Three South Lincs swimmers headed to Sheffield to compete at the British Swimming Championships over the week of the 5th – 10th April. The event is the major swimming event in the domestic calendar with many of the country’s top swimmers participating, such as the likes of Olympic gold medallists Adam Peaty, Duncan Scott, James Guy and Anna Hopkins.
Ellisha Cookson, Emma Croker and Rico Bringeman had the opportunity to rub shoulders with the very best of British swimming over the course of the week and demonstrate their abilities. The British Championships were also of considerable importance as they served as the selection meet for British senior and junior teams scheduled to attend the Commonwealth Games, World Championships, European Junior Championships and the European Youth Olympic Festival.
All three swimmers acquitted themselves admirably over the course of the six days. Ellisha Cookson got the South Lincs action off to a flying start as she stormed through her 50m Breaststroke to set a new personal best time by 0.76 seconds to finish in a new standard of 33.35 seconds. Ellisha surprised herself by qualifying through to one of the evening’s finals where she was able to improve on her heat time and post a further personal best of 33.23 seconds, which wasd also a new club record.
Ellisha carried this form through the six days of competition. Ellisha was back in action on day 2 of the championships in the 200m Breaststroke where she posted a further personal best time of 2.43.99, a drop on her previous best by 0.86 seconds. Swimming with control in the opening one hundred metres, Ellisha was able to attack the second half of the race and pull away from the field of swimmers to set her new best time.
Ellisha headed home for a few days of training before returning to action on day 6 of the competition where she lined up in the heats of the 100m Breaststroke. Having set new personal best times in the two other distances, it came as no surprise that Ellisha smashed her personal best time by 1.52 seconds to set a new standard of 1.13.87. Ellisha’s time was once again a new club record and saw her narrowly miss out on the final of this event. Three personal best times out of three swims at this level of competition was an excellent achievement and bodes well for this summer’s National Championships.
Emma Croker contested four events over the course of the first four days of the meet. Emma started her campaign in the 200m Freestyle where in the heats she was marginally outside her personal best, posting a time of 2.05.43 that saw her qualify through to the evening’s finals. Emma found something special in her final and lowered her personal best time by 1.28 seconds to finish in a new mark of 2.03.93 and take second place in her final. Emma also finished as the fourth placed junior (seventeen years and under) in the event.
Emma went on to contend the heats of the 50m Butterfly on day 2 of the championships and was narrowly shy of her personal best finishing with a time of 28.85 seconds. On day 3 of the championships Emma went in the 50m Freestyle and again was just short of a new personal best as she finished in 26.81 seconds to secure another swim in the junior final of this event. A determined final swim saw Emma touch the wall in seventh place with a time of 26.90 seconds.
Emma closed out her campaign at British Championships on day 4 of the meet with the 100m Freestyle. Emma swam a solid heat swim of 58.03 seconds in the morning to once again qualify through to the junior final of this event in third place. However Emma was able to find something extra in the final of the 100m Freestyle and set a new personal best time of 57.24 seconds as she powered her way through the second fifty metres to finish second in the junior final.
Rico Bringeman was determined to match the achievements of his team mates and laid down an excellent heat swim in the 200m Butterfly with a new personal best of 2.07.32 to qualify through to the junior final of this event. The aim is always to go faster in the final than in the heat and Rico found some extra speed in the second half of the race to touch home in a further personal best of 2.07.10. Rico’s time was not only a club record, but also a new Lincolnshire County Record in the event.
Rico then turned his attention to his Individual medley events. In the longer 400m individual Medley he fell short of his personal best time with a swim of 4.44.36, which wasn’t quite enough to make the junior final of this event. A day off and a training session saw Rico back on track for the 200m Individual Medley. Fast out in the butterfly and a controlled backstroke section of the race gave Rico his best back end speed as he powered through the breaststroke and freestyle sections of the race to smash his personal best time by 2.54 seconds and stop the clock in a new mark of 2.10.55. Rico’s time was also a new club record in this event.
Over the course of the week the three swimmers competed in ten swims and made a further five finals and set nine new personal best times. The meet was a huge learning opportunity for all three swimmers who had to manage themselves over a long period of time. They also demonstrated a real capacity to step up from heat swims to finals and produce their very best.
The highlight of the week came with notification that following her results at the British Swimming Championships, Emma Croker has been selected to the British team to participate at the European Junior Swimming Championships to be held in Bucharest, Romania from the 4th – 11th July this year. This is a huge achievement and accolade for Emma and is her first British international selection. Many of the country’s top swimmers started their international career by competing at European Juniors and we all very much hope that Emma will follow in these footsteps as she progresses in her swimming.