Northsea on a glory charge

Portsmouth Northsea swimmer Kelly Small
Portsmouth Northsea swimmer Kelly Small
Locks Heath talents at the Portsmouth First Chance meet

Locks Heath starlets take their Chance

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Portsmouth Northsea bid for glory today as the National Age Group Championships get underway.

Northsea will be aiming to make a strong impact in the five-day competition at Ponds Forge, Sheffield.

With a number of swimmers highly ranked nationally, the aim will be for those talents to hit finals with a succession of best times coming along the way.

Qualifying times for the championships have been ramped up this year meaning fewer people have made it to the event.

Northsea swimmers missed out with times that would have previously seen them take part.

But that makes it a greater achievement for those who will be involved against England’s finest.

Northsea head coach Paul Hogg is confident those in the water will deliver the best performances they can.

He said: ‘We are looking forward to the nationals and being involved.

‘We have a number of swimmers who are ranked highly nationally.

‘So we are hoping we can get a number of people through to finals. Once that happens it’s a different ball game.

‘The aim has to be for the guys to reach that top 10 and progress to the last stage.

‘This year the qualifying times have been upped so much, so there are fewer qualifiers from around the country.

‘People have missed out with times which would have easily got them there in previous years.

‘It’s going to be a busy five days for some. There are people who are going to be swimming every day.

‘Those who have made it have been told what we are expecting.

‘But with the times pumped up as they have been they have done well to get there.’

Oliver Kincart will undergo an intensive schedule at the meet as he competes in seven different events.

He goes in the 200m and 400m individual medley as well as the 400m and 1,500m freestyle.

On top of that he is lined up to race in the 200m backstroke, butterfly and breaststroke, and with Kincart ranked in the top-10 nationally in three events he will be hoping to make finals.

Kincart will be joined by Tyler Hamblin in the 12-year section, who swims in the 50m, 100m, 200m and 400m freestyle.

The 100m and 200m breaststroke is also on the agenda, with Hamblin ranked number two nationally in the latter.

Kelly Small swims in three events at 12 years in the 200m backstroke, 400m individual medley and 800m freestyle, with a final appearance in the backstroke the target.

The progress being made at Northsea is highlighted with age group teams involved for the first time since 2008.

James Corrigan, Sean O’Kill. Tom Gregson and Brandon Choi will go in the 400m medley with the 4x200m freestyle team also involved.

Hogg said: ‘To have the relay teams there is a step in the right direction. It shows we are building some depth.’