Derbyshire Institute of Sport (DIS) swimmers notched a hat-trick of successes at the British Swimming National Summer Championships in Sheffield last night (July 26).
Programme ambassador Abbie Wood (pictured right), now swimming for Loughborough University, was victorious in the 400m individual medley 17-18 years.
And current DIS Gold Programme athletes Imogen Clark and Sarah Vasey (pictured below) both won the 50m breaststroke sprints in their respective age categories – 17 to 18 years and 19-plus respectively.
Buxton swimmer Wood, 17, who was European Games gold medallist last year over her favourite 400m IM discipline was only third fastest after the heats, behind Maidenhead’s Constance Dean and Mova Centurion’s Rosie Rudin.
But coming off the back of a European Junior Championships bronze medal secured in Hungary earlier this month, the former Buxton Community School student won by more than two seconds in 4.42.20.
It was a time that would have been good enough to win the older 19+ category and was only 0.23 seconds outside her personal best of 4.41.97.
“I was really happy with my swim and I wasn’t expecting to go that fast at all,” said Abbie afterwards.
“I was going into it third and I didn’t know how people would develop from the heats to the final, but I was just happy to go close to my PB.
“I wasn’t taking it steady in the morning heat, but I think I was day-dreaming a bit and not concentrating. But it was good because that made me get my head into it a bit more than if I’d qualified first.
“It’s been a good experience for me because I swam the race differently. I went out a lot slower at first and quicker on my middle 200m, so I know if I can get all my best bits together in one race I will PB, which gives me confidence for next season.”
Morton’s Imogen, the British record holder over the short course 50m breaststroke at 30.02, had no problems making it through her heat as a winner and was equally comfortable in her final.
In it, the Derventio eXcel swimmer was just a tenth of a second down on her long course personal best, touching in 31.23, more than half a second clear of her nearest rival.
Imogen, who has focussed much of her training this season on the longer Olympic distance of 100m, said: “I think it was a good performance.
There’s been a lot of change this year with the squads and the coaches, so I’m happy with that.
“For me it’s more about the longer term processes towards 2018 and 2020 and keeping fired up. I think my body is changing a lot and I’m getting a lot stronger.
“It’s pleasing to win after being a bit disappointed at the Olympic trials, but I don’t really hold that in my mind… when’s it’s done, it’s done – you can’t go back and change anything.
“Things like that just make you stronger and more determined to go even harder in training.”
Allestree’s Sarah, 19, ranked number one in the UK over the 50m distance in breaststroke, was also well ahead of her nearest rivals in heats and the final.
The City of Derby swimmer clocked 31.27 in the morning and improved that to 30.84 in the evening final, just under half a second clear of second place, but just outside her season’s best 30.62, set in the ASA East Midland Region Swimming Championships.