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South Lincs Competitive Swimming Club quartet take part in the Swim England National Winter Championships

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Four of South Lincs’ leading swimmers qualified for the Swim England National Winter Championships held in Sheffield.

Ellisha Cookson, Mollie Briggs, Emma Croker and Rico Bringeman contested 20 events between them and produced a host of exceptional results over the three days of fierce competition.

Day one saw Ellisha start the South Lincs campaign as she took to the pool in the 100m breaststroke.

Mollie Briggs, Ellisha Cookson, Emma Croker and Rico Bringeman.
Mollie Briggs, Ellisha Cookson, Emma Croker and Rico Bringeman.

A solid first swim saw Ellisha post a time of 1.11.55, just 0.30 seconds outside of her personal best.

Less than twenty minutes later Ellisha was back on the blocks for her second race of the day, this time in the 200m individual medley.

A strong performance, particularly in the backstroke and breaststroke sections of the race, saw Ellisha touch home in a new personal best time of 2.21.24.

Rico Bringeman started off a busy day with the 100m butterfly.

Again a respectable swim saw Rico finish just 0.29 seconds outside his personal best with a time of 58.22 seconds.

Having got the nerves out of the way, Rico’s second event was the 400m freestyle.

A strong swim saw him hold a fast pace throughout and he touched home in a new personal best time of 4.07.09, which was also a new boys 16 years age group club record.

Rico closed out the day with his third event, the 100m individual medley.

An exceptional race from Rico saw him attack all four strokes and he was rewarded with a big drop on his personal best time of almost two seconds to touch the wall in 1.00.09.

Not only was this a new boys 16 years age group club record, but also a new Lincolnshire county record, bettering a mark that had stood for 20 years.

Mollie Briggs took on two demanding events on day one, the 200m butterfly and the 800m freestyle.

She rose to the occasion in each of her swims and posted her second fastest ever times in both races.

In the 200m butterfly, Mollie stopped the clock in a time of 2.27.64 to set a new, girls 16 years age group club record.

In the 800m freestyle, Mollie finished in a time of 9.22.22. Both of these swims marked a significant return to form for Mollie who has been making progressive improvements throughout the season.

Emma Croker began her three days of competition with the 100m freestyle.

An excellent swim saw Emma post a new personal best in the event by almost half a second with a time of 56.50 seconds that saw her qualify through to the junior final.

Always one to rise to the occasion, Emma stepped up another gear in the final. A very fast opening 50 metres put Emma in contention and she worked hard to maintain her speed through the second half of the race.

Emma’s efforts were rewarded with another personal best time of 56.05 as she touched the wall for the bronze medal, an excellent way to close out the first day of competition.

Day two saw Emma Croker get the action underway for the South Lincs swimmers, this time in the shorter 50m freestyle.

Again Emma produced a strong swim and posted a new personal best time in her heat swim of 26.28 seconds and qualified through to the junior final of this event.

Once again Emma was able to step up and produce an even faster time in the final, touching home in a new mark of 26.19 seconds to take sixth place and also set a new, girls 16 years age group club record and a Lincolnshire county record for the 50m freestyle.

Rico Bringeman continued to produce excellent performances.

In the 200m individual medley, Rico again attacked all four strokes and finished just 0.07 seconds outside of his personal best time in 2.08.44.

Rico’s second event of the day was the gruelling 200m butterfly, where he swam a well-balanced race to touch the wall in a new personal best time of 2.05.39 and qualify through to the junior final of this event.

The objective is always to go faster in the final than in the heats and Rico didn’t disappoint.

He showed easy speed through the halfway mark of the race and showed remarkable strength in the second hundred metres to touch the wall in 2.04.70 for another personal best time and seventh place as well as being a new club record.

Ellisha Cookson stepped up to the mark for another two events on day two.

In the 50m breaststroke, Ellisha flew down the pool in the opening 25 metres and found something extra in the second length to touch the wall in a big new personal best time of 32.81 seconds, an improvement of 0.59 seconds on her previous mark and her own club record in this event.

Ellisha’s second race was the 100m individual medley, a pure sprint event.

She lowered her personal best time by more than a second as she powered her way through 25m of butterfly, backstroke, breaststroke and freestyle to finish in 1.05.35 and set her second club record of the day.

Mollie Briggs brought her campaign at National Winter Championships to a close with the 400m freestyle.

Mollie put together an excellently structured race holding an even pace throughout, to once again post her second fastest ever time in this event of 4.32.28.

Head coach Keith Haynes said: “I was delighted with Mollie’s performances at the championships. They mark a significant return to form for Mollie and she should be very proud of what she has achieved.”

The third and final day of competition saw Rico Bringeman get the action started with the 400m individual medley.

As ever Rico swam strongly through the butterfly and backstroke sections of the race, but put together a very strong breaststroke leg which helped him finish in a new personal best time of 4.32.20, which saw him qualify through to the junior final.

Rico also swam the 200m freestyle where another solid display at the end of the weekend saw him finish just 0.90 seconds outside his personal best in a time of 1.56.25.

To close out his weekend at National Championships, Rico’s final of the 400m individual medley was swum to perfection.

Faster out in both the butterfly and backstroke sections gave Rico the opportunity to better his time from the heats as he closed with an impressive freestyle leg.

Rico stopped the clock in 4.30.40, a time which was both a new boys 16 years age group club and county record.

Ellisha Cookson brought the curtain down on her weekend of swimming in the 200m breaststroke.

She opened the race with determination, posting her fastest ever splits through the 50m and 100m marks.

Working hard to maintain her pace, Ellisha touched the wall in a time of 2.35.69, taking almost three seconds off her previous mark. Once again Ellisha set a new club record in this event along with a personal best time.

Emma Croker had two events on the final day of competition.

First in the 50m butterfly Emma lined up in an early heat, but put together a tremendous swim.

She was explosively fast through the first 25m and maintained her pace through the second length of the race to touch home in a time of 28.20 seconds, a drop of 0.75 seconds on her personal best and yet another club and county record.

This strong swim saw Emma qualify through to the junior final with one swim still to go.

The 200m freestyle is an event Emma has been developing over the last few years and has shown great progression in this season.

She was out quickly in the opening half and put together her strongest back end to touch the wall in a time of 2.01.59, once again a new personal best time and more than enough to see her qualify through to the junior final.

Emma closed out the competition for South Lincs with both of her final swims within 20 minutes of each other.

The primary focus was the 200m freestyle in this last session of the meet, however, the 50m butterfly was the first final to be contested.

Emma swam to her second fastest time ever in the event, posting a result of 28.61 seconds to take 10th place.

In the 200m freestyle, Emma went out very strongly to take the lead at the 50m mark and increased her lead over the second 50m.

The early speed might have been too much as Emma held the lead at the three-quarter mark and was finally overcome out of the penultimate turn by her big rival.

Emma worked hard through the final 50 in a battle to hang on to silver, but was just out touched at the wall to take the bronze medal in a brilliant time of 2.00.75.

Head coach Keith Haynes said: "The meet has been a huge success for the four South Lincs swimmers.

"We have achieved two medals, six finals and the swimmers have set four new county records and 14 new club records between them.

"It is wonderful to see them all step up and perform so well on a national stage.

"It is back to hard work now as we prepare for the long course season and Summer National Championships and we have a lot of competition en-route to these events."

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