POOLE cemented their status as one of the region’s leading clubs with fifth place in a star-studded National Arena League Western final at Newport.

They were beaten only by swim scholarship high-flyers Millfield and Plymouth Leander, both former national champions, and the top two Welsh clubs, City of Cardiff and Swansea Aquatics.

Millfield and Plymouth respectively included Rio Olympic finalists James Guy and Ben Proud in their line-ups.

Fifth matches Poole’s best previous final result from 2011.

They also finish fifth in the Premier Division table, one place lower than the fourth they also achieved in 2011.

But Poole won’t be heading for their first national finals in April.

They matched last year’s 31st place in the virtual gala between the top six teams in the seven regional leagues across England and Wales but only 20 places are up for grabs.

Jazz McCrea provided two of Poole’s three wins, taking the 15yrs 100m butterfly in a club record 1:02.48 and the 100m freestyle in 58.81.

She has won the butterfly in all three rounds, a feat matched by team-mate Finley Chandler in the 11yrs 50m backstroke, which he won this time in 35.48.

Fiona Hardie contributed two of Poole’s three second places in the women’s 200m individual medley (2:17.94) and 100m butterfly (1:01.63).

Lara Johnston-Trow was second in the 11yrs 50m freestyle in 31.09.

The result provided some exercise for head coach Barry Alldrick.

“I told the swimmers that if any times were quicker than in the first two rounds, I would do two press-ups per event,” he said.

“This happened 15 times so I had to do 30 in front of the team at the end.”

Result: 1 Millfield 324, 2 Plymouth Leander 305, 3 City of Cardiff 286, 4 Swansea Aquatics 232, 5 Poole 181, 6 Exeter 175, 7 Soundwell 145, 8 Bridgend 143.

• Swim Bournemouth finished the season on a high with a resounding victory in the Western Premier Division’s mid-table final at Millfield.

After narrowly missing out on the top final, they swam quicker than in round two in 44 of the 50 races, recording 16 wins and 17 second places.

England and GB international Jay Lelliott won all three of his individual events – the men’s 100m butterfly (55.51), backstroke (54.60) and freestyle (50.76).

Oli Fairman and Amy Brown were both double winners, Fairman taking the 15/u 100m backstroke and breaststroke, Brown the equivalent events for 11/u girls.

Other individual winners were Luca Parks in the 11/u 50m backstroke, Alan Szczasiuk in the 13/u 100m freestyle and Saskia van der Schouw in the 11/u 50m breaststroke.

Swim Bournemouth also won five relays.

Result: 1 Swim Bournemouth 191, 2 Keynsham 171, 3 Street 144, 4 Weston-super-Mare 130, 5 Nofio Sir Gar 114.

• Seagulls came seventh in the National Arena League Western Division One final at Newport – their first final and best result since relegation from the Premier Division in 2013.

Edward Jaszek was the Christchurch club’s only individual winner in the 11/u 50m breaststroke in 42.49.

But there were three relay wins – from Max Weeks, Louis Goldsack, Callum Fawkes and Taylor Eeles in the 15/u freestyle, Sam Small, Isaac Ellis, Miles Ward and Kai Weeks in the 13/u freestyle and Ollie Burroughs, Lawrence Elliott, Edward Jaszek and Freddie Fox in the 11/u medley.

Result: 1 City of Bristol 307, 2 Torfaen Dolphins 278, 3 West Wilts Force 5 264, 4 Barnstaple 240, 5 City of Cardiff B 234, 6 Swansea Aquatics B 168, 7 Seagulls 161, 8 West Dorset 149.