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Cheltenham’s synchro enjoy excellent win in Walsall Trophy

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Author: Roger Jackson, Posted: Wednesday, 6th June 2018, 11:10

Captain Anabella Phipps Captain Anabella Phipps

Words like ‘proud’, ‘fantastic’ and ‘superb’ tripped off the tongues of the coaches as Cheltenham’s synchro team began the competition season in great style.

Cheltenham were the overall winners at the annual Walsall Trophy competition held in Cheltenham but not only that, all of their entries won medals.

It’s often a bit of a rush at this time of year trying to get routines choreographed and taught in time, and this year the coaches prepared six duets and three teams.

Firstly to the duets, and in the 12 and under section, Evie Parker and Marianne Baker – with reserve Madeleine Watine – swam with confidence despite this being their first routine competition.

This was also the first duet coach Ellen Butt had choreographed, and she certainly did a great job as the swimmers came third in the grade 1 and under category.

The club’s other 12 and under entry was Jocelyn Butt, Sophie Gregory and reserve Amy Griffiths. Their routine to Angry Birds was choreographed by Sam Fancourt, with Ellen Butt and Becky Gregory also coaching. This was another confident swim by young swimmers which gained them silver medals in the grade 2 and under event.

Charlotte Davis choreographed both of the 13-15 age group duets and both routines were clear winners in their events.

Daisy Gothard, Bianca Thomas and reserve Anusha Heritage won gold for their Spanish routine in the grade 2 and under category while Laura Davis, Alex Scrivens and Georgia Williams also came first in grade 3 and under. Both routines were artistic, fast and difficult, but the swimmers rose to the challenge.

In the 15-18 grade 3 and under event, Camilla Dickson and Madeleine Colwell had a clean swim to another Angry Birds routine, choreographed by Sarah Pullan, and they were very pleased to win silver medals.

In the same age group, grade 3 and above category, Anabella Phipps and Petra Gilbert also won silver medals against very tough opposition. Their routine was choreographed by Sam Fancourt.

The final duet event was the 19 and over age group, which was considerably older than swimmers Annmarie Thouless and Sam Fancourt, who were delighted to win gold medals with their King Arthur routine. This was coached by Ellen Butt.

Cheltenham were just as successful in the team events. First up were the 12 and under team, choreographed by Sarah Pullan to music from Madagascar. It was the first time any of them had competed in a team event and they were delighted to win gold medals.

The under-15 team were choreographed by Charlotte Davis to music from La La Land and coached by Charlotte and Steve Merrett.

The team had a mix of experienced swimmers plus those who had never swum in a team event before. All were challenged by the routine, but learned to pull together as a team and they fully deserved their silver medals.

Finally in the 13-18 grade 3 and over event, Sam Fancourt’s team to music from Pan won silver medals.

Not surprisingly after those performances, Cheltenham won the competition by a clear 42 points.

It is only the second time that they have won the competition and again, not surprisingly, the coaches were absolutely chuffed to bits.

“I am really proud of the 12 and under team,” said Sarah Pullan. “For all of them it is their first synchro team and they have worked really hard to learn and swim a difficult routine, and to win the gold medals was just fantastic.”

Ellen Butt was just as pleased.

“I would like to say how proud I am of all improvers, the hard work they put into learning the duet routine, and how well they supported each other throughout training and at the Walsall Trophy competition,” she said.

“I had the unenviable task of selecting two swimmers for the competition and one reserve, who then all worked even harder by attending all training sessions and practising at home to improve and consolidate their performance.

“At the competition Marianne [Baker] and Evie [Parker], supported by Madeleine [Watine] rose to the occasion with a superb performance which secured them a bronze medal.

“It was a great day witnessing so many great performances, made even sweeter to see the joy winning the Walsall Trophy brought.”

Charlotte Davis added: “I am extremely proud of all the girls, especially those who have stepped up to a new squad and were competing for the first time. They have been working hard and it has been a pleasure for me as a new coach to work with them.”

And Sam Fancourt said: “Thanks to so many people who helped at this competition. As the host club we had to supply a number of helpers as well as judges, scorers, timekeepers and a referee. On top of this, there were also parents helping with swimming costumes, doing make-up and generally rounding swimmers up and preventing the team manager – me! – from getting too stressed out!

“The swimmers were all well behaved, keen to support each other and prepared to swim their best, and this resulted in lots of medals and a giant shield.”

Other Images

The successful Cheltenham synchro team

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