BREASTSTROKE and medley swimmer Beth Aitchison looks on course for a successful 2014 after striking gold twice and setting personal best times in the Southern Regional Zonal meet.
The 16-year-old from Bournemouth Collegiate School won gold in the 100 and 200m breaststroke and silver in the 200m individual medley in at Millfield.
She missed out on a golden hat-trick by the slimmest margin, finishing 0.01sec behind Taunton Deane’s Lydia Lavallin, a former team-mate when both swam with Somerset Cheetas.
But it was Aitchison’s respective long-course times of 1:12.01, 2:35.39 and 2:20.26 that most impressed BCS head coach Zoe Baker.
“Beth set two PBs and almost a third, and the medley time improved her previous best by over two seconds,” said Baker.
“This is amazing during such a hard work training phase.”
Aitchison is now the country’s second fastest 16-year-old in both breaststroke events and seventh in the medley.
The 200m breaststroke time brings her within a second of Charlotte Evans’s Dorset senior record from 2001 and within striking distance of the 100m breaststroke and 200m medley records held by former world championship swimmer Alex Savage since 2005.
Beth’s brother Zak also recorded a PB as he came fourth in the 50m breaststroke in 31.8sec.
Swim Bournemouth 13-year-old Harriet Perfect also hit top form in the Zonal meet, which brought together the top swimmers from the South West, South East and London.
Perfect improved her national age groups qualifying time for the 200m backstroke by more than two seconds with a gold-winning 2:21.43.
“The time would also qualify her for the 14-15yrs, 17-18yrs and 19 and over events at the national youth championships – except that she is too young to enter,” said head coach Emma Richards.
Perfect also won bronze in the 100m backstroke, a two-medal tally matched by team-mate Lucy Brain, who won gold in the 800m freestyle and bronze in the 400m medley.
Jamie Gray, 18, completed the Swim Bournemouth medal tally in the 200m backstroke.
He also made the 17/o 50 and 100m backstroke finals, finishing seventh and sixth respectively.
Other Swim Bournemouth finalists in Millfield meeting: 14/u Katy Hebditch 4th 200m breast, 7th 100m breast; Jemma Green 5th 400m free; Jess Richens 7th 200m fly & 200m medley; Aista Razmaite 7th 50m back. 15/o Ellie Kerslake 8th 50 back; 16/u Alan Wong 5th 100m back.
- Eight race wins helped Ferndown Middle School to victory by a single point in the East Dorset Schools Championships.
They ended up just one point ahead of Corfe Mullen’s Castle Court, who also had eight wins.
Ferndown’s individual winners were Year 5 swimmers Holly Bell (50m backstroke 49.09), Jade Thompson (50m breaststroke 1:02.62) and Maisey Doucy (25m butterfly 24.41) and in the year 6 events Rosie Holland (50m breaststroke 44.96) and Jacob Gibson (25m butterfly 24.41).
Year 6 swimmers Freddie Pryce and Ella-Rose Bowman were both double winners for Castle Court, Pryce winning the 50m breaststroke and 100m freestyle in 49.35 and 1:22.91, Bowman the 25m butterfly and 100m freestyle in 17.98 and 1:13.50.
Team-mate Alex Cant won the year 6 50m backstroke (46.56) with Freya Evans winning the girls’ 50m freestyle (40.01).
Drew McGregor was a double winner for Wimborne’s Allenbourn Middle School as he took the year 5 50m breaststroke and freestyle (47.54 and 35.87) while team-mate Ava Keay won the year 5 50m freestyle (40.50).
Ryan Symmington won two events for St Michael’s at Colehill – the year 5 50m backstroke and 25m butterfly (37.94 and 19.93).
Charlotte Head of St Michael’s was also a winner in the year 6 50m backstroke (39.92).
Result: 1 Ferndown 123, 2 Castle Court 122, 3 Allenbourn 111, 4 St Michael’s Colehill 87, 5 Dumpton 38, 6 Emmanuel 30.
The Bournemouth-Christchurch schools event at Littledown was even closer with Moordown St John’s and St Katherine’s tying in first place and St Mark’s just three points behind.
Result: 1= Moordown St John’s 199, 1= St Katherine’s 199, 3 St Mark’s 196, 4 Stourfield Junior 173, 5 Talbot House 147, 6 Epiphany 138, 7 Talbot Heath 135, 8 St James 126, 9 St Martin’s 110, 10 Christ the King 108, 11 St Luke’s Primary 98, 12 Kinson Primary 91.
- Seagulls’ under-15 and under-19 water polo teams maintained their 100 per cent records after resounding Dorset League victories at Bridport.
The under-15s beat Bridport 11-2, while the under-19s beat the home side 17-4.
The younger group have now won three games out of three in the current season and the older team – who included GB junior international Kathy Roger – five out of five.
Seagulls spokesman Allen Mann said: “Both teams showed real spirit, working together in a coherent and determined manner.
“The under-15 squad consistently outplayed their opponents in each quarter, scoring goals and defending well.
“The under-19s also show great team spirit and competitiveness.”
He added: “Both teams travelled the 50 miles back to Christchurch with a smile on their faces.”
Seagulls’ winning under-19 team: Sarah Rogers, Matt Folland, Edward Stephenson, Kyle East, Cianan Mann, Peter Gallagher, James Stephenson, Megan Fletcher, Kathy Rogers.