It’s much more than a splash and grab

Camden Swiss Cottage swimmers are crowned the capital’s best

Thursday, 14th April — By Steve Barnett

CSCSC Regional champs 2

Camden Swiss Cottage swimmers saw their hard work pay off as they dominated the prestigious SE London Summer Championships

THE borough proudly now boasts the best young swimmers in the capital after a challenging “journey” which started in lockdown ended in unrivalled success at the SE London Summer Championships.

A triumphant squad from Camden Swiss Cottage Swimming Club (CSCSC) sparkled at the showpiece as they won a total of 76 medals, including 41 golds – more than any other club in the capital.

More than 40 swimmers from the club qualified for this year’s event, which was held recently over two weekends at the K2 Leisure Centre in Crawley and the London Aquatics Centre in Stratford.

Among the top performers in the pool were Alexandra Nurney, 12, who racked up 10 gold medals; Llewellyn Porter, 12, who won nine golds; Inès Guimond-Beetham, 13, who secured seven golds and a silver; and Isabella Thanassoulas, 13, who returned home with four golds, four silvers and a bronze medal.

Reflecting on all the “land” effort that went in long before even getting into the pool, lead coach Kylie Bland said: “We’ve been building towards the regional championships for two years following the pandemic, and for many of the swimming team this has been the first time that they can stand up on a big stage and show off all of the work that they have put in.

“It’s been a journey, from the land training and Zoom sessions we did during lockdown, then swimming anytime we could get time in a pool, and now the determination to return to a solid training programme.

“I am really proud of how far we have come.”

The list of honours continued, with Marty Varmatt, 12, winning four golds and a silver; Ksenia Shchepovskikh, 13, and Henry Gillam, 12, each clinching two golds and a silver; Leon Biss, 13, picking up a gold, a silver, and two bronzes; and Katy Wun, 12, and Sapir Pasheli, 14, each striking a single gold.

Other medal winners included Charlotte Shao, 12, who won five silvers and two bronzes; Leonardo Diallo, 13, who picked up three silvers and two bronzes; Lucy Fielding, 14, who took two silvers and a bronze; Amy Fielding, 12, who collected a silver and two bronzes; Bianca Jamal, 14, who returned home with three silvers and five bronzes; Cillian Bramham, 14, who celebrated two silvers and two bronzes; and Marina Kennedy, 12, and Victor Gould, 13, who scooped a silver medal each.

Finalists also included Jemima da Silva, Sauren Singh, Tess Jackson, Daisy Mclean, Ellie Zobel, Ollie Finch, Penny Kessler, and Sophia Gomez de Membrillera.

CSCSC head coach Adam Taylor said: “Everyone has been working really hard, and it shows. Despite all the challenges that we have faced, the programme that we have put in place has really come together.

“I am really looking forward to seeing these young swimmers now move forward to compete nationally over the next few years.”

Club chair Marc Barrot added: “Our swimmers’ results at London Regionals this year are extraordinary, even by our usual high standards.

But what struck me most, working poolside over the weekend as an official, were the big smiles on their young faces – between looks of utter concentration or exhaustion – and the mutual support and togetherness they brought to their individual efforts.

“After nearly two years of lockdowns and restricted pool access, that spirit makes all our work more than worthwhile.”

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