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Brexit Secretary Stephen Barclay presents Wisbech Swimming Club annual Club Championship gala medals at Hudson Leisure Centre

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Wisbech Swimming Club welcomed a very special guest to the first of its annual Club Championship galas.

Brexit Secretary Stephen Barclay (back, right) dashed direct from Westminster to the club’s Hudson Leisure Centre home to present medals and trophies for the 100m breaststroke and 9/Under-25m butterfly events.

Mr Barclay presented the third to first place swimmers with medals, plus trophies to the winners in each age group.

Wisbech Swimming Club Championship. Brexit Secretary Stephen Barclay, back, right. (MFCP-19AF11185)
Wisbech Swimming Club Championship. Brexit Secretary Stephen Barclay, back, right. (MFCP-19AF11185)

Ugne Siskaite set a new championship record in the 9/U female breaststroke and Ridas Rabasauskas did the same in the male 10-11 year age group.

This year, the Club Championships have given swimmers as young as five their first taste of competition, while providing the club’s more experienced athletes the opportunity not only to race against their teammates, but also to gain entry times for the 2020 County Championships in January and February.

Running over eight consecutive Tuesday and Thursday evenings, the Club Champs rely on a team of volunteer officials and others, as well as the assistance and goodwill of Freedom Leisure’s team at the Hudson. The standard this year has been high, with more championship records tumbling and several stand-out performances.

Wisbech consistently punches above its weight, winning the Junior Fenland League again in 2019, against competition including City of Peterborough SC and Boston. The team will turn out for Round 3 of the National Arena League, its last competition of the year, on Saturday.

Head coach Greg Marsters designs and delivers an optimised training programme for the club’s competitive squads, but also credits Wisbech’s high level of success to the training delivered by the club’s coaching team, and the support of its parents, guardians and volunteers.

Training time far exceeds race time, and Club Championships helps motivate swimmers across an age range of 54 years. Athletes training in the club’s most competitive Regional Squad have access to eight coached hours per week, when the 9 year-olds work as long and hard as their more senior clubmates; all in readiness for the County Championships.

The Club Championships also provide a reference that helps Marsters choose teams as he looks ahead to the first of 2020’s league competitions, but he emphasised: “I know that every Wisbech swimmer will compete as hard as they can, and I can’t ask for more than that.”

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