Fantastic first year for Godmanchester swimmers

THE young swimmers at First Strokes of Godmanchester pulled off a real upset by winning the C Final of the Junior Fenland League at Newmarket on Saturday evening.

Despite competing against the more experienced teams of Bottisham, March, Mildenhall and St Neots the swimmers produced some phenomenal performances at the event. The club won 14 of the 43 races, including the final relay race which they led from start to finish – and Hetti Vanterpool scored a hat trick of first places.

“For a new club like First Strokes to win the final in our first season in the league is outstanding and shows how much improvement has been made in such a small amount of time” said coach John Burling.

The team on the night was: James Dorsett, William Steel (two wins), Matthew Titman (one), Jake Alsford, Cullan Smy, Jake Bennett (two), Brooke Alsford (one), Summer Bennett, Thalia Clitheroe, Rebecca Keene (two), Hetti Vanterpool (three), Georgia DeVita (one), Sophie Batchelor (one), Ellie Rogers, Kerry Baird and Julia Gillman.

Meanwhile, Huntingdon Piranhas beat off strong competition from City of Ely, Dereham and First Strokes to win the 2011 Autumn Shield, coming first in 19 of the 38 races and finishing second in a further seven.

There were 14 individual wins on the night for Zoe Leech, Jessica Mansfield, Henry Pearce, Tom Russell, Jake Leech (two), Rory Royall, Ben Hassall, Chloe Phillips (two), Freya Sandford, Iona Naisby, Rhys Sandford and Mia Leech.

The Piranhas also won five of the six relays, including the parent race and the storming canon relay at the end of the night.

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Second place honours went to William Davies, Daisy Hodgson, Charlotte Elson, Connor Thacker, Sam Foulkes, Louis Pearce and Olivia Pearce.

This was a graded Gala with cut-off times - anyone swimming faster than the cut-off time had to settle for just half a point. Swimming just too fast were Sam Gray, Reece Johnstone, Amy Leslie, Skie Wallace (twice) and Emily Harman.

“The squad is approaching the end to the year in great form,” said John Richards, head coach of the Piranhas. “This win comes on the back on strong performances over the last few weeks.”

Seventeen swimmers travelled to Coventry at the end of September for the City of Coventry 50m Sprint Meet, a specialist event where each swimmer races over one length of the 50-metre pool in each stroke. The fastest eight in each age group then race in a 200 individual medley final.

Swimmers for the Piranhas club reached six finals. They were Will Steel (aged 9), who finished sixth 6th, Chloe Phillips (10), 6th; George Mansfield (12), 7th; and Will Davies (13), 5th.

Top honours went to Katie Rodgers who took the silver medal in the 15-year age group – and to Ryan Skeels who took bronze in the 17-year age group.

In addition the Piranhas reached the A Final of the Senior Fenland League for the first time in a number of years, and finished a very credible third behind Wisbech and West Norfolk, but scoring a victory over Cambridge.