Bishop's Stortford Swimming Club members win medals at the British Festival of Swimming
Ella Greatbatch and Kirsty Neill were declared two of the fastest teenagers in the country at the British Festival of Swimming.
They were medallists alongside Bishop's Stortford Swimming Club team-mates Jago Derrington and Niamh James in the nationwide competition.
The event was run as a network of regional meets with the results being amalgamated into one British leaderboard. Having only trained in their own 25m pool since March 2020 – when coronavirus restrictions allowed – the 50m pools at the University of East Anglia in Norwich and the London Aquatic Centre were welcome sights for the 31-strong Stortford contingent.
It was the first time many of the swimmers had qualified for an event at regional or national level, but everyone stepped up with fantastic performances.
Eighty-eight swims resulted in numerous personal bests and 42 top-10 finishes. And a total of 11 medals were won by Greatbatch (silver, 100m breaststroke; bronze, 50m/200m breaststroke), Neill (gold, 200m breaststroke; silver, 100m breaststroke), Derrington (silver, 50m backstroke; bronze, 100m/200m backstroke) and James (gold, 200m backstroke, silver 100m backstroke; bronze, 50m backstroke).
Greatbatch and Neill also secured top-10 finishes on the festival leaderboard as the former's 100m breaststroke time of 1min 20.69sec made her the eighth-fastest 13-year-old in Britain while the latter was the fifth-fastest 14-year-old in the same event (1.16.25) and the ninth-fastest in the 200m breaststroke (2.46.49).
Stortford's festival swimmers: 12 years – Ethan David-Tostevin, Zoe Opiyo; 13 years – Catherine Clune, Robert Gor, Ella Greatbatch, Hollie Heighes, Brandon Macdonald-Williams, Tain Phillips, Beau Reilly, Leo Suo-Saunders; 14 years – George Grimwood, Jacob Hayes, Alice Longman, Kirsty Neill, George Taylor; 15 years – David Badcock, Callum Cox, Jago Derrington, Emma Fields, Jessica Fields, Lauren Gore, Grace Mason, Lilian Opiyo, Kaia Phillips, Meisha Trend-Evans; 16 years – Issy Good; 17 years – Millie Fields; 18 years and over – Bryn Couser, Callum Davis, Niamh James, Eleanor Mason.
Meanwhile, 10-year-old Lois Fields and 11-year-olds Molly Greatbatch, Elliott Hall, Arthur Longman and Maisy Martindale represented Stortford in their first regional-level competition at the Future Champions meet.
The event was organised by the Swim England East Region for the stars of tomorrow to come together and race – perhaps for the first time – after a significant period of disruption.
Greatbatch secured sixth place in both the 50m and 100m breaststroke while Martindale came fourth in the 50m freestyle and 8th in the 50m breaststroke.
Between them, the five Stortford swimmers achieved 17 personal bests across 19 events.