Leeds swimmer and Olympic hopeful Sophie Taylor will represent England in this summer’s Commonwealth Games thanks to her incredible record-breaking efforts in the recent British Championships.
The City of Leeds Swimming Club’s success does not end there, though, with three junior athletes being selected for Great Britain’s European Junior Team. Head coach Richard Denigan was thrilled with the outcome.
He said: “The athletes performed beyond expectations. The results we achieved are the best at the British Championships for many years.
“Sophie Taylor achieved two commonwealth games consideration times which is a great achievement.”
Taylor, who was undoubtedly the star of the show, managed victory in the 50m, 100m and 200m breaststroke and it is the first time such a feat has been achieved since 2007. Denigan labelled the 18-year-old’s efforts as “an amazing achievement.”
He added: “On the way to her three golds she broke her own British 100m breaststroke record, the English 200m breaststroke record and the 50m breaststroke record for the 18s age group.
“We are all extremely proud of her.”
The Harrogate-born swimmer, who has been confirmed as one of six Leeds batonbearers for the Queen’s baton relay leading up to Glasgow 2014, was arguably most impressive in her 200m win, stopping the clock four seconds ahead of her previous personal best and beating off competition from two-time Olympian Hannah Miley, who is six years her senior, to take the title.
She said: “It hasn’t sunk in yet. I thought I had gone out too fast but I’ve been trying to push myself all season.
“To have taken four seconds off my personal best is amazing and I’m really chuffed to have broken the record. I can’t believe I’ve won all three British breaststroke titles,” she added. “I didn’t expect it at all, especially the 200m, but it’s absolutely amazing.”
After her selection for Glasgow 2014 was confirmed, she could not hide her delight, saying, “(I’m in) shock, disbelief and pure happiness, trials couldn’t have gone any better!
Also within the breaststroke events, 13-year-old Layla Black qualified for the senior 200m breaststroke final and broke the British record for her age group.
Black was the youngest finalist throughout the entirety of the British Championships, something which Denigan described as “a very high level performance.”
Meanwhile, three other youngsters from the City of Leeds Swimming Club, Georgia Coates, Amelia Clynes and Magdalena Cygan, have been selected to represent Great Britain in Holland’s European Junior Championships held on July 9/13.
Denigan was unmistakably proud of the efforts from his junior team.
He said: “This is a fantastic achievement because Leeds have the largest representation from one club for this British team. It proves that the Leeds City Council swimming programme, from lessons to the elite end, is working very well.”