CALLIGO TIGERS SWIMMING CLUB has once again made a splash on the national stage – this time at the British Summer Championships, in Sheffield.
Following a three-year absence from the event, the young team were determined to prove they had not lost any ground on their competition.
As far as starts go, it could not have gone better for the team, as 14-year-old Isaac Thompson became just the fourth swimmer in Tigers history to claim a British title, in the 13/14-year’s 1500m freestyle.
If that was not enough, the teenager smashed his personal best in the discipline by 15 seconds in the process.
Meanwhile, Sam Sterry smashed his personal best in the Boys 15 years 1500m freestyle by 27 seconds, to secure a silver medal.
Matt Deffains – who has only been out of a cast six weeks since breaking his arm – finished 16th in the Boys 15 years 1500m freestyle.
Siena Stephens swam a strong race to finish 15th in the Girls 15 years 1500m freestyle.
No sooner than Calligo Tigers had a fourth swimmer to claim a British title, a day later Filip Nowacki made it five in the Boys 15 years 100m breaststroke.
He broke two Island junior records in the process, in the heats and then in the final to claim gold in a time of 1.06.77 minutes – nearly a full second clear of second place.
Nowacki was not about to settle there as he claimed a second title in the 15 years 50m breaststroke, while again breaking the Island junior record twice.
Tigers head coach Nathan Jegou said: ‘It’s the first time in the club’s history we have had two different British National age winners, in both Isaac and Filip.
‘Not only that, we still have their strongest events to come.’
Both national champions have made it through to their respective age group finals in the 400m individual medley.
Nowacki came through the heats in first place in the 15 years group, while Thompson is seeded second in the 13/14 years group.
‘What the team have achieved thus far is incredible,’ said Jegou.
‘We aspire to make our swimmers the best athletes they can be and provide that platform.
‘Swimming had it hard through the pandemic and, being an indoor sport, we were one of the last to get back up and running.
‘Given that, I think it’s testament to these kids for not only sticking at it, but working hard enough to achieve something so special.
‘They are not just winning races, they are smashing Island records, which just shows, if anything, we are in a stronger place now than pre-pandemic.’
Elsewhere, Megan Hansford debuted at the championships, finishing 17th in the Girls 16-years 100m backstroke.
Only 0.9 of second split the difference between seventh and 18th in the heats of a hotly contested discipline.
Jegou said: ‘Megan will be all the better for her first experience of this level of swimming.
‘We have four days to go and hopefully the team can carry on enjoying the journey of it all and continue to put in big performances.’