Northsea stars rise at Easter meet

Oliver Kincart impressed at Portsmouth Northsea's Easter Meet to make the nationals in Sheffield this summer   Picture: Allan Hutchings (13587-344)
Oliver Kincart impressed at Portsmouth Northsea's Easter Meet to make the nationals in Sheffield this summer Picture: Allan Hutchings (13587-344)
Kate Steels-Fryatt in action  Picture: Terry Scott

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Portsmouth Northsea added to their bulging national squad at their Easter Open meet.

And the four-day event has been hailed as the best since the club moved to the Mountbatten Centre in 2009.

Will Condron and Sarah Owen both booked their places at the World Championship trials in June.

And Oliver Kincart delivered as he boosted his packed schedule by making the ASA Age Group Championships in July and August.

Condron qualified in the 50m butterfly backstroke, while Owen hit the mark needed to make it to Sheffield in the 50m backstroke.

The trio also just missed on qualifying times in a host of other disciplines.

Northsea head coach Paul Hogg was excited by their performances.

And he thinks they have every chance of adding to them in the coming weeks.

Hogg highlighted the success of the club, who are now sending a healthy number of swimmers on to national level.

He said: ‘We had a really successful meet with some good swimming.

‘It wasn’t just from our club, either.

‘It was the best standard meet we’ve had since we’ve been at the Mountbatten Centre.

‘Sarah and Will both got their times for the trials.

‘On top of that, Sarah is 0.1sec off the 100m time, and is capable of getting that.

‘Will is right on top of times for the 100m fly and 100m free.

‘So they will be looking to go to the regionals and get those marks.

‘Oliver got his 200m backstroke time and just missed his 200m fly and 200m medley

‘He’s already got 50m and 100m freestyle and 400m medley.’

Hogg added: ‘When I first came to the club I had to change the philosophy. That was hard at first, but it’s starting to bear fruit now.

‘We had two qualifiers at the youth nationals back then – this year we have eight so far.

‘It’s being built up again.

‘It’s not like football when you buy players – you have to wait for them to develop.

‘We have more qualifiers at every level this year.

‘So it’s starting to work now.’

Hogg is confident of adding to the numbers competing at the upcoming nationals.

A squad travel to the Scottish nationals next week, before the focus turns to the regional championships in May and June.

Hogg said: ‘So many were right on top of the qualifying for nationals.

‘Ryan Young has never qualified for nationals and missed out in the 50m by 0.1sec. He has another chance at the regional championships, though.

‘That was typical, really, with a lot who didn’t quite get times.

‘Sarah Hughes was in the 200m breaststroke and had a massive drop in her time – around 23 seconds – but missed out by 0.5sec.

‘So we’re really looking forward to regional championships now because a lot of them are so close.

‘Brandon Choi took eight seconds off his 200m medley time but just missed out on the national time.

‘They are believing in themselves and are close to it. They are big improvements with just the last hump to get over now.’