Northsea swimmers make national grade

Katy Sexton in action at the Portsmouth Easter Festival
Katy Sexton in action at the Portsmouth Easter Festival

Comfortable Ceri secures emphatic national win

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Northsea swimmers have set their sights on national success after some top displays at the Portsmouth Easter Festival.

Four of the club’s talented crop of youngsters booked their place at July’s National Championships in Sheffield after reaching the qualification standards with fine performances.

Kelly Small powered to victory in the 12-and-under girls’ 800m freestyle in a time of 9min 48.92sec and then followed it with winning display in the 200m backstroke (2:33.49).

Oliver Kincart also achieved double joy in 12-and-under boys’ 200m butterfly (2:35.30) and the 400m individual medley (5:15.53) as he pipped team-mate James Millar.

Tyler Hamblin – another of Northsea’s talented 12-year-olds – enjoyed an excellent day as he registered victories in the 200m freestyle (2:14.15), 100m breastroke (1:19.81), 200m breaststroke (2:53.52) and the 400m freestyle (4:33.92).

Jennifer Hussey was also toasting a double in the girls’ 14-15 category as she claimed top spot in the 100m butterfly (1:05.64) and the 200m butterfly (2:21.61), cruising to victory more than 20 seconds ahead of her nearest rival.

She then narrowly missed out on the 200m freestyle, despite lowering her personal best.

With Neil Redman, Josh Fowler and Lloyd Young already having booked their places in the Sheffield event, head coach Paul Hogg has a healthy contingent gunning for honours.

And he has several more swimmers who are within striking distance of making the grade, with Ellie Hoar missing out on 800m freestyle qualification by just three tenths of a second.

Hogg said: ‘They have got a couple more chances.

‘We’ve got seven or eight who are within half a second of the time they need. But they can still do it. I would be disappointed if half of those don’t get the times they need by June.’

Katy Sexton delivered a fast time in the senior 100m freestyle (59.40) and with teams from Italy and Northampton also taking part, Hogg was pleased.

He said: ‘It was a really successful meeting.’