October 2019: North West swimming relay champions

AFTER competing in North West swim relay competitions for four years, our senior swim team was delighted to be placed first!

Competitive swimmers Ashlea Jolly, 16, and 15-year-olds Amy Barlow, Emily Nuttall and Beth Hartwell were North West Divisional freestyle champions at the competition at Lifestyles Everton Park in Liverpool.

They were also second in the individual medley relay with Ashlea swimming breaststroke, Beth backstroke, Emily fly and Amy freestyle.

Emily said: “A lot of the schools that take part in the competition are private and have there own swimming pools in their school grounds.

“We were competing in an older group against 16-18 years olds and so because we were a lot younger, we were not expected to do so well, but we did.”

Ashlea said: “There were two heats and the teams were timed. In the freestyle relay we did not have a team on either side of us so that made it harder.”

When they started in Year 7 they achieved 11th and 12th places and last year the team was placed third in medley and fourth in freestyle.

They will have to wait to see if their time was quick enough to earn a place in the national final on November 16, which will be held at the London Aquatics Centre, home of the 2012 Olympics.

Both Emily and Amy swim with Pioneer 79 at Accrington Academy and Emily completes seven training sessions a week while Amy completes six.

Beth swims with the City of Manchester and trains the most, completing 22 hours each week in the water; she also open water swims in the summer.

Ashlea is a member of Blackburn Centurions Swimming Club and she usually swims five times a week.

They are all no stranger to early morning swims and are usually in the water from 5-7am before they start school or sixth form.