Blue Fins clinch title with gala win

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BICESTER Blue Fins clinched the Division Three South title after a successful third and final round in the National Arena Swimming League.

Competing against Leighton Buzzard, Linslade Crusaders, Blythe Barracudas, Oldbury and Pershore, Bicester did enough to qualify for a swim-off against the top three clubs from Division Three North.

The third round kicked off with the open ladies 200m individual medley and Bicester began well thanks to a third place from Ellie Bunce.

Up against stiff competition, Bicester had to wait until event five for another third place – Chloe Wanless, Eloise Tagg, Emmy Whybrow and Ellie Falkner performing well in the U13 4x50m medley relay.

Bicester’s first win of the week came in the U13 boys 4x50m medley race courtesy of Callum Laird, Kieran Bird, Tom Thornley and Ben Ellis, who were then matched by the U15 girls team of Georgia Tagg, Courtney Best, Joelly Alexander and Ellie Falkner in the 4x50m freestyle relay.

In the equivalent event for boys, Joe Walker, Adam Khan, Harry Smith and Tom Thornley came second while Georgia Tagg, Cerys King, Ellie Bunce and Courtney Best secured another first in the ladies open 4x50m.

Oliver Inness, swimming in the U11 boys 50m backstroke, gave Blue Fins a fine start to the individual events with a third place, matched by Eloise Tagg.

Older sister Georgia then gave Bicester a superb first place while there were second-place finishes for Ellie Bunce and Andy Smith.

In the U11 50m butterfly, Freddie Ashley-Sparks swam to third before Callum Laird, Emmy Whybrow and Kieran Bird all came second to put Bicester five points behind leaders Blythe at the halfway stage.

Some gutsy swimming from Joey Sibun, William Whitley and Joelly Alexander then saw all come third before Kieran Bird set a blistering pace in the U13 boys 100m butterfly, beating second place by eight seconds.

Courtney Best and Cerys King also took victory in their events while Harry Magnay and Ella Littlewood had to settle for second place finishes.

Further good swims for Inness, Thornley, Walker and King saw Bicester take the lead on 174 points – one ahead of Blythe – with just eight events to go.

Bicester began well in the final session of the competition as the U11 boys 4x50m medley relay team of Inness, Whitley, Ashley-Sparks and Ethan Cavil came second but they were surpassed by the girls team who came first.

The U13 boys 4x50m freestyle team experienced similar success as Thornley, Laird Bird and Ellis were triumphant and they were matched by the U15s girls team of the two Taggs, Alexander and Best.

Bicester’s success continued in the final few events with Laird, Walker, Smith and Khan winning the U15 4x50m relay to give Bicester a nine-point lead with two events to go.

Victory was all but secured in the open ladies relay as Georgia Tagg led her team to a superb first before the men’s 6x50m freestyle relay team came a respectable third to round off the league.

Those results were enough for Bicester to secure the third division south title having finished on 214 points.

The final scores were: 1. Bicester, 214pts; 2. Blythe, 204pts; 3. Oldbury, 181pts; 4. Leighton Buzzard, 160pts; 5. Linslade, 158pts; 6. Pershore, 133pts.