Byrne and Jeffrey flex their muscles in Club Championships

Austin-Slade Jeffery motors to win the 100m breaststroke in Havant & Waterlooville's Club Championships.  Picture: Keith Woodland
Austin-Slade Jeffery motors to win the 100m breaststroke in Havant & Waterlooville's Club Championships. Picture: Keith Woodland
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Graham Pople celebrated another successful Havant & Waterlooville Club Championships last weekend.

Hosted at Horizon Leisure Centre, in Waterlooville, the event attracted 200 competitors from the age of nine right through to adults.

Previously restricted to Havant & Waterlooville swimmers only, members of Locksheath Swim Squad and Hamble Aquatics also took part.

Competitors swam over a range of distances from 50m to 400m in all disciplines, while a bumper crowd attended.

The purpose of the competition is for swimmers to try to achieve personal bests.

Head coach Pople said: ‘I see the Club Championships as an opportunity for the youngsters.

‘I look to see the young ones come in and want to be competitive and this is the first step on the ladder for them.

‘If we’ve got lots of swimmers entering then we have lots of kids understanding that this is a competitive swimming club.

‘Secondly, seeing all those kids get in and swim gives me an opportunity to assess development 
and see if myself and the other coaching staff are doing things right, or if there is room for change.’

Havant & Waterlooville have a rich history of developing swimmers to a national standard.

They had seven swimmers compete in the British Summer Championships in July and they registered 11 finals altogether.

Katie Byrne was one of the seven who lined up in Sheffield and she showcased her talent in the Club Championships.

In the under-17 category, she scooped gold medals in the 200m freestyle, 400m freestyle and 200m backstroke.

Austin-Slade Jeffrey, who won 50m breaststroke gold in the nationals, also dominated in Waterloovile.

He clinched all the accolades in the breaststroke discipline in the under-14 age group.

Pople added: ‘The Club Championships offers a chance for the little ones to see the national swimmers close up.

‘I can honestly say to them that all it takes is hard work, as they are using exactly the same facilities and coaching.

‘They all started in the same place, followed the program and made a lot of sacrifices.

‘The younger swimmers could be exactly that in five years’ time.’