Jégou’s Tigers striding down quality street
LILY SCOTT was just edged out of the medals at the English Summer Nationals Championships last night, finishing a superb season with a fourth-place finish in the 14 Years final of the 50m backstroke, writes Andy Bradshaw.
Her time of 31.55 sec was just off her personal best swim 31.52 set in yesterday morning’s heat, which had her qualifying as second seed for the final. Scott, a winner of two silver medals earlier this week, took 1.04 seconds off her previous best time.
Had she managed a podium spot it would have been an incredible tenth medal in the past fortnight for Calligo Tigers SC, following six gained at the British Championships last week, four by Isaac Dodds and two by Robbie Jones.
‘We’ve had the best year since I’ve been at the club,’ said Tigers head coach Nathan Jégou.
‘It’s the first time we’ve won the Junior Meet back-to-back; Harry Shalamon reached a final at the Commonwealth Games and the ten-year programme put in from learn to swim to competitive swimming is working well and something for all the kids to look to achieve something with the club.
‘Tigers were the second-best most-improved club at last week’s British Championship. We didn’t get anything for that, but it’s a massive achievement for the us.
‘All we hope for when we attend a championship is for swimmers to target personal best times and if they swim well and get PBs, then if anything else comes along then that is a bonus.
‘There is also possibly the reward of a final or even club or Island records, so it’s everyone’s aim to try and gain a PB when they swim.’
Tigers won six medals at Ponds Forge in Sheffield last week at the British event and a further three more – out of three – were added in the English Championships by the end of Wednesday night.
Scott won silver in the 200m freestyle on Tuesday, then added silver in the 50 free on Wednesday just after Tom Deffains claimed gold in the 200 freestyle.
Deffains in the boys’ 14 years age group, was first into the 50m pool and in the final he led from the front before finishing in two minutes 1.67s, to lower his own club record which he had set in a morning heat.
Deffains, who is more suited to the distance events, will now have his sights on the 400 free, where he would look to double up on his first-ever English National medal.
Scott, later in the evening, went on to claim her second silver in the 14 years section.
It was yet another PB after shaving 0.3 off her own club record, which she also set in a morning heat of 27.51s.
The youngster is now 0.1 off the Junior Island record and both swims maintained Tigers’ 100 per cent conversion rate in Sheffield.
Reflecting on Wednesday’s medals, Jégou said: ‘Both guys had a cracking final, Tom went out hard and held on to produce a swim which I don’t think he dreamt of before starting these championships and he will be full of confidence going into Saturday’s 400 free.
‘Lily had a better start in the final and we knew if she was quicker in that first 15 metres she had a chance to medal, because she always has a strong finish on the 50.
‘They have both obliterated those club records and that’s always a good feeling, knowing who has gone before them in the club.’
Beth Cooper goes in the 1500m today while Deffains swims the 400 free and Tara Box the 200 backstroke tomorrow.