Records tumbled as hundreds of swimmers battled it out across three days of action at the Swim Wales Winter Championships 2023.
A total of six Welsh records were broken at Wales National Pool during the short course championships as Olympians and Commonwealth Games medallists took to the pool.
Day one in Swansea witnessed a breaststroke battle to remember as Commonwealth Games teammates Lewis Fraser and Kyle Booth went head-to-head. City of Cardiff swimmer Booth began the day by clinching a new 50m Breaststroke record of 27.01 seconds to head into the final as fastest qualifier. But his record would only stand for a few hours as Fraser knocked another 0.14 seconds off the mark to clinch the gold medal and put himself 12th on the all-time British list.
Oscar Barlow claimed the 200m IM crown, Jessica Podger of Millfield beat Rebecca Sutton to earn gold in the Women’s 200m Freestyle and Kameliya Stoimenova won the Women’s 50m Breast in a time of 31.68.
Distance star Daniel Jervis powered to victory in the Men’s 400m Freestyle/
In the Men’s 200m Back Oscar Barlow led a Swansea Uni one, two, three to win in 1.57.20 while Scarlet Major romped to a five-second triumph in the women’s event. After setting a new Breaststroke standard, Fraser completed a golden night with victory in the 100m Fly, while Harriet Jones kicked off what would turn out to be a stunning performance across two disciplines with gold in the women’s event. A lifetime best from Dan Jones (21.57) earned gold in the 50m Freestyle to round off a memorable first day.
Tokyo Olympian Harriet Jones and Commonwealth star Fraser had produced two of the highlights on the opening day, and they wasted no time stamping their mark on a super Saturday in Swansea.
Jones began the day by equalling Harriet West’s Welsh 50m Fly record in the Heats, before breaking her own four-year-old record in the 50m Freestyle. She went on to lower that mark by another 0.14 seconds to set a new standard of 25.07 en route to another double gold.
Fraser overcame the challenge of Booth in record time in the 100m Breast (58.29) before sealing another gold medal in the men’s 50m Fly final ahead of Dan Jones, who reigned supreme in the 100m Freestyle with another personal best.
Laura Sharp edged out Seren Tallantyre in the 200m IM, Cira Fletcher earned Women’s 100m Breast gold, Major claimed her second title in the Women’s 100m Back and Alex Painter triumphed in the Men’s event.
Morpeth’s Seren Tallantyre announced herself on the final day as she broke Jemma Lowe’s 18-year-old Welsh Junior 200m SC Butterfly record as she swam a two-second PB to finish second in the A Final in a time of 2:13.51, half a second behind Swansea University’s Catherine El Roberts.
Alex Painter claimed his second title of the meet as he edged out Millfield teammate Alexander Sargeant in the 200m Free before Harriet Jones won her fifth gold of the Championships in the 100m Freestyle. Rhys Edwards dominated to win the Men’s 200m Fly, and Max Elkin beat Jack Knight to the touch to win the Men’s 50m Back.
After missing out in the Freestyle, Commonwealth Games swimmer Sutton was fastest in the 50m Backstroke in a time of 27.89, while Commonwealth Youth medallist Max Anderson continued his development with victory in the Men’s 200 Breast. The Women’s 200m Breaststroke brought the curtain down on a Championships to remember, and it was Swansea University’s Stoimenova who touched first to earn another victory for Swansea University swimmers.
Swim Wales National Performance Director Ross Nicholas said: “The 2023 Swim Wales Winter Championships was one of the most competitive, and fastest Welsh short course meet in recent memory. Over three days, we saw six new Welsh records set and many more personal bests, which is exciting to see as we head into an Olympic year.
“I would like to thank the officials and volunteers who give their valuable time to make these events possible.”