Swimmers in a strong showing at Sheffield

Newcastle's swimming team ventured down to Sheffield for the BUCS Nationals, and came away with some decent records. Laura Joyce reports:

Laura Joyce
27th February 2017
Making a splash: The Women’s Relay Quartet finished in the top 15. Image: Emily Shone

Newcastle University’s swim team made the trip to Sheffield’s Ponds Forge this past weekend. The team were competing against hundreds of swimmers from Universities across the country, at the BUCS long course championships which was part of BUCS Nationals weekend.

A team of 14 of Newcastle’s fastest swimmers competed over three days in a competition which was stocked full of Great Britain’s top swimmers. Indeed, double world record holder and Olympic gold medallist Adam Peaty and Olympic silver medallist Siobhan-Marie O’Connor were just a couple of the stars on show.

Despite the fact that Long-course BUCS (50m pool) is typically tougher and more competitive than its Short-course equivalent (25m pool), Newcastle’s Swim Team rose to the occasion.

The women’s relay quartet of Maddie Fale, Isabella Centeleghe, Charis Dowson and Lucy Ellis kick-started the team’s meet on Friday night with a performance which earned themselves a centre lane for the B final.

“This was followed by another impressive performance in contested final where the team raised to their game to clinch third place”

This was followed by another impressive performance in a highly contested final where the team raised their game to clinch third place. The men also performed well, as Ben Purcell, Matt Allsop, Simon McCormick and Jordan McDonald’s efforts agonizingly left them sitting just one spot outside the final places.

Day two brought solid individual performances across the board. Following the success of the freestyle relay the previous evening, Isabella Centeleghe and Charis Dowson competed in the 50m freestyle, aiming to lower their personal bests and climb the individual rankings.

In the tough 200m freestyle event, Simon McCormick just got the better of teammate Matt Allsop as both Newcastle swimmers registered strong performances. On the women’s side, Lucy Ellis produced an excellent swim in the same event, lowering her season’s best by over a second.

Further success came in the women’s 400 medley relay heats. Emily Shone, Maddie Fale, Isabella Centeleghe and Lucy Ellis again booked themselves a centre lane as they qualified 3rd fastest for the B final and broke the club record in the process. A battling performance in the final saw the girls consolidate their top 15 UK finish, finishing only marginally slower than their heat time.

The men’s 400m medley team of Peter Sands, Ben Purcell, Jordan McDonald and Matt Allsop produced a series of gutsy swims and were rewarded with an improvement on their entry ranking.

3rd place for Newcastle in the Women’s Open 400m Freestyle B final

The final day also saw Maddie Fale display her talents in all four strokes, by making it through to the 200m Individual Medley A Final for the second year in succession. Isabella Centeleghe also produced a lightning quick display in the 50m butterfly, narrowly missing out on a final berth.

All in all, Newcastle Swim Team’s training and dedication paid off with a superb set of performances from the whole team. Newcastle’s performances were made all the more impressive by the fact that this was the first taste of BUCS long-course action for many of the team.

Emily Shone had nothing but praise for her team “I’m very proud of the team. There were some tough races but everyone gave it their all. We are all excited to get back into training in preparation for Team BUCS next month.”

The team hope to maintain their strong form from the Long-course championships into the Team BUCS championships in mid-March, as they aim to hold their position in the top division of UK university swimming.

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