Swimming: Tonbridge’s Ebbage dominates regionals with four golds

LEADING LIGHT Abi Todd was named Kent League Player of the Year

TONBRIDGE Swimming Club’s Caitlin Ebbage won four gold medals and three silvers after the South-East Regional 14 & Under Swimming Championships at K2 Crawley.

It had been the club’s best ever results at the event even before the second weekend. Eleven-year-old Caitlin also grabbed three competition records in the backstroke.

All three swimmers excelled, setting 21 new club records between them out of 24 events.

Caitlin started off with the tough 800m freestyle. Battling stroke for stroke the entire way, it came to a sprint in the last length with Caitlin just being out-touched to earn the silver medal in a new personal best (PB) time of 11min 09.00sec.

But her next event was the 50m backstroke and a close-fought final saw her finish in the gold medal position in a time of 32.36sec.

That puts her second in the all-time Great Britain swims for 11 year olds in this event and consolidates her in third place in the 12 year old age group nationally.

Her final event was a gruelling 400m Individual Medley (IM), the 100m of all four strokes. In her heat she set a 14-second PB of 5min 35.14sec. After an anxious wait for another three heats, she saw her rival just pip her to the gold in the last length and Caitlin had to settle for another silver.

Dan Brice, 13, was swimming in five events. In the 100m backstroke he set a club record time of 1:12.97, followed swiftly by a new club record in the 200m IM just outside his previous best.

An awesome display in 50m freestyle saw him set yet another club record of 29.17, and in the 200m backstroke he achieved a new PB by over two seconds for the time of 2:37.57 – and another club record. His final race of the campaign was in the 100m fly and he again sliced a two-second margin off his PB for yet another club record.

Tonbridge’s third swimmer was 11-year-old Erin Nisbet. She competed in the 11/12 Years 200m breaststroke, in which she had won the Kent Championships earlier this year. In the regionals she came seventh with a time of 3:05.90.

In the 100m breaststroke she managed a two-second PB in the heats and took another second off that in the final to finish in fifth position in a time of 1:24.68. In the 50m butterfly she again swam a new PB time of 34.04.

At the first of the two meetings, the trio were bolstered by the addition of 13-year-old Ollie Isaacs, a new Tonbridge club member who was still competing under the name of his old club.

Caitlin stormed to the lead in the 200m IM and held off the opposition to take the gold. She finished in a time of 2:34.49, a four-second PB which puts her fourth in the national rankings.

For the girls 12 years 400m freestyle Caitlin managed a four-second PB but narrowly missed the gold medal in a heat-seeded contest.

In the 100m backstroke Caitlin was ranked No 1 in the region and took the gold in the final. She consolidated her No 2 GB ranking and earned a new South East Regional record for 11-year-olds.

In her favourite 200m backstroke event, Caitlin consolidated her No 1 ranking nationally as she swam to a new PB of 2:26.27 – she finished six seconds ahead of her nearest rival.

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