those in the A Team!!) Olivia Jordan, Harriet Gower & Isis Ashley Sparks (also one of our fastest girls despite going into the relay teams as the slowest!!). These girls beat their entry by 10 seconds so should be very proud of a great team effort. 


In the 13-14 Medley A Team Katelin Cavill on Backstroke, Maddy Powell on Breaststroke, Tia Falkner on Butterfly and Caitlin Laverick on Freestyle achieved 14th place with 2:26 just beating their entry time. The same four girls competed in the Freestyle Relay and achieved 14th place beating their entry time by 1 second.  A great achievement by all the girls. 


Bicester Blue Fins Coaching Team highlighted a great swim from Matt Thornley who achieved an over 20 second PB in his 400 Individual Medley which was unfortunately disqualified for a technical fault on a turn. Also noteworthy was Isla Bohannon in the 4 x 50m Freestyle Relay swimming 33 seconds on her turn which is a marvellous swim from an Academy swimmer, Isla is quite possibly one of the fastest 11 year old swimmers in the County right now! Bicester Blue Fins Head Coach Craig Oliver said: “The team are all tremendous swimmers. To be part of County Championships is a great achievement and all the swimmers should be very proud of their results.”