BURNLEY Bobcats have had a hectic end to 2012, with the squad split between competitions in Manchester, Swansea and Darwen.
Fourteen swimmers from the squad represented Bobcats at the City of Manchester Snowpen Meet at the Manchester Aquatic Centre. This was a new event in the swimming calendar and it proved an extremely popular one, which resulted in the meet being massively over-subscribed, with 33 clubs from across the country taking part, including clubs from Jersey, Middlesbrough, Birmingham and the Isle of Man.
The meet commenced on the Friday evening with the 800m and 1500m freestyle races and 14-year-old Katie Rennolds got off to a great start by taking silver medal in the 800m freestyle race.
The weekend continued with 11-year-old boys Harry Pilkington and Elliot Norman coming away with the most podium places and recording personal best times in all their events. Harry won gold in the 50m backstroke and 50m butterfly, and silver medals in the 50m freestyle, 100m freestyle, 200m freestyle and 400m freestyle events. Elliot took gold in the 50m breaststroke, silver in the 200m breaststroke and bronze medals in the 50m butterfly, 100m breaststroke and 200m Individual Medley,
The girls from the squad who medalled were Ella Sheridan (13) who took gold in the 400m freestyle and 200m freestyle events, and Ellie Taylor (12) who gained silver in the 50m freestyle.
Other swimmers, aged between 12-16 years, who took part and gained personal bests over the weekend were William Beaven, Robert Bryce, Dean Moorhouse, William Murray, Lucy Cole, Emma Fothergill, Kerry Holding, Erica Minozzi and Charlotte Waddington.
A number of the swimmers during the meet obtained Regional qualifying times and some were within seconds of gaining their National qualifying times so early in the season.
Head Coach Michael Robinson said: “It was a great weekend with some good personal bests at such a competitive meet.”
Meanwhile, 14-year-old Katie Rilett-Young, Bobcats S6 swimmer, took part in the British Gas Swim Wales Open National Championships at the National Pool in Swansea.
Katie competed in three multi classification events over the weekend - the 50m freestyle, 100m freestyle and 400m freestyle - and gained new long course personal best times in all three races and was only 1-2 seconds away from the World Class Programme qualifying times.
Katie swan an excellent 100m freestyle race and was first reserve for the final, only missing qualifying for it by a point. She gained fourth place in the 400m freestyle race, the medalists being a London 2012 Paralympian swimmer and two older swimmers from Germany. This was a fantastic achievement for Katie, who had only swum the 400m freestyle race competitively on two previous occasions and it was the first time she had swum the event in a long course pool.
These annual championships are aimed at top ranking swimmers in all bands, with national and elite disability athletes competing, and Katie faced swimmers from all over Great Britain and teams from Germany and Qatar. Katie’s idol, double London 2012 Paralympic gold medalist Ellie Simmonds, was present and swam in the 100m backstroke event on the first day of the event.
Robinson said: “It was another fantastic weekend from Katie with great personal bests at such an elite competition.”
To conclude the hectic schedule for Bobcats, a number of other squad members competed in another new event in the swimming calendar, the Preston Christmas Countdown Meet, for their first claimed clubs Burnley Aquatics, Clitheroe Dolphins and Colne ASC.