Harrogate swimmers rise to Ponds Forge challenge at Zonal meet

Matthew Rudolph, Charles Lonsborough and Joseph Porter all won medals

Matthew Rudolph, Charles Lonsborough and Joseph Porter all won medals

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Ponds Forge was the venue for the team of swimmers from Harrogate District Club who travelled to Sheffield on the last weekend of January to compete in the ASA National Zonal Swimming Meet North.

Designed to bridge the gap between regional and national competitions, the Zonal meet attracts senior age group and national swimmers of the highest level and follows a heat and finals format with the top ten qualifying from the heats.

The event also provided several of club coach Ian Spencer’s ‘Performance Squad’ an opportunity to qualify for the Commonwealth Games Trails to be held in Glasgow in April.

Eighteen-year-old Matthew Rudolph achieved a second place in the 100m backstroke.

He followed this with a third place in the 200m backstroke, with his time in the latter event an agonising 2/10th short of the Commonwealth Games trials standard.

Another chasing a qualifying time to swim in Glasgow, 17-year-old Joseph Porter, also came extremely close in finishing second in the 200m butterfly.

Rossett School pupil Joe also missed the trials cut-off by 2/10ths of a second and like Rudolph will get a final chance to achieve the mark at the forthcoming Yorkshire Championships.

The 200m butterfly was also the successful event for the Harrogate club with Charles Lonsbrough, 18, chasing Porter home in third place.

Head coach Spencer was pleased with the efforts of his charges over the weekend with an increased number making the finals compared to the 2013 event.

These included 17-year-olds Brandon Chan, James Thompson, Nathan Hale 18and Kate Lewis 14.

A special mention however must go to 17-year-old Matthew Law.

He made the final of the 50m, 100m and 200m breaststroke events swimmingly strongly all weekend.

But in securing sixth place in the 200m event, he achieved his first individual ASA National Youth Championships qualifying time for the Youth nationals to be held this summer in Sheffield.