BOURNEMOUTH Collegiate School’s Alice Tai is preparing for a new challenge after dominating the S8 category at this month’s European Para-swimming Championship.

The 19-year-old from New Milton returned from Dublin with four gold medals after winning the 100m backstroke, freestyle and butterfly as well as leading Britain to a medley relay win.

But Tai, who also has Paralympic, world and Commonwealth gold medals in her collection, will not be returning to the Para-swimming National Performance Centre in Manchester, where she has been based since 2015.

Instead the youngster plans to train with Ealing SC from next month, when she starts a course in music production and performance at the University of West London.

Tai, who has already studied music and played in a rock band in Manchester, said: “I felt too comfortable in Manchester and wanted to take a step out of my comfort zone and really challenge myself by starting somewhere fresh.

“I’m interested to see how the new programme affects my training and my performance.

“In the lead-up to the Tokyo Paralympics, I can find out what I need to do to perform well and win.”

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Meanwhile, Seagulls’ Sam Small struck gold twice at the Swim Wales Summer Meet in Swansea.

Small, who has Welsh parents, won the 15yrs 100m freestyle by just 0.02sec in 56.27 but enjoyed a half-second victory margin in the 50m freestyle.

His winning time of 25.49 would also have won the 16yrs title.

Small is one five national age group champions named in a 24-strong Dorset team for the National County Team Championship in Sheffield on October 7.

Six clubs are represented in a squad which also includes Kayla van der Merwe, Oli Fairman and Jazz McCrea, who all won titles at last month’s British Summer Championship.

Amy Brown, a gold medallist at the Swim England Meet, has also been included.

The team looks well placed to book a third season in Division One after winning promotion in 2016 and finishing 88 points clear of relegation last season.

Dorset team: Honor Davies, Grace Poynter, Kayla van der Merwe, Saskia van der Schouw, Ben Samuel, Christian Tai, Finn Trehane (BCS); Oli Fairman, Molly Goddard, Max Looker, Jazz McCrea, Ella McNamara, Ryan Openshaw (Poole); Sonny Chamberlain-Hyde, Lawrence Elliott, Sam Small (Seagulls); Amy Brown, Ellie Brown, Ella Chown, Drew McGregor (Swim Bournemouth); Nathaniel Moorey, Charlie Rowe (Tornadoes of South Dorset); Tanya Blanchard (Wareham); Holly Johnson (West Dorset).

Elsewhere, Swim Bournemouth’s Alex Palotai-Avella just missed out on a medal at the Swim England Open Water Championship at Rother Valley, near Sheffield.

She came fourth in the 14yrs 3km event in 39min 46sec – the best placing by a Dorset swimmer. Poole’s Aimie Quarrie was 12th in 41:58.

In the equivalent boys’ event, Poole’s Miles Ward was fifth in 37:24, Swim Bournemouth’s Ryan Symington and Ryan Harper were ninth and 19th in 38:15 and 41:16 respectively. Poole’s Jack Channon finished 26th (43:37).

In the 2km event, Poole’s Xavier West came sixth in the 12yrs category in 30:29 with Finley Chandler 34th in the 13yrs event in 30:52.

Two Poole swimmers came sixth in the 5km category – Kath Baker in 1hr 07min 33sec in the 19/o section and Thea O’Keefe in the 17-18yrs (1:07:49).

Poole’s Liz Mills was 11th in 1:24:51 with team-mate Jordan Young 12th in the men’s race (1:10:32).

In the 16yrs 5km, Seagulls’ James Richardson was seventh in 1:06:11 with Poole’s Teagan-Mae Graham and Swim Bournemouth’s Eve Hewett 16th and 17th respectively in the girls’ event.