SWIMMERS from Darlington are celebrating success in the North-East Region (NER) Short Course championships, held earlier this month at Ponds Forge, Sheffield.

Darlington Amateur Swimming Club had 19 swimmers from its Top, A1 and A2 squads, who qualified in a total of 80 events, and 17 of these took part in 64 different events over the course of the weekend.

Because of the pandemic, the NER championships have not been held since November 2019, so it was the first opportunity to compete at this level for two years.

This year the open championships were for boys age 15 and over and girls aged 14 and over. It is a big step up from the age group to the open competition just to make the qualifying times. Six Top squad swimmers competed in 20 events and recorded a total of 14 PB swims.

Laura Burgess, 15, qualified for the final of the 50m freestyle, finishing ninth, with the fastest 15 and under time. She got PBs in 200m freestyle and 50m butterfly, and has qualified to swim in the Winter National Championships in December at 50m and 100m freestyle.

Harvey Matthias, 17, had a busy weekend with six events in two sessions, producing PBs in four of them, breaking the 30 second barrier for 50m backstroke for the first time. James McLeary, 16, did his best ever times in 200m and 400m individual medley and 100m breaststroke. Emily Burrell, 15, continued her recent run of improvements to her 50m freestyle time, while 14-year-olds Nimah Kay and Ruby Diment coped well in the open events for the first time. Niamh swam PBs in 50m and 100m breaststroke, finishing as the third fastest 14-year-old in the 50m. Ruby swam all the backstroke events, finishing second fastest and third fastest 14-year-old in the 100m and 50m events respectively.

In the NER age group championships, DASC was represented by 11 youngsters in 45 events, recording 32 PBs. They also won four medals and there were 11 other top ten placings.

Lucy Oliver, 12, had a successful weekend with seven PBs in her eight swims. She began with a bronze in the 200m freestyle, silver in 100m freestyle, and a gold medal to become the 50m freestyle NER Champion. She narrowly missed out on a medal in the 400m freestyle and gained three other top ten finishes in backstroke and butterfly events.

The club's other medallist was Alex Boyer, 14, in the 1500m freestyle event where he came third. He also produced a PB swim on 200m freestyle.

DASC had a trio of 11-year-olds making their NER debut. Harry Whitfield got seven PBs in seven events, on all strokes except breaststroke, with six top ten placings, including two fourth places. Ben Burrell swam three PBs in three 50m sprint events and April Mansfield also produced three excellent PBs in her four events.

Meanwhile, Hugo Douglas-Reeves, 13, produced PBs in all three breaststroke events powering under the three-minute barrier on 200m and gaining a top ten place in 100m. Ben Matthias, 13, swam a PB in 50m backstroke, Alex Morton, 13, swam PBs in both his events, and Lewis Kestle, 14, swam in six events with three PBs to show for his hard work.

Lucy Proctor, DASC head coach, said: "It was great to see our swimmers represent DASC so well across the two championships. We had experienced athletes and first-timers who performed at their best in such a high-level meet. Overall, results were superb and an open final and four age group medals topped off a fantastic weekend."