Swimming: First league title for combined club

First published in Swimming

Swim Bournemouth restored Dorset’s tradition of Southern Junior League success with a title-winning victory in the final at Littledown – and neighbours Christchurch Sea-gulls were a fine second.

The result qualifies Bournemouth for the national semi-final in the autumn against other regional champions and is the club’s first league title since the Bournemouth-Ferndown merger.

It is the 14th SJL crown for a Dorset club in 23 years – and all but one of those victories were achieved by Swim Bournemouth’s predecessor clubs, Ferndown Otters and Bournemouth Dolphins.

Otters won the title 10 times between 1989 and 2010 with Dolphins winning in 2007 and 2008. Tornadoes of South Dorset were the county’s other champions in 2005.

Bournemouth – third last year – led the 2012 final from the outset and recorded 19 race wins.

Matt Collins and Ethan Bell were double winners, Collins taking the 12yrs 50m freestyle and backstroke, Bell the 11yrs and 12yrs 50m breaststroke.

Other individual winners were Issy Hepburn and Toby Samuel in the girls’ and boys’ 9yrs 25m freestyle, Alesha Gibson and Finn Trehane in the 10yrs 50m backstroke, Morgan Long and Ben Samuel in the 11yrs 50m freestyle and Jemma Green in the 12yrs 50m backstroke.

Bournemouth also won eight relays including the cannon.

Head coach Emma Hirst said: “Team spirit was at an all-time high. This result puts Swim Bournemouth on the map as the best junior team in the South West.”

Seagulls’ second was their best-ever result and maintains their steady rise through the ranks.

Christian Tai was a double winner as he took the 11yrs and 12yrs 50m butterfly in 33.16 and 34.04.

But he also saw one of his club records toppled as Jack Arnell won the 11yrs 50m backstroke in 36.04.

Other winners were Nathan Gerrard in the 9yrs 25m butterfly (20.28), 10-year-old Stephanie Fletcher in the 50m breaststroke, Zoe Gannaway in the 11yrs 50m butterfly (36.97) and Grace Kinglsey in the 12yrs 50m freestyle (30.40).

Seagulls also won two relays.

Head coach Barry Alldrick said: “We are improving at an impressive rate across the whole club.

“Seagulls and Swim Bourne-mouth spectators helped to make the atmosphere a night to remember.”

Result: Swim Bournemouth 225, Seagulls 202, Swindon SX3 198, Weston-super-Mare 172, Keynsham 168, Severnside Tritons DNS.

• Seventeen wins helped Poole to a close second place in the second final at Swindon, missing an overall victory by just four points as Swindon Dolphin claimed the victory.

Georga Harrison and Jacob Peters were both double winners, Harrison taking the 12/u 50m freestyle and butterfly, Peters the 11/u 50m backstroke and butterfly.

Lewis Harding and Kelvin Wong made it a clean sweep in the boys’ 11/u events with wins in the 50m freestyle and breaststroke respectively and Oliver Weston joined them for the relays.

Other individual winners were Guy Selwood in the 9yrs 25m breaststroke and 12/u swimmers Harry Kemp (50m freestyle), Henry Bramwell-Reeks (50m breaststroke) and Jessica Richens (50m breaststroke). The other wins came in the relays.

Swim Bournemouth won the battle of the B teams in gala 2, finishing fifth, 34 points ahead of Swindon’s SX3 B team.

The boys’ 9yrs team of Seb Chacin, Jack Channon, Jacob Gibson and Jack Seddon provided the only win in their freestyle relay.

Result: Swindon Dolphin 205, Poole 201, Bradford-upon-Avon 197, Trowbridge 194, Swim Bournemouth B 120, Swindon SX3 B 86.

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