On Sunday 19th January a team of our young swimmers competed in the annual Southport Shrimps gala at Everton Park, Liverpool.
Forty one swimmers ranging in age from 9 to 12 years old competed against other youngsters from Everton, Garston, Crosby, Prescott, Halton, Preston and Southport in a series of relay races.
For many of the younger swimmers this was their first competitive team event and cheered on by their team mates and parents they swam in freestyle, breaststroke, butterfly and individual medlay relays.
Having won the event for the first time in many years last January, Barracudas Head Coach Gillian Rankin knew that to win again would require a tremendous performance from all the swimmers.
Competing against a very strong Southport team the 9 year old girls and boys started well with two third place swims. They were followed by the 10 year old boys medley relay team made up of Finlay Warburton, Matthew Johnson, Johnny Wright and Sebastian Hailwood who secured Leyland’s first win of the afternoon.
After 12 hotly contested events the points were announced and Southport were leading with 79 points followed closely in second place by Leyland with 72 points and then Crosby with 70 points.
As the match continued we clocked up two impressive back to back first place swims by the 9 year old boys butterfly relay team made up of Oliver Owens, Max Roberts, Harry Keogh and Finlay Metcalfe and the 9 year old girls butterfly relay team of Esme Bretherton, Rosa Dunbavin, Felicity Coward and Casey Jack.
Despite some good performances, after 24 events it looked like Southport were pulling away from the rest, extending their lead by 14 points on us as we appeared to have cemented second place pulling away from Crosby who remained in third place.
The following 11 races saw our team pull right back, winning an amazing 5 races in a row and an impressive 7 out of the last 11 races in total.
Neither the swimmers, coaches or the parents in the crowd realised just how close the competition had become as the last race – the 8 length mixed cannon freestyle relay – got underway. All eight swimmers (Philippa Rankin, Finlay Metcalfe, Elizabeth Adam, Johnny Wright, Kate Roberts, Seth Gregson, Emily Wade and Harry Butler) were fantastic but Emily Wade – swimming the last length and coming from behind to touch first and secure the win – fully deserved the cheer she received from the Barracuda supporters in the crowd and on poolside.
As the final results were read out in reverse order it was explained that there had been a tie break for first place between us and Southport. The trophy, it appeared was to go to the team with the most wins.
With an amazing 14 wins out of 35 events and 44 personal best times recorded the win went to the Barracudas showing just how important Emily’s last length of the cannon had been!!
Fantastic performance from the whole team and credit to Chief Coach Gillian Rankin and her team of volunteers.