ALTON & District Swimming Club sent their biggest ever squad of 49 swimmers to compete across the full range of individual and relay events at this year’s Hampshire ASA County Championships, held over three weekends in January and February.
The Alton swimmers returned with a superb haul of medals, the highlight being triple gold for club captain Naomi Van Dongen in the oldest 17 years and over category.
Alton’s older swimmers were in action over the final weekend at the Mountbatten Centre in Portsmouth and their many medals included gold for Ella Hamilton, Jess Cross, Rebecca Alder and Naomi Van Dogen.
Fifteen-year-old Joanna Clifford achieved a remarkable 11 personal bests from 11 races, including fourth in the 200m butterfly and sixth at the 50m and 100m butterfly races.
Katherine George also produced a clean sweep of PB times in her nine races at 15yrs level, setting a new Alton record in the 50m backstroke and coming fifth in the final. She was also sixth in the 50m freestyle.
Ella Hamilton (15yrs) won her gold at 200m breaststroke and also took bronze in the 100m distance, setting two new club records. Ben Williams (15yrs) won bronze at 50m butterfly and was sixth in the 50m freestyle and seventh in the 100m butterfly.
Jess Cross (16yrs) claimed gold in the 50m butterfly and silver at 100m butterfly and 200m individual medley, the latter two in club record times.
More Alton records tumbled as Rebecca Alder (16yrs) triumphed at 100m backstroke and took silver over 200m.
Aron Thuroczy (16yrs) also set an Alton record in finishing fifth in the 100m backstroke.
Naomi Van Dongen was the club’s golden girl with a clean sweep of gold medals at all three breaststroke distances. She also finished fourth in the 200m individual medley and all her swims were in club record times.
Other Alton record-breakers were Joe Massey (17/over) who secured bronze at 100m butterfly, and Jerome Greig who came sixth in the 400m freestyle.
The first weekend of long-course (50m pool) events, also at the Mountbatten Centre, saw some great Alton performances, big personal bests and two medals: bronze for Lottie Jackson in the 12yrs 400m individual medley and silver for Katie Pengilley in the 13yrs 800m freestyle. Pengilley also just missed out on a medal in the 400m freestyle, finishing fourth.
The action moved to Waterlooville for the short-course individual events in the 14yrs and under category. There were some excellent Alton performances over the two days, with many PB swims and finalists in all age groups. Alton results: Tom Duddridge (10/11yrs) – 5th, 50m butterfly final. Lottie Jackson (12yrs) – silver medals in 100m and 200m butterfly; 4th, 50m butterfly and 100m backstroke; 5th, 200m individual medley. Lucy Sampson (12yrs) – 5th, 100m breaststroke; 6th, 50m breaststroke. Katie Pengilley (13yrs) – 5th, 200m freestyle; 8th, 100m freestyle. Lucy Steiner (13yrs) – 8th, 50m butterfly. Kai Jackson (13yrs) – 7th, 100m and 200m breaststroke; 8th, 50m butterfly. Henry Plewes (13yrs) – 4th, 200m butterfly; 7th, 100m butterfly. Alex Sandberg (13yrs) – 6th, 50m freestyle; 8th, 100m freestyle. George Dominy (13yrs) – 4th, 100m and 200m breaststroke; 8th, 50m breaststroke. Mia Spencer (14yrs) – bronze medals in 100m and 200m backstroke, both new Alton records; 4th, 50m backstroke. Oliver Malkin (14yrs) – 7th, 200m backstroke and 200m freestyle; 8th, 100m backstroke.
In all, Alton swimmers produced 125 personal bests, broke 31 club records and won 18 medals. “I was delighted that we achieved our highest ever number of qualifiers in these championships”, said head coach Shaun Dominy. “Well done to all the swimmers who made counties for the first time. Overall, we had finalists in every session and this is an achievement in itself as the standard of swimming has improved across the county.”