Kieran and Lottie sparkle for dazzling Blue Fins

Bicester's individual medal winners. Left to right: Kieran Bird, Josh Rowland, Freddie Ashley-Sparks, Oliver Inness, Maddy Powell, Ellie Falkner, Tia Falkner, Lottie Wynne-Jones, Sinead Vine-Nealon and head coach Struan McNeil
Bicester's individual medal winners. Left to right: Kieran Bird, Josh Rowland, Freddie Ashley-Sparks, Oliver Inness, Maddy Powell, Ellie Falkner, Tia Falkner, Lottie Wynne-Jones, Sinead Vine-Nealon and head coach Struan McNeil
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Bicester Blue Fins continued their impressive start to the British Gas ASA Oxfordshire & North Bucks County Swimming Championships when the 400m middle distance and younger girls relay events took place at the weekend.

At Aylesbury’s Aqua Vale pool, 15-year-old Kieran Bird picked up two more junior titles to add to the 1500m he won in the opening weekend. His blistering 4.02.54mins in the 400m freestyle was an incredible nine seconds faster than anyone else in the field, earning him the prestigious overall county champion title as well as county junior champion.

Bird was also in great form in the 400m individual medley, becoming county junior champion in a Bicester overall club record time of 4.39.06mins, which was good enough for second place in the overall championship.

In the 12-year-old category, Lottie Wynne-Jones shot to number one for her age group in the UK rankings in the 400m freestyle after winning gold in a time of 4.41.44. Her club age group record time was a remarkable 15 seconds faster than the next best swimmer.

The quality of Lottie’s swimming was demonstrated further when she secured her second gold medal in the 400m individual medley, again with a 15-second winning margin, as her 5.24.84 was another club age group record.

Both swims were the fastest ever recorded by a swimmer her age in the county.

Oliver Inness is also in sparkling form as he won back-to-back gold medals in the 14-year-old category, both in club age group record times. His 400m individual medley time of 5.01.20 was the third fastest time ever for a swimmer his age in the county, putting him just outside the top 10 ranked nationally for his age in that event.

Inness was equally impressive in the 400m freestyle, taking the honours in 4.28.00.

Bicester’s other individual gold medal came from Tia Falkner in the 11-year-old category. Having started the 400m freestyle event seeded eighth, she leapfrogged the field and stormed to her first county gold medal in 5.43.97.

Next up, 15-year-old Ellie Falkner continued her recent good run with a fine silver medal in the 400m freestyle, which was also good enough for third place overall in the Open competition.

In the younger girls’ 4x50m freestyle and medley relay events, the age 11-12 A team of Lottie Wynne-Jones, Maddy Powell, Eveena Shah and Alexandra Pluckrose impressed the watching capacity crowd with two impressive silver medals against a strong A squad from City of Oxford.

There was also an impressive silver medal winning swim from Tabitha Watkins in the 13-year-old 400m individual medley in a club age group record time of 5.30.34, and one also for Freddie Ashley-Sparks in the 13-year-old boys’ 400m freestyle.

Maddy Powell put in two big swims to win bronze in both her 400m events, while Josh Rowland claimed bronze in the 400m freestyle, which was matched by Sinead Vine-Nealon in the 400m individual medley.

Afterwards, Blue Fins head coach Struan McNeil said: “Not only were PBs falling all over the place, six club records were broken and a whole host of regional qualifying times obtained.

“At this stage in the championships last year we’d won six gold medals, so to have already picked up nine shows the strides the club is taking at all levels.

“The whole coaching team is pleased with the way the swimmers have stepped up to this key challenge and they’re attracting a lot of attention from other clubs in the area.

“Our hopes are now high right across the club for the main block of 50m, 100m and 200m events in a couple of weeks’ time, and we’re on track to win even more medals than our best ever year in 2014.”