Prolific Whittle spearheads medals bonanza for Ripley Rascals

The Ripley Rascals quintet of star swimmers, from left, Liam Dawson, Jacob Whittle, Gracie Dawes, Isaac Caddy and George Whittle.
The Ripley Rascals quintet of star swimmers, from left, Liam Dawson, Jacob Whittle, Gracie Dawes, Isaac Caddy and George Whittle.

Five youngsters from the Ripley Rascals club, spearheaded by the prolific Jacob Whittle, showed they are among the best swimmers in the region with impressive performances at the East Midlands Championships.

The quintet, who all train with Derbyshire’s elite development squad, Derventio Excel, under head coach Jamie Main, pocketed medals or reached finals in the international, Olympic-sized pool at Corby in Northamptonshire.

Leading the way was 12-year-old Jacob, from Oakerthorpe, near Alfreton, who qualified for no fewer than 14 events and pulled off the remarkable achievement of reaching the finals of all of them.

Jacob returned home with a superb haul of 11 medals, including three golds in the 100m butterfly, 200m backstroke and 400m fresstyle. He landed four silvers in the 50m backstroke, 100m backstroke, 100m breaststroke and 200m freestyle, and four bronzes in the 50m freestyle, 50m butterfly, 100m freestyle and 200m individual medley.

A spokeswoman for Rascals: “This 11-medal haul was a magnificent achievement by Jacob. It confirmed that he is one of the best young swimmers in the East Midlands region and one with a very bright future ahead of him in the sport.”

Not far behind Jacob in the medal stakes was 11-year-old Rascals teammate Liam Dawson, who qualified for 11 events at the prestigious championships and bagged a total of five medals from nine finals. Liam celebrated golds in the 50m freestyle, 200m freestyle and 200m butterfly, and also won two silver medals in the 50m butterfly and 100m butterfly. Showing his ability over a vareiety of strokes and race distances, he made the finals of the 50m backstroke, 100m freestyle, 200m backstroke and 400m freestyle too.

Another sparkling set of swims was recorded by 11-year-old Isaac Caddy, who qualified for ten events and reached the finals of three. He narrowly missed out on a bronze medal when finishing in fourth place in the 50m breaststroke, while sixth positions in both the 100m breaststroke and 200m breaststroke were eminently respectable results.

The other two members of the Rascals squad were 13-year-old Gracie Dawes and ten-year-old George Whittle. Gracie qualified for 11 events, making two finals and winning a bronze medal in the 100m freestyle. George qualified for three breaststroke events and contested the 200m final, finishing in eighth place.

Added the Rascals spokeswoman: “The experience of swimming in morning heats and evenings finals was tiring for all these competitors. But it was also a valuable learning experience for their future swimming careers.”

If you would like your child to learn to swim with Ripley Rascals, or for more information about the club, please go to www.ripleyrascals.org.uk