Sunday 2nd July fortunately brought the sunshine as 12 RTSC swimmers and Head Coach Gary Rogers headed to the murky waters of Surrey Quays. For most of Town’s young swimmers it was their first experience of open water swimming.
Showing their grit and determination, 12 year old Emilia Jopson and 14 year old Amber Mason competed in the 1k taster swim. Emilia finished in 16.56.83 and Amber in 16.47.91 and they both collected the gold medals in their age groups.
The most heavily subscribed events were the boys’ and girls’ 1.5k. With 2 waves for each event, the swimming was sometimes rough. Officials were on the bank and in boats on the river, ensuring fair play and safety. 12 year old Ruby Guynan showed real strength of character to complete her swim in 28.30.22, finishing in 16th place in her age group. Isabelle Jopson, 14, had a fantastic swim in 22.57.00, but just missed out on a medal finishing in 4th place. Town’s 14 year old boys form a renowned trio of committed distance swimmers: Lewis Binning, Daniel Gencas and Nathan Banga. Lewis showed his strength from the very start where he swam out hard to take the lead from the offset, finishing in an impressive 20.17.78 to take gold medal. Daniel finished in bronze medal position in a time of 21.44.91 with team mate Nathan following in to finish in 6th place in 22.22.96.
And then the going got really tough; 15 year olds Emily Milton, Agne Slipaityte and Gerorgia Marren took on the 3k event. Emily finished in 43.36.00 to claim a glorious bronze medal, Agne finished in 8th place in 47.19.00 with Georgia finishing in 12th place in 49.46.00.
As if that wasn’t challenging enough, Town’s hard core comprising Georgia Milton and Oliver Bath competed in the 17-18 age group 5k event! Oliver just missed out on a medal finishing in 4th place in a time of 126.96.36.199. Georgia produced a gutsy swim in 188.8.131.52 taking home the silver medal for her effort.
Automatic national qualification applies to those swimmers finishing in the top 3 in all distances of 1.5k and above, therefore Lewis, Daniel and the Milton sisters will get to compete at the national open water champs at Sheffield Rother Valley event next month.
Gary Rogers had a long day in the sunshine but said “What a great debut event: 12 swimmers competed and we brought home 6 medals. But more than that, my swimmers have demonstrated a strength and versatility today that shows they are not afraid to try something new. The weather has been kind to us, but open water swimming is a tough discipline and I am very proud of all 12 of my swimmers here today.”