Sevenoaks Swimming Club stormed through the opening weekend of the Kent County Championships 2019 at the London Aquatic Centre, home of the 2012 Olympics. The weekend combined the gruelling Men’s 1500m & Women’s 800m Freestyle events as well as the 50m sprints in the Butterfly, Backstroke, Breaststroke and Freestyle. Qualifying times for this event are tougher than any other county, such is the depth of talent in Kent across all ages. Over the 4 weekends of the 2019 championships, Sevenoaks SC can boast 104 qualifiers across all age groups. At the end of the first weekend of racing, the club sits at the top of the points table with an astonishing 10 gold, 11 silver and 19 bronze medals as well as an additional 63 finalists’ medals from the 255 qualified heat swims. An incredible 40% of heat swimmers had gained qualification into the finals – qualifying as the best 8 swimmers in Kent!
Following the heat swims in the 50m backstroke on Day 1, Eva Okaro started her championships with a victory in the 13 yr girls 50m Backstroke - 3 other Sevenoaks swimmers also qualifying for the final. Amelia Childs achieved a strong 2nd place in the 15 yr finals. In the finals of the 50m freestyle, Alyze Gentles took a well deserved silver medal in the 12yrs, whilst there was a clean sweep in the 13yrs with Eva Okaro in 1st, Isabella Okaro in 2nd and Samriddhi Das in 3rd. Finally in the 16yrs age group, and after a week of GCSE mocks, Zoë Naylor-Perrott finished strongly to claim the bronze. In the 50m butterfly, Louis Hayes and Aiden McMillan both stormed to victory in their respective 15 & 16 yrs finals, with McMillan also claiming the 16/u Junior Shield. In the 10/11 yrs final, Devon Tannock secured a gutsy bronze. In the next boys events, the 50m Breaststroke, Devon secured another bronze medal whilst in the 12 yr category Demi Alli stepped up to take a well deserved gold. In the 13yrs final, Sam Martin-Young secured a fantastic silver medal whilst in the 15 yrs age group, Louis Hayes climbed the podium again, this time taking silver and was joined by team mate Jacob Hudson who finished 3rd after a nail-biting finale. Oliver Coote won a spectacular bronze medal in the 16yr old also having raced after a gruelling week of mocks! The loudest roar of the first day came after club captain George Tyler secured a well-deserved and surprising bronze medal in the 17 and over category.
Alyze Gentles (12yrs) led the way for the Sevenoaks ladies on Sunday morning in the 800m Freestyle, one of 7 competitors who all achieved long course personal best times, winning a strong bronze medal. Two more medals were to come from this event with Lilie Chambers taking bronze (15 yrs) and Jasmine Wallace (16yrs) earning silver. The boys followed with the 50m backstroke. Devon Tannock continued his fine form achieving another bronze medal and inspired club mates Joseph Box and Christopher Lee to do likewise, winning thoroughly deserved bronze medals in the 13yrs and 17+ age groups respectively. Jaedon Lynch (14 yrs), inspired by Tyler’s exploits the day before, battled from an outside lane (ranked 8th) to deliver an astonishing bronze medal that portrayed amazing competitive race spirit and instinct. Louis Hayes (15 yrs) continued his medal winning streak by storming to victory not only in his age category but by claiming the Junior shield for the fastest swim by a 16/under competitor in Kent.
The girls 50m butterfly finals followed. Evie Armstrong, competing at her first Kent Championships like to a stunning bronze in the 10/11-year final. Alyze Gentles (12 yrs) finished her successful weekend with another well deserved medal, finishing 2nd, whilst twin sisters Eva and Izabella Okaro (13yrs) shared the podium with a stunning gold and bronze respectively. Lilie Chambers (15yrs) collected her second medal of the weekend after an exquisite swim to earn silver, followed by Ellie Vowell’s (16 yrs) securing a well deserved bronze in the 16-year category.
The girls completed the weekend with the finals of the 50m breaststroke. Eva Okaro (13 yrs) finished her amazing weekend with her 4th consecutive gold, this time sharing the podium with first time medallist Martha Roberts who fought to a thoroughly deserved bronze medal. In a highly competitive final Kara Dimond (14 yrs) won a fantastic silver medal whilst Ellie Vowell (16 years) jumped on the podium again securing a silver medal, one place behind team mate Maddy Glen who won a well deserved gold. In the final boys event of the weekend, the 50m freestyle, Devon Tannock (10/11) claimed yet another medal to secure 3rd place, whilst Jaedon Lynch repeated his achievement from earlier by producing a phenomenal swim to move from a ranking of 8th to winning silver! Louis Hayes completed his weekend with yet another powerful swim, claiming gold in the 15 yrs final. Finally, Nathaniel Rodrigues (17 +) rounded off the day with a thoroughly deserved bronze medal and in so doing, achieved the qualification time for the British Championships to be held in Glasgow in April.
The amount of personal best times and spectacular swims are too many to mention from the opening weekend for Sevenoaks Swimming Club. The following swimmers are deserving of mention, having qualified for at least one final over the weekend, winning a place medal (4-8th):-
Girls 50m backstroke: Lilia Formasier, Alyce Gentles, Samriddhi Das, Millie Armstrong, Isabella Okaro, Ella Wood, Imogen Stoddart, Lillie Chambers, Daisy Widdowson, Jasmine Wallace, Zoë Naylor-Perrott, Ellie Vowell.
Boys 50m Butterfly: Toby Burke, (and 50m backstroke) Jacob Crombie, Demi Alli, Jaedon Lynch, Thomas Creasey,
Boys 50m breaststroke: Albert Whitlock, Seamus Hamilton, Jaedon Lynch, Noah Enticknapp, Oscar Wilson, Dominic Percy,
Girls 50m freestyle: Ella Wood, Lilie Chambers, Amelia Childs, Madeleine Glen,Edith Norton, Ellie Vowell
Girls 50m butterfly: Fern Gray, Vivien Rooney, Amelia Tovey, Millie Armstrong, Samriddhi Das, Ella Wood, Imogen Stoddart, Zoë Naylor-Perrott
Girls 50m breaststroke: Emily Brown, Imogen Stoddart, Eleanor Allen, Megan Marter, Ruby Jarrett, Jasmine Wallace, Olivia Chapman
Boys 50m freestyle: Demi Alli, Aiden McMillan, Eddie Hammond
Finally, recognition to those who qualified and swam over the first weekend: Abigail Saunders, Anjola Pratt, Aoife Lauerman, Ben Strebel, Ben Watson, Betty Simpson, Boris Argirov, Caiden Hibbert, Caitlin O’Sullivan, Charlotte Dormiuex, Charlotte Prideaux, Daisy McMillan, Dillon Bentley, Emma Evans-Wilson, Ethan Martin, Evelyn Martin, Freya Ashdown, George Rehbein, Holli Gushlow, Iris Whitlock, Isabel Tyler, Isla Murphy, James Fry, Jonathan Vowell, Joseph Strebel, Joshua Crombie, Katie Vowell, Laura Wright, Macauley Johnston, Martin Argirov, Maxwell Haslam, Ptolemy Mangat, Robert Allen, Rosie Deacon, Ruby Jarrett, Ruth Godfrey, Sarah Williams, Thiago Gentles, Thomas Johnston, Torsten Mangat, William Jarrett, Zachary Howard and Zachary Raymond.