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.