City of Coventry Head coach and former GB international swimmer Jo Deakins reports from the 2002 Speedo League A final
An exciting Speedo league A final took place at Crystal Palace today, with Kingston upon Hull emerging as the eventual winners, having led for virtually the entire gala. The Hull club proved that their north eastern final win over rivals City of Leeds was no fluke as they beat pre-gala favourites Portsmouth Northsea by an impressive margin of 31 points, and also took the relay challenge trophy comfortably from City of Liverpool
The final ultimately split into three separate battles, with Northsea and Hull fighting for the title, Liverpool, Coventry and Millfield battling for third and Ipswich, Northampton and Aberdeen duelling for the minor places. Northsea were unable to make up their early deficit however and had to settle for second place. At one stage it looked as though Coventry might overhaul Liverpool for third, as they closed to within 2 points, but the Mersey club managed to open a telling points advantage leading into the relays, giving the midlands club too much to catch up.
The top male and female awards were won by Adam Whitehead, for his 100 breaststroke, and Katy Sexton, for the 100 backstroke, respectively. Neither showed too many ill effects from the orientation camp they have been on at Crystal Palace this week. Coventry Head coach Jo was particularly pleased with Adam’s swim of 1:02.39 in the breaststroke, given the volume of training undertaken over the past 7 days.
15 year old, Michael Rock, showed that butterfly swimming is alive and well in Liverpool, despite the absence of old boy Steve Parry, winning the 15 years 100 fly in an impressive 58.26 to win by a clear margin. He also picked up the top boy in his age group.
Francesca Halsall from Liverpool, swimming in the 11 and under age group, clocked an extremely quick 28.40 for the 50 freestyle and an even more impressive 50 backstroke time of 32.68, to win that event by more than 3 seconds. Unsurprisingly her efforts earnt her the top girl in her age group.
Elsewhere, 13 year old David Waslin of Hull swam a fast 1:02.50 100 backstroke to secure the best boy award whilst Portsmouth’s Louise Cox and Millfield’s Georgina Holderness both won several races in their respective age groups to win top girl awards. Joshua Cressey completed a good afternoon for Hull by winning the top boy in the 11 and under age group.
In one of the best races of the afternoon, Ros Brett, swimming for her home club of Hull, beat butterfly specialist Marge Pedder of Portsmouth by just 0.4s, with a respectable 1:02.00 for the 100m.
Karen Pickering celebrated 20 years of competing in the Speedo league in style by winning her individual 100m free in 56.72 from Ros Brett (58.5). As usual Pickering was an excellent example for the sport, getting fully involved in Ipswich’s team performance and actively supporting the Ipswich junior swimmers in all age groups
The atmosphere generated by all of the spectators, who were extremely vocal in support of their respective teams, was excellent, but Portsmouth’s supporters were judged to be the best.
All in all, an excellent final. Portsmouth may be disappointed not to have taken full advantage of Leed’s absence from the A final, but Hull showed the way to win as having a strong all round team.
- Kingston upon Hull: 315pts
- Portsmouth Northsea: 284pts
- City of Liverpool: 257pts
- City of Coventry: 249pts
- Millfield: 223pts
- Ipswich: 163pts
- Northampton: 159pts
- City of Aberdeen: 149pts
Top Male: Adam Whitehead, City of Coventry, 100 Breastroke, 939 GB ponts, 1:02.39
Top Female: Katy Sexton, Portsmouth Northsea, 100 Backstroke, 902 GB Points, 1:03.16
Top Boy: Joshua Cressey (Kingston upon Hull)
Top Girl: Francesca Halsall (City of Liverpool)
Top Boy: David Waslin (Kingston upon Hull)
Top Girl: Louse Cox (Portsmouth Northsea)
Top Boy: Michael Rock (City of Liverpool)
Top Girl: Georgina Holderness (Millfield)
- Kingston upon Hull: —
- City of Liverpool: +36.44s
- Portsmouth Northsea: +41.86s
- City of Coventry: +43.24s
- Millfield: +70.29s
- Ipswich: +98.60s
- Northampton: +101.23s
- City of Aberdeen: +114.82s
Best supporters: Portsmouth Northsea