ETTINGTON teenager and Stratford Sharks swimmer Dan Cox delivered an outstanding performance in the final of the 100m breaststroke at the English National Championships in Sheffield to win the gold medal.
The 16-year-old finished ahead of the two other swimmers who had beaten him into third place in the heats earlier in the day at Ponds Forge.
As well as taking the gold, Cox also recorded a new personal best, some 1.5s faster than his time in the heat as well as being the first Stratford Sharks member to have ever won a medal at the National Championships.
The story does not end there because earlier in the week Cox had suffered chronic shoulder pain whilst on holiday in Cornwall and only a desperate dash back to see Charlie Rawlings, his physiotherapist, prevented him from withdrawing from the championships altogether.
The treatment must have worked as Cox not only won the 100m, but also qualified for the 200m and 50m finals where he finished in fourth and fifth place respectively.
He achieved PBs in all his heats, reflecting his dedication and commitment to training where all his hard work finally paid off.
This was not the only swimmer that represented TeamSharks at the National Championships, with the others who qualified in a tight eight-week period receiving the following accolade from head coach Kim Mortimer.
“We had such a fantastic National Championships this year in a range of ages, distances and strokes and I am so proud of all TeamSharks who represented us,” she said.
“It is a definite total team effort and we will continue to build the swimming programme for next year.”
In the 13-year-old age group, Leah Bowen and Charlotte Harding competed in the 100m freestyle and 200m backstroke respectively, with Bowen reaching the final and finishing ninth while 12-year-old Harding finished in 19th place.
Going up an age group, Rebecca Morrison finished in fourth place in the Scottish National Championships for 14-year olds in the 1,500m.
Back in the English Championships, Ellie Harsant finished in 16th place in the 15-year-old 100m backstroke. Another 16-year-old in Lauren Maher came 21st in the 100m breaststroke at the Irish Nationals.
Issy Callaghan, competing in the 17+ age, also reached the final of the 200m breaststroke, finishing in sixth place, having finished 15th with the same stroke in the 50m.
In her first attempt, 13-year-old Bowen also qualified for the over ten-year-old National Open Water Championships, held at Thrybergh Country Park, Rotherham, where she finished a very commendable 23rd place in the 2km swim.