The English Summer National championships were taking place over 5 days from Wednesday 2nd - Sunday 6th August at Sheffield Ponds Forge. Winsford Swim Team this year had 5 swimmers competing: Adam Blackshaw (17), Millie Riddick (16), Abbie Christopherson (14), Jay Cushen (13-14), Lottie Howman (12-13) and all were looking to challenge themselves against some of the very best swimmers in the country.
On the first day of competition we had Jay Cushen competing in the 400 IM. As always Jay was in a determined mood and was keen to improve on his ranking position of 15th going into the event and possibly making the final. Jay in the heat had a superb swim gaining a time of 4.57.06 which was a 5 second PB but more importantly it put him into the final ranked 4th.
Jay was going in the final in the late afternoon and our goal was to see if we could get on the podium. Jay paced the final fantastically well, and raced with tremendous skill. Jay unfortunately couldn't make the top 3 coming home in 5th place, but he did knock another 4 seconds off his PB touching in on 4.53.23 and in the process gaining his Winter National Qualifying Time.
On Day 2 we had Abbie Christopherson racing the 100 Butterfly and Jay Cushen racing the 1500 Freestyle. First up was Abbie in the Butterfly, we were going into the event ranked 15th so we knew a fast swim was needed to make the final. Abbie had a very strong race particularly at the back end of the swim. She came in on a time very close to PB and gaining a place of 15th which matched her initial ranking. Unfortunately we were just 3 tenths of a second outside a final spot, but a very good swim all the same.
In the afternoon session Jay Cushen was racing in the 1500 Free. Jay was determined to improve on his 5th place finish the previous day in the 400 IM. Jay went into the event ranked fastest on a time of 17.29.16 but we knew it would be tight. Jay was going in heat 3 and after the first two heats we knew we would have to swim a huge life time best to reach the podium. Jay had an outstanding race and completed 30 lengths of the pool in a new PB time of 17.09.98 a full 20 seconds faster than his entry time and winning his first ever GOLD MEDAL, and gaining his second Winter National Qualifying time, outstanding.
On the third day of competition Jay Cushen was racing in the 200 IM, going into the event ranked second. In the heat Jay again had a tremendous swim, coming in on 2.18.97 and a 2 second PB and placing him first going into the final. The final again was taking place in the evening and it was clear that this race was going to be tight, very tight. The race was superb to watch with the positions between the top 3 lads changing on numerous occasions through the 200m distance. Jay as always fought right to the end of the race and touched home in first and winning the GOLD MEDAL by just 5 100ths of a second from the second placed swimmer from St Felix School. Jay again swam another PB of 2.16.98 knocking another 2 seconds off his PB he achieved in the heat and again gaining his third Winter National Qualifying Time.
On Day 4 we had three swimmers competing for Winsford Swim Team. First up was the boys 200 Butterfly with both Jay Cushen and Adam Blackshaw competing in the event. Both boys were in extremely determined mood to make the final, but again both lads would have to perform to reach that goal because racing in the early morning heats was very fierce. Both Jay and Adam had super swims with Jay coming in on 2.22.24 in a new PB time and ranking him 8th for the final and Adam coming in on 2.12.90 and ranking him 9th for the final. Next up in the heats was Millie Riddick in the 100 Backstroke, Millie had an outstanding swim in her very first National Championships coming in on a time of 1.08.87 ranking her in 14th place, improving on her ranking by a fantastic 5 places. Millie has improved so very much over the last 12 months since joining us from another club, her attitude and commitment is second to none and the results are thoroughly deserved, well done.
In the afternoon we had both Jay and Adam going in the 200 Fly finals. First up was Jay in the 13-14 years category, Jay again was out to perform and raise his game in the hope of winning a place on the podium. Jay set off on the first length with real purpose and continued that for the following 3 lengths making sure he was not to be beaten. Jay did a demolition job touching home in on a superb time of 2.15.40 winning the GOLD MEDAL and achieving a new PB by 7 seconds and gaining his fourth Winter National Qualifying Time of the meet, what a swim to witness. Next up was Adam Blackshaw in the 17 years category, Adam is fiercely competitive and was determined to reach the podium. Adam after a strong start was lying in second place after 50m, Adam continued with tremendous fight but unfortunately couldn't quite maintain his position coming home in 10th place, but only 3 seconds outside of a top 5 placing. Adam has been a regular on the National scene for many, many years and he has achieved this due to his sheer commitment and first class attitude to the sport of swimming. If there is any younger swimmers who want a role model, Adam Blackshaw is your man.
On the final day of competition we had Jay going in the sprint 50m Butterfly event and Lottie Howman in the girls 800 Free. First up was Jay in the 50 Butterfly, again Jay was looking to swim fast and make another final, both of which he achieved. Jay touched in on a time of 28.25 a new PB and squeezing into the final in 10th place. Next up was Lottie Howman in the 800 Free, for Lottie this was her first taste of National swimming and was keen to do her very best. Lottie had a good first 200 but couldn't quite maintain the pace coming in on a time of 10.01.10 and gaining 14th place. As always a courageous swim, giving her all, and more importantly gaining very valuable experience swimming at this level, which will help her in many a year to come.
The final afternoon of finals saw Jay competing in the 13-14 years 50 Butterfly. The race begun and finished within a blink of the eye with all places from 1st through to 10th being decided within 0.90 of a second. Jay had another superb swim coming in 10th place in a time of 28.18 which was a new PB and finishing off a very successful 5 days for the young man.
Results - English Summer Championships 2017
Jay Cushen (13-14) GOLD 200 Butterfly, GOLD 200 Individual Medley, GOLD 1500 Freestyle, FINAL 5th 400 Individual Medley, FINAL 10th 50 Butterfly.
Adam Blackshaw (17) FINAL 10th 200 Butterfly.
Millie Riddick (16) 14th 100 Backstroke
Lottie Howman (12-13) 14th 800 Freestyle.
Abbie Christopherson (14) 15th 100 Butterfly.
Overall a superb 5 days of racing at the England Summer National Championships, with many new PB's, Finals and Medals won. This year Winsford Swim Team have performed superbly well at all the National Championships: British Summer, British Open Water, English, Scottish and Welsh National Championships. It is fantastic to see so many of our swimmers racing on a national level and achieving some outstanding success, well done to one and all. I know Winsford Swim Team will again put more swimmers than ever before onto the national level for the 2017-2018 season.
National Swimmers 2017 - 16 Qualifiers
British Summer: Abbie Christopherson - Jay Cushen - Finn Armitt - Jordan Gaskell
British Open Water: Theo Oliver - Lottie Howman - Rory Armitt - Oscar Jolliffe - Abbie Christopherson - Jonny Mullett - Henry Oliver - Alissa Blackshaw - Abbey Brown - Alex Moss - Becky Alderman
English Summer: Lottie Howman - Abbie Christopherson - Jay Cushen - Millie Riddick - Adam Blackshaw
Scottish Summer: Jordan Gaskell
Welsh Summer: Theo Oliver - Henry Oliver
To date we have 4 swimmers who have achieved Winter National Qualifying Times: (Qualifying ends Thursday 23rd November 2017)
Jay Cushen (Junior): 200 Breastroke, 200 Butterfly, 200 Individual Medley, 400 Individual Medley, 1500 Freestyle.
Jordan Gaskell (Senior): 100 Butterfly, 200 Butterfly.
Finn Armitt (Junior): 200 Butterfly.
Abbie Christopherson (Junior): 200 Butterfly.
Now that the season is over we can take a step back, assess and reflect on the previous season. For me it has been a phenomenal season, and in many areas record breaking for our club and all our swimmers, moving the bar even higher and achieving greater success right across the board. I know our swimmers will be eager to get back into the pool after their summer holidays and train even harder and train with even more desire and commitment to achieve our goals. The very biggest thank you to all our swimmers, parents, committee, volunteers, teachers and coaches. It has been a wonderful journey, lots of twists and turns, many, many ups and one or two downs but it has been so much fun. Well Done to one and all.