POOLE’S Dan Speers is now the second fastest 16-year-old in Britain – and the fastest in England – after scooping a silver medal at the National Youth Championships.

And it wasn’t just his opponents he had to deal with in Sheffield.

The Bournemouth School pupil was doing his exercise routine before his heat of the 15-16yrs 50m freestyle when he felt his costume tear. The rip grew as he prepared for the start and tore again as he swam.

“At 35 metres, he started slowing significantly due to the parachute on his backside,” said his mum, Carmel.

“Luckily, he was in the far lane from the spectators but the coaches had a good laugh, and officials wrapped him in a towel as he left the pool.”

Despite the costume drama, Speers made the semi-finals seventh quickest in 24.53sec, improving to a club record 23.88 in the second round, then lowering it again to 23.79 in the final.

The time placed him second behind European Youth Olympic champion Duncan Scott, from Bo’ness club in Scotland, whose gold-winning time was 23.23.

Poole coach Robin Armayan said: “Dan has had a tough year battling with various injuries due to his growth spurt and he did really well to medal in such a technical event.”

Speers – who won individual silver and relay gold in his last age group championships two years ago – also reached the 100m freestyle semi-finals, where he came 18th in 54.32.

He was 26th in the 15-16yrs 200m breaststroke (2:30.64) and 51st in the 100m backstroke (1:02.60).

Bournemouth Collegiate School’s Beth Aitchison won her first national medal – a bronze in the 15-16yrs 100m breaststroke thanks to a personal best time of 1:11.74.

The 16-year-old missed a second medal by just 0.18sec in the 200m breaststroke as she came fourth in 2:35.64, also a PB.

She was also 17th in the open 50m breaststroke in 33.71 and 30th in the 15-16yrs 200m individual medley (2:26.12).

Ringwood’s Jack Burton, 17, now swimming for Plymouth Leander but training with Swim Bournemouth in the school holidays, won a silver medal in the 17-18yrs 200m breaststroke in 2:18.14.

Poole’s Fiona Hardie, 19, reached five finals in the 19 and over age group in which her opponents included Olympic freestyler Becky Turner of Sheffield and several other senior internationals.

Her best place was fourth behind Turner’s third in the 50m freestyle in 26.58 after setting a club record 26.45 in the heat.

Hardie was also sixth in the 100m freestyle (57.57) and 100m butterfly (1:02.77), eighth in the 200m butterfly (2:29.76), ninth in the 200m medley (2:21.72) and 19th in the open 50m butterfly (28.73).

Swim Bournemouth’s Jay Lelliott knocked 1.4sec off Joe Poynter’s Dorset record to reach the 17-18yrs 400m freestyle final in 4:00.12, then came eighth in 4:00.29.

He also broke his own Dorset record to come fourth in the 200m butterfly in 2:03.30, missing bronze by less than half-a-second.

Lelliott was also fifth in the 100m backstroke final in 58.20 and ninth in the 200m backstroke in 2:06.94.

He recorded the fastest split (1:56.07) as Swim Bournemouth came 32nd out of 40 teams in the 4x200m freestyle relay in 8:04.87.

His team-mates were Oscar Esposti (2:06.05), Alan Wong (2:00.80) and Jamie Gray (2:01.15).

Wong and Gray were also involved in the individual backstroke events.

Former national age group champion Wong, 15, came 32nd and 36th in the 15-16yrs 200 and 100m back in 2:13.20 and 1:01.32.

Gray, 17, was 33rd and 39th in the 17-18yrs 200 and 100m in 2:13.19 and 1:00.69.

Fellow Swim Bournemouth backstroker Ellie Kerslake, making her nationals debut at 17, came 26th in the 200m backstroke in 2:26.14 and 31st in the 100m back (1:07.56).

Poole’s Todd Price, 16, reached the semi-final of the 100m butterfly with a club record 57.92 in the heat, then placed 20th in 58.42.

He was also 33rd in the 400m medley (4:47.92).

Naomi Vides, 18, was a semi-finalist in the 17-18yrs 100m breaststroke, coming 18th in 1:15.79. She was also 39th in the 200m medley in 2:32.45.

Her brother Noah Vides, 16, was 34th in the 15-16yrs 100m breaststroke in 1:09.45.

Poole’s Madison Kemp, 15, came 28th, 37th and 40th respectively in the 15-16yrs 100m breaststroke (1:17.16), 100m butterfly (1:05.06) and 200m medley (2:28.76).

Team-mate and nationals debutant Inez Griffin, 16, was 49th in the 15-16yrs 200m breaststroke in 2:50.74.

  • Paralympic hopeful Alice Tai won silver and bronze medals in the multi-disability events at the National Youth Championships in Sheffield.

The 14-year-old S10 swimmer from Bournemouth Collegiate School came second in the 100m freestyle in 1:04.96 and third in the 50m freestyle in 30.46.

She was also fourth in the 400m freestyle in 4:55.74 and the 100m backstroke in 1:11.92, sixth in the 100m butterfly in 1:19.74 and ninth in the 200m individual medley in 2:52.31.