Otters take on the best at British Gas International Championships

Carnforth Otters Jess Shatford, Josh Thompson and Rachel Ritchie at the British Gas International Championships in Manchester.
Carnforth Otters Jess Shatford, Josh Thompson and Rachel Ritchie at the British Gas International Championships in Manchester.

Three young swimmers from Carnforth Otters were in action at the British Gas International Championships in Manchester.

Bringing together many of the country’s Olympic and Commonwealth swimmers, as well up and coming youth talent from across the country and beyond, the event was a great opportunity for Jess Shatford, 14, Josh Thompson, 16, and Rachel Ritchie. 18, to experience top level racing and pit themselves against the some of the best in the business.

This was Jess’s first experience at senior level and she managed to hold her nerve and swim right on her personal best time in the 50m breaststroke heats to win a place in the junior women’s, 16 and under, final.

The following morning, Jess had a brilliant swim in a closely fought race, finishing in seventh in a time of 35.42.

Josh’s first event was the 50m breaststroke where he clocked a personal best time of 29.53, fast enough to secure a place in the junior men’s, 18 and under, final, leaving him the fastest in his age group and take him into the European junior rankings for the first time in seventh.

In the final Josh held his form and put in another superb time of 29.69 to win bronze.

This was followed with an equally impressive swim in the 100m breaststroke heats, winning a place in the final with a personal best time of 1.05.93.

Josh then managed to shave off a further half second in the final to come home in the silver medal position with a blistering 1.05.44, another British number one time.

Rachel competed in both the 50m and 100m breaststroke events and while narrowly missing a place in the Open final of the 100m swim she progressed easily to the final of the 50m event with an excellent swim of 33.13.

The final was a close run race where Rachel put in an excellent performance of 33.34, finishing just outside the medals in fourth place.

Rachel also swam the breaststroke leg in the 4 x 100m medley relay team with fellow swimmers from City of Manchester including Olympian Jess Lloyd who swam the freestyle leg.

In a close race with Plymouth Leander, the Manchester A team were just pipped at the post into second.