TONBRIDGE Swimming Club’s juniors were given a splash of inspiration ahead of their County Championships at Crystal Palace when they received a surprise visit from Olympian Ross Murdoch, the Commonwealth Games 200m breaststroke champion.
Erin Nisbet, 12, was just out-touched at the wall in the girls 13 years 100m butterfly final and had to settle for second place. This impressive swim sees her now ranked second in the South-east region. She added a further two silver medals in the 200m fly and 100m breaststroke.
Caitlin Ebbage took bronzes in the 100m fly and 100m breaststroke behind Erin, then went one better with second place in the 200m breaststroke.
She had been hugely successful over the first two weekends of the Kent championships, defending her 2017 titles in style.
In the gruelling long-distance events in round one, she once again won the girls 13 years 400m Individual Medley, in which the swimmers have to do 100 metres of each of the four strokes, butterfly, back, breast and freestyle. Erin claimed an excellent fifth in her first attempt at the event in the long-course 50-metre pool.
Caitlin also retained her crowns in the 400m and 800m freestyle events, recording a six-second personal best (PB) in the latter to be ranked third in South-east region.
Then she won the 200m freestyle, though by a narrow margin, but powered to victory in the 200m backstroke to win by 15 seconds and post a new long-course PB of 2min 25.00sec.
This time placed her fourth in the open age group and maintained her British No 1 ranking for her age group. She also defended her title in the 100m event.
The Tonbridge team mates dominated the girls 13 years 100m freestyle race from the first stroke. As fastest qualifiers, they turned together at the 50-metre mark but Caitlin just got the edge coming out of turn. Erin continued to fight to the last stroke and the pair powered to first and second places.
Josh Prendergast, 11, swam in the boys 12 years 400m freestyle in his first ever County Championships but didn’t let his nerves get to him as he powered to fourth place with a 14-second PB.
Debuting in the 1500m in a long-course pool, he blasted to a 20-second PB and earned a South-east regional base qualifying time.
The boys 14 years 200m breaststroke saw Ollie Isaacs have an epic battle with fellow Kent Weald team mate Brandon Harris. The latter led the pack until the last 15 metres, when Ollie made his charge and just out-touched Brandon to take third place on the last stroke.
There were impressive debuts at county level Tonbridge’s Holly Geake (12), Noemie Thomson (14), Ellis Kottas (14), Charlie Brice (10) and Ruben Antelo-Cowley (10).