THE Ripley Lifesaving Club squad had a weekend to remember at the UK Royal Lifesaving Championships in Sheffield.
A total of 32 swimmers won 25 medals – nine gold, ten silver and six bronze – and broke five national speed records, showing an amazing growth from the five medals won in 2010.
This also shows the strength of the coaching at the club to produce two national individual discipline champions in Tom Eley and Frazer Crump.
Tom won two additional silver and one bronze medal with a national ranking of fourth and the most successful swimmer for RASCALS, Frazer won gold in four out of five of his races, setting a new record in the manikin carry. Frustratingly, a twitch on the blocks in the manikin carry with fins race robbed him of another UK record time and a clear sweep in the 12-14 year category.
In spite of this, his national ranking was third under eighteen male.
Joined by Sam Wesson, overall ranked sixth, and George Spendlove, the team took gold in every relay swim race, breaking records each time, their winning margin consistently nearly ten seconds.
In the rope throw relay, they had to settle for silver after one line needed a second throw, but their 2011 UK record time was not beaten, making them current UK record holders in every team event which is an astonishing achievement.
The 12-14 year girls’ category saw Jessica Lockwood breaking her personal best swim times by up to 13 seconds to win two silver and a bronze, individually ranking her fifth under 18 years girl, and, joined by teammates Susannah Allsop, Jessica Ratcliffe, Fern Jackson and Vicky Threlfall, they won a gold medal in a UK fastest time in the obstacle race, and two more silver medals in the relays.
The male 15-17 years squad of Dominic Bestwick, Ross Strachan, Adam Threlfall and Alan Palmer, Josh Bee Tong, Anthony Mason and Matt Jenkins won three silver medals and a bronze, with Adam Threlfall winning an individual bronze in manikin carry with fins, he finishing the competition on a ranking of seventh.
Strengthened by some new members joining the lifesaving section, the swim times were impressive. The 15-17 years girls had their elation at winning the line throw relay shortlived as their exuberance led to a technical disqualification, but it shows the promise of this inexperienced team.
The female open section saw Josie Lockwood win bronze in the manikin tow with fins and, accompanied by Emily Allsop and the Dening sisters Karen and Joanne, their relay team was always in the top five in the UK.
The club goes from strength to strength attracting new members to join in the exciting and fast evolving of speed swimming, and success builds on success.
RASCALS are now recognised as one of the most prestigious clubs in the UK, testament to Jeremy Johnson, head coach, and assistant Daniel Woodthorpe, who have the utmost respect from the swimmers, parents and supporters of the club.
Anyone with an interest in lifesaving would be welcome to get involved on a competitive or fun basis, there is a wide range of activities and skills taught at Ripley Leisure Centre on a Friday evening and full details can be found on the RASCALS website at www. ripleyrascals.org.