Promising start for Northsea at Nationals

Shane Scullion finished 11th fastest in the disability 100m butterfly
Shane Scullion finished 11th fastest in the disability 100m butterfly
Kate Steels-Fryatt in action  Picture: Terry Scott

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Portsmouth Northsea have made a promising start to the British Gas ASA National Youth Championships.

Swimmers have followed on from the fine results at age-group level by impressing with more strong displays and lifetime bests in Sheffield.

Lloyd Young has already shown fine form in progressing in the 100m freestyle.

He was 15th fastest in yesterday’s heats in 52.69sec, and the hope is that will be the start of some more decent performances at Ponds Forge.

The boys’ 4x100m freestyle team knocked four seconds off the time which qualified them for the nationals.

It was Jake Howes who stood out there when he hacked three seconds off his PB (54.78) as he led the team out.

Shane Scullion was 11th fastest in the disability 100m butterfly, leaving him with a nervous wait to see if he progresses as first reserve.

Northsea head coach Paul Hogg has been happy with what he has seen so far.

He said: ‘We’ve had plenty of progress. Lloyd Young did the 100m freestyle and is into the semi-finals.

‘The boys’ relay team went in ranked 20th and improved their qualifying time by four seconds within the space of a month to make it to 17th.

‘They’ve moved up the rankings and gone faster.

‘Jake Howes led off and did a three-seconds personal best, which is pleasing.

‘Shane Scullion finished 11th to make him the first reserve in the disabilities.

‘You can’t ask for much more than that.

‘The things about the youth championships is that it isn’t a case of heats and then the final. There’s the semis to come through as well from 200m down. So that makes it a lot tougher for those involved.

‘We want to see them moving up rankings. These guys aren’t ranked to medal, so you are looking for improvement.

‘They are starting to pick people off and move up the rankings, so that’s a good thing.’

There is still plenty of swimming to come in Sheffield, with the action gathering pace.

Although the aim is for those involved to hit personal-best times, Hogg is hopeful that should see people make it to finals.

He said: ‘Yesterday was only the second day.

‘We have Neil Redman in the 200m breaststroke and a strong 4x200m relay team. Maybe they can make a final.

‘Lloyd would hope to make the final of the 100m free, although he is strongest over 50m, which comes on Sunday. There’s strong competition, but we hope he performs well.’

Hogg also reserved praise for Northsea’s swimmers who shone at the age-group championships, which ended on Monday.

Those involved showed promise throughout that meet, and that was a pattern which continued until the death.

Now it’s a period of rest for competitors before getting back to work again.

Hogg admitted there are plenty who travelled to the age-groups who are already champing at the bit to get back in the water, though.

He said: ‘Oliver Kincart got to the final of the 400m medley.

‘That was good for him to get into the top 10.

‘Tyler Hamblin should have swam the final of the 200m freestyle, but we decided to pull him out.

‘It’s his first nationals, he was tired and he wouldn’t have done himself justice.

‘As it is, he came away with good memories and swam great. He comes away with a really positive championships behind him.

‘They don’t want to have a break really because they are so keen, but they will have a couple of weeks off before we start them back up again.’