Superb swims at UK nationals

The U12 team with their medals
The U12 team with their medals
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Rugby Swimming Club’s Synchro Section closed another memorable year by taking part in the UK National Age Group Championships, held in Gloucester last weekend.

It is a mark of the club’s growth and development that Rugby were represented across the full spectrum of championship events.

With the sport split into two strands, Competitive and Recreational, Rugby qualified an amazing 20 swimmers for the elite element of competition - an increase from 11 swimmers at last year’s annual Championships.

Head Coach, Hannah Dudley and her dedicated support team deserve all the plaudits with Rugby Synchro now clearly operating in the Premier League of this invigorating sport.

In the younger age group, 12-year-old Emily Durkin excelled to achieve a fantastic 5th place finish in both her events, including an accomplished performance of her solo routine to music.

With, hopefully a glimpse of the future, in the under 10 years sub-category, Cassie Reed recorded a superb 3rd place finish in Technical figures. Both swimmers end the year with a trip to Crystal Palace to train within the England Talent Development programme - a stunning achievement and great reward for a hard year of dedicated training.

Rugby produced a further top-10 result within the Solo events, when established England team member, Sophie Randle, competing in the 15 to 17 years-old category for the first time secured an encouraging 9th place finish.

Within the Duets, Emily Durkin was joined by Grace Huett to secure 6th place; a position which was matched by Sophie Randle and Lucy Rouse in the older age group. Rugby qualified two Duets in the 15 to 17 years event and the sisters, Phoebe and Megan Walsh, swam with great credit to finish 11th.

Having performed with distinction, the Rugby squad were somewhat disappointed to enter the last session of the weekend without a medal to show for their efforts. That was soon to change as the under 12 team took to the pool. Performing a polished and entertaining routine to an appreciative packed crowd, the squad of: Amelia Quinn, Cassie Reed, Emily Durkin, Grace Huett, Nayana Walker, Olivia Walker and Rhia Perks delivered a fantastic bronze-medal winning performance. With only the City Clubs of Bristol and Trafford Manchester ahead of them the Rugby girls had really delivered a performance to be proud of.

Taking inspiration from the under 12s, the 13 to 14 year-old team (Beth Green, Emilia Walker, Meredith Whiting, Olivia Walker and Zoe Hart) produced a super performance of their lively routine to secure 6th place.

In the final event, the 15 to 17 team (Alice Old, Charlotte Powers, Lucy Rouse, Maja Nicholson, Megan Walsh, Phoebe Walsh, Sasha Humphreys and Sophie Randle) were determined to reverse recent Midlands form with Birmingham.

Swimming with great authority to a difficult routine, Rugby took a rewarding 5th place, not only defeating their local rivals but also surpassing Manchester for good measure.

As always, special mention to the travelling crowd of Rugby supporters. The club and swimmers really do appreciate the fabulous backing provided throughout a long and rewarding year.

Thanks also to DC Leisure, Ken Marriott Leisure Centre and Bilton Grange School for their support. A special mention to Schneider Electric who provided kit for the whole squad last weekend - the girls looked great!

n The girls will be performing all their routines from the UK National Championships in a special demonstration evening to be held at the Ken Marriott Leisure Centre on Thursday, December 13 (6.30pm start). All are welcome to come and find out more about the sport and the club.