Junior swimmers smash world records in Sheffield
This weekend, young disabled swimmers scooped five World records during the Nationwide Junior and Youth Swimming Championships. The national event at Ponds Forge in Sheffield was an overwhelming success as eight European and nineteen British Short Course records were also broken. Among the stars were Hannah Russell, Danielle Joyce and Josef Craig.
Delivered by Disability Sport Events (DSE) – an English Federation of Disability Sport (EFDS) programme- over 180 swimmers took part in the event held on 2 and 3 March.
It was a great weekend for 16 year old Hannah Russell (Kelly College SC) who claimed two World records over the two days. The visually impaired swimmer from Ottershaw in Surrey is already a Paralympic medallist after winning silver (S12 400m Freestyle) and bronze (S12 100m Butterfly) in London.
In Sheffield, she showed form over a short course distance in the S12 400m Freestyle, taking just over eight seconds off the old World record time- clocking 4:28.94. In the S12 100m Backstroke she touched in another new World time of 1:07.86. She added to these with another two British records in the S12 50m (27.75) and 100m Freestyle (59.73).
Debutant Danielle Joyce from Scotland showed she was a swimmer to be watched, breaking two World records in the S15 class- a class for deaf swimmers. The 16 year old from Auchenharvie Academy in Stevenston has already been selected to compete for the country at the 2013 Deaflympics in Bulgaria. Her progress in the sport means she is challenging Britain’s Lucy Walkup’s status as the leading female deaf swimmer. Her two World records in the S15 100m Individual Medley (1:08.54) and 100m Backstroke (1:06.40) impressed the Sheffield crowds.
Josef Craig (South Tyneside SC) entered the pool this weekend as a favourite in his races, after a successful London Games- the Paralympic champion in the S7 400m Freestyle. He took a World record in the same event over a short course, knocking more than seven seconds off the old time in 4:34.88. He said after breaking the record:
“It’s quite amazing. Just a personal best is great but it’s another time, and another step in the right direction. I’m more relaxed over short course, but really enjoying it this weekend. Now I’m looking ahead to August and the IPC World Swimming Championships in Canada”.
Scot Andrew Mullen (REN96) broke two European records in the SM5 200m Individual Medley (3:11.60) and the S5 50m Backstroke (39.23). He also clocked a new British record in the S5 50m Butterfly (38.56). The Scottish team enjoyed a successful championships- not only Danielle and Andrew, but the relay team broke a British record in the 400m 34 points Medley (5:54.96).
Amy Marren (Romford Town SC) broke the European record in the SM9 200m Individual Medley (2:32.50).
The S14 200m freestyle Paralympic champion Jessica-Jane Applegate MBE (UEA City of Norwich SC) from Great Yarmouth broke four British records over the weekend. Success in the S14 100m Freestyle (59.73) meant Jessica-Jane joined S12 swimmer Hannah Russell to be the first British disabled women in their classes to clock under a minute in the event. Other British records for Jessica-Jane were S14 200m Freestyle (2:10.30), 100m Butterfly (1:10.22) and 50m Freestyle (27.80),
Swimmers celebrating more national records were:
Kahoru Harazawa Dulwich Dolphins SC SM10 200m Individual Medley 2:21.20
Chloe Davies Trowbridge ASC SM14 200m Individual Medley 2:22:59
Alice Tai Seagulls SC S10 100m Backstroke 1:12.04
The Minister for Disabled People Esther McVey MP presented the Nationwide Junior Sports Awards to winning performers in each age group and the regional team trophy. They were:
- Age group A: Megan Richter (West Midlands) and Lewis White (East Midlands)
- Age group B: Amy Marren (London) and Craig Harris (South West)
- Youth age group: Jessica-Jane Applegate (East) and Kieran Neary (East)
- East region took the regional prize
This was the last event sponsored by Nationwide Building Society as part of the “Creating Champions Together” programme. Both Nationwide and Disability Sport Events have enjoyed a successful long term partnership for the last six years. Through the athletics and swimming programme, they have ensured many more disabled people can compete at all levels, enjoy sport around the country and be spotted as potential talent.
The English Federation of Disability Sport produced a short film to pay tribute to Nationwide Building Society and the importance of corporate partnerships in sport for disabled people. It focuses on the difference companies can make in disabled people’s lives; no matter what level they enjoy sport. The charity is keen to hear from other companies interested in changing more lives. Those interested in hearing more about the opportunities on offer should email the events team. You can watch the video below.
Thanks go to all the volunteers who dedicate their time annually to English Federation of Disability Sport’s events programme. Other partners assisting the championships are British Swimming, Ponds Forge and the Sheffield City Council's Major Sports Events Unit.
All records are subject to ratification.