CHARD Swimming Club’s Joss Copeman and Xanthe Dyer, both 12, gained their first regional qualifying times at the Easter Open Meet in Bournemouth, writes Hannah Pullinger.

Copeman recorded his in the 100m backstroke and Dyer in the 100m breaststroke.

This now qualifies them to swim at the South-West regional championships in June.

Meanwhile the club’s team of 12 and under juniors contested the first round of the Southern Junior League at Weymouth Leisure Centre pool last weekend.

The team achieved first place overall beating some stiff competition from Yeovil, West Dorset Warriors, Weymouth, South Dorset Tornadoes and Wells – an excellent result considering some of the youngest swimmers were competing in their first ever gala.

The strength of the team spirit showed with some very noisy support and great singing, with some swimmers even altering their Easter holiday plans so that they were available to swim.

One swimmer to do particularly well was 11-year-old Imogen Waterhouse who achieved the club silver speed badge for swimming 50m freestyle in under 36 seconds for the first time, and taking first place.

Other fine swims, securing an outstanding 41 top three positions out of 49 events came from: First places: Millie Downes, Louis Rood (two events), Jimmy Brett (two events), Abi Greenslade, Imogen Waterhouse, Xanthe Dyer, Simon Davis and Harriet Copeman. Second places: Florence McConnell, Freddie Coles, Louis Whittome, Eden McDonald, Baylei Callow (2 events), Joss Copeman (2 events), Sarah Cawley, Harriet Copeman, Grace Lambert (2 events), Cole Dickinson and Imogen Waterhouse. Third places: Millie Downes and Jamie Porter.

Relay successes: 12 year Girls were first in the Freestyle relay and second in the Medley. The 11year Girls team also achieved first position in the Freestyle and second in the Medley, while the 10 year Girls finished first in both their relays and the 9 year Girls secured second in both their events.

The 9 year Boys team won second place in the Freestyle relay, the 10 year Boys secured first place in both their relays, and the 12 year Boys were placed second in the Freestyle relay. The mixed team also came first in the exciting cannon event which finished the gala. Junior League Squad: Boys: Freddie Coles, Ruben Wild, Sam Hare, Lyndon Smith, Jevan Hampton-Rumbold, Louis Rood, Jamie Porter, Cole Dickinson, Joe Swan, Jimmy Brett, Louis Whittome, Ben Webb, Joe Shrubb, Jacob Hale, Joss Copeman, Simon Davis, Oliver Bright, Jack Thompson.

Girls: Florence McConnell, Maddie Veevers, Mia Porter, Grace Lambert, Sarah Cawley, Jasmine McAuley, Millie Downes, Molly Hunt, Harriet Copeman, Briana Barrand, Abi Greenslade, Mia Huntley, Eden McDonald, Leonie Housham, Imogen Waterhouse, Jess Fowler, Megan Herbert, Xanthe Dyer, Daisy Brett, Baylei Callow.

Chard now look forward to the second round in the series of galas to be held next month.

The club’s swimmers of the month are Henry Taswell 12, Lewis Pearson 14, and Melissa Hanson 16, all of whom gained new regional qualifying times at the recent Somerset championships.