Leyland Barracudas youngsters claim gala prize

The Leyland Barracudas youngsters at Everton Park
The Leyland Barracudas youngsters at Everton Park

Leyland Barracudas swimming club brought home the trophy from 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.

Competing against a very strong Southport team, the nine 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.

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 Leyland clocked up two impressive first-place swims by the nine year old boys’ butterfly relay team of Oliver Owens, Max Roberts, Harry Keogh and Finlay Metcalfe and the nine year old girls’ butterfly relay team of Esme Bretherton, Rosa Dunbavin, Felicity Coward and Casey Jack.

But after 24 events it looked like Southport were pulling away from the rest extending their lead by 14 points on Leyland who seemed to have cemented their second place.

The following 11 races saw Leyland pull right back, winning five in a row and seven out of the last 11 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 eight-length mixed cannon freestyle relay – got under way.

All eight swimmers – Philippa Rankin, Finlay Metcalfe, Elizabeth Adam, Johnny Wright, Kate Roberts, Seth Gregson, Emily Wade and Harry Butler – were fantastic.

But 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 supporterse.

As the final results were read out, there had been a tie break for first place between Leyland and Southport who finished on equal points. The trophy, it appeared was to go to the team with the most wins.

With 14 wins out of 35 events and 44 personal best times recorded the win went to Leyland showing just how important Wade’s last length of the cannon had been.