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Swimming: Young Swim Flintshire athletes punch above their weight at Welsh Age Group meeting

SWIM Flintshire are on track for another great season after returning with seven gold medals from the Welsh Age and Youth Open Championships in Swansea.

But behind that success lies a more telling statistic. The county’s elite swimming programme had 47 swimmers claim top eight places, mostly in races where their opponents were at least one year older.

The championships ran double-age groups, which meant for example 11 and 12-year-olds were racing together. Despite that Swim Flintshire still returned seven golds, five silver and five bronze.

Broken down into single age groups, however, Swim Flintshire were the fastest in 28 races, second in 20 and third in 16.

Isobel Wild and Kieron Andrews, who both count Mold Amateur Swimming Club as their home club, and Amanda Kelly, who swims for Buckley ASC when not with Swim Flintshire, all achieved qualifying times for the British Age Group Championships and Andrews won gold in the men’s 400m individual medley and 1,500m freestyle.

There were also individual gold medals for Swim Flintshire’s Elliot Jones, of Buckley ASC, in the 100m backstroke and Lewis Smith, of Holywell ASC, in the men’s 100m backstroke and 200m butterfly.

Elliott Jones them made up a relay team with Connah’s Quay ASC’s Shaun Maddox, Holywell ASC’s Matthew Thomson and Mold ASC’s Sam Wild to win gold in the 4x100m freestyle and medley relays.

Swim Flintshire head coach Stewart Clamp said: “The competition was a good indicator for how our swimmers will perform at the big events this year and next. They are already pushing older swimmers hard and if they continue to improve then it could be an exciting time.

“A special mention must go to the boys relay team, as they are all from different clubs but they came together and worked really well to win their races and they should be so proud.”