5 October 2010

Sunday saw the City of Leeds overcome strong opposition to be crowned Northern League Champions and will now progress to the National Final in November.

Final standings

  1. City of Leeds 246
  2. City of Liverpool 200
  3. Southport Aqua 198
  4. City of Newcastle 136
  5. Halesowen 127
  6. Lincoln Vulcans 104

Fresh from their victory in the White Rose Gala, the City of Leeds Junior League Team headed to Louth, Lincolnshire this weekend to make their first ever appearance in the Northern Area Final of the National Junior League. The prize on offer was a place in the National Final, to be held in Liverpool at the end of November.

The competition was always going to be tough with City of Liverpool, City of Newcastle, Lincoln Vulcans, Halesowen and last years Northern Final Champions Southport Aqua completing the line up of teams.

Right from the start the team looked like they were up for the challenge, and with some very vocal support the City of Leeds got off to a great start winning the first 4 events. This gave the team great momentum and City of Leeds never placed outside the top 2 positions in the first block of relay events. Moving into the individual events the team kept up the good work with early wins for Huzayfa Kayani and Toby Kitching. At the first points check after 12 events City of Leeds had built up a 14 point lead over City of Liverpool.

As the individual events continued there were wins for Kiani Campbell-Grady, Katherine Fisher, Ellie Jones, Liam Birrell, Toby Kitching and Blake Bennett. After 24 events the City of Leeds had only finished outside the top 2 positions on 4 occasions and at the halfway points check they had extended their lead to 26 points, with Southport Aqua making up ground to move into second place.

After short break for everyone to catch their breath, the competition continued with things really hotting up. As the individual events continued their were wins for Billy Walker, Elle Pickett, Euan Cowan (2), Liam Birrell, and Chloe Adams. City of Leeds won 14 out of 32 individual events with many finishes that were far too tight to call as the swimmers fought for every point. At the points check City of Leeds had again extend their lead which was now 46 points over Southport Aqua.

As the competition moved into its final phase, the tension was building with City of Leeds having to work hard to maintain their dominance. Despite only picking up 3 victories in the final relay events the City of Leeds maintained their excellent consistency, finishing outside the top 2 only once. With all the events swum the teams waited with baited breath for the final standings, to find out who had made it through to the National Final and who would be crowned Northern Area Champions.

As the results were announced it became clear that it was a three horse race and with a strong finish from City of Liverpool pushing them into second place above local rivals Southport Aqua, City of Leeds were crowned Northern Area Champions on their first appearance in the final.

Well done to all the swimmers, staff and supports for a fantastic effort. City of Leeds placed in the top two positions in 37 out of 49 events, only finishing outside the top three on three occasions.

City of Leeds will now go to Liverpool on November 28th to compete in the National Junior League final along with City of Liverpool, Southport Aqua and City of Newcastle where they will face the top 4 teams from the Southern Area Final.