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Mount Kelly cash in as first-ever Challenge68 champions

Mount Kelly cashed in as they were crowned the first winners of Swim England’s Challenge68.

Athena Clayson, Alessandro Burdisso, Macy Lawrence and Sam Dailley pocketed £400 after winning the 200m Medley Team race which was the final exciting event of the Swim England National Winter Championships.

The quartet clocked 1:52.14 to finish ahead of their team-mates, Mount Kelly B, who finished in 1:54.09.

It proved to be a profitable evening for the B Team of Alex Mason, Ben Harrison, Emily Haimes and Georgina Dennis as they collected £320 for second place on top of the £140 they had already won for finishing first in the heats.

Derventio’s team of Mia Slevin, Ryan Reader, Jacob Whittle, and Bethan Thomas were third in 1:54.79 and won £280.

City of Milton Keynes’ Grace Spong, Miles Drabwell, Joshua Press and Aiyana Lawson were the other heat winners to pocket £140.

Clayson, of the victorious Mount Kelly team, said: “I think all of us have individual strokes but the way we really bonded as team was with our takeovers.

Mount Kelly's victorious Challenge68 team with their £400 cheque at the Swim England National Winter Championships

“It’s really good [to win] because we were first and second as a school so I think our headmaster and the coaches will be really happy with what a good job we’ve done.”

Challenge68 is a mixed relay race where mixed teams of four from the same club with a combined age of up to 68 years compete to win cash.

Each race began with the backstroke but the order of the next three legs was drawn at random after teams had already confirmed their line-ups.

Commemorative golds won in 400m Freestyle relays

Meanwhile, the final relays of the National Winter Championships saw two commemorative gold medallists.

In the Women’s 400m Freestyle event, High Performance Centre Ontario’s team of Penny Oleksiak, Kayla Sanchez, Taylor Ruck and Hanna Henderson finished in 3:30.08 to take top spot.

That was 8.56 seconds clear of Loughborough University’s Marie Wattel, Emily Crane, Emily Barclay and Amy Grant who took the open gold in 3:38.64.

Mount Kelly’s quartet of Lawrence, Clayson, Dennis and Haimes were the open silver medallists in 3:43.97.

Hamilton UAE’s Rosie Morgan, Emily Peck, Daniela Cogswell and Victoria Deona Bergeli were the commemorative bronze medallists after clocking 3:45.74, with Nova Centurion’s Polly Holden, Freya Colbert, Courteney Price and Rachel Cox taking the open bronze in 3:48.43.

In the Men’s 400m Freestyle team event, Bangor’s Curtis Coulter, Jack McMillan, Jordan Sloan and David Thompson finished first in 3:14.25.

Only 0.46 seconds behind them were Loughborough University’s James Oxborrow, Miles Mackenzie, Kevin Wallbank, Brian O’Sullivan, who clocked 3:14.71.

Plymouth Leander’s Edoardo Valsecchi, Freddy Clampett, Reid Jones and Adam Davies clocked 3:19.58 to take the open silver medal.

Hamilton UAE’s Richard Kozhabayev, Joseph Page, Sean McNicholl and Cameron Matthews took commemorative bronze in 3:20.61, with Ben Taylor-Walsh, Samuel Lawman, Joseph Sadio and Ryan Flanagan, of East Leeds, winning the open bronze in 3:20.86.

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