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Swimming: Top marks for Dan and Jack at Olympic pool
THE road to London’s Olympic pool was paved with gold for Dan Speers and Jack Burton as both hit the form of their lives to become Sainsbury’s UK School Games champions.
Poole swimmer Speers produced three of the fastest-ever 100m freestyle swims by a British 14-year-old to return to Dorset with two gold medals and a bronze.
And Swim Bournemouth’s Burton, 15, toppled two more Dorset records as he thrashed his rivals to claim the 200m breaststroke title.
They were among five medallists from South East Dorset’s three main clubs with Swim Bournemouth’s Lucy Kirkham and Seagulls’ Alice Tai and Jessie Foster also visiting the podium for the England South team.
Speers, a Bournemouth School pupil, had his moment of individual glory in the 100m freestyle, which he won by more than a second in 53.63sec – despite being the second youngest of the eight competitors, six of whom are already 15.
The time lowered Speers’s PB by 0.78sec and took him to fourth place in the British all-time rankings for 14-year-olds.
He returned later to anchor England South team-mates Oliver Goodhew, Charlie Attwood and Daniel Liu to victory in the very last event – the 4x100m medley relay.
Speers’ split time in this was 53.47. Earlier, he clocked 53.30 to anchor the England South 4x100m freestyle team to third place.
He was also sixth in the 200m freestyle in 2:02.40.
“It was a great experience to be in a multi-sports event with opening and closing ceremonies,” he said.
“And we were treated like professional athletes, which was really nice.”
Ringwood School pupil Burton, meanwhile, finished almost five seconds ahead of his nearest challenger, England North’s Joel O’Halleron, as he won the 200m breaststroke in 2:25.54.
This sliced more than two seconds off the 15-year-old’s own Dorset senior and junior records – his 15th and 16th county breaststroke records in 11 months.
Burton, who was also seventh in the 200m individual medley in 2:20.99, said: “The gold medal was a pretty big bonus. I wasn’t expecting to go so fast.
“I really enjoyed the team spirit. We had the whole England South team behind us.”
Seagulls’ 13-year-old disability swimmer Alice Tai, a member of Bournemouth Collegiate School’s swimming academy, claimed a hat-trick of medals in the multi-classification events – silver in the 200m individual medley (3:05.23) and bronze in the 50m freestyle (31.83) and 100m butterfly (1:21.88).
Her BCS and Seagulls team-mate Jessie Foster, 14, won bronze in the 14yrs 200m breaststroke in 2:39.73.
She was also in the England South team that came fifth in the 4x100m medley relay in which she recorded a split time of 1:16.33 on the breaststroke leg.
Lucy Kirkham, 15, won a silver medal with England South after clocking 1:00.18 on the second leg of the 4x100m freestyle.
She was also fifth in the individual 50m freestyle in 27.76.
England South came seventh overall in the swimming.
Result: 1 England North 279, 2 England South 247, 3 England Central 228, 4 England East 223, 5 Wales 173, 6 Scotland South & East 155, 7 Ireland 127, 8 Scotland North & West 94.