PLACES on the podium eluded the six swimmers from Amersham Swimming Club at this year’s ASA National Youth Championships in Sheffield.

But just taking part was a major achievement for the youngsters, who qualified for an event bringing together the best swimmers in the country after attaining the required entry standards.

Sarah Hammond, 14, competing for the first time at youths, swam in the 100m butterfly and finished in 1 minute 6.79 seconds.

Holly Williams, 15, also qualified for the 100m butterfly and clocked 1:07.44.

Eleanor Dolan, 16, excelled in the backstroke events, with a time of 1:06.16 in the 100m and qualifying for the final of the 200m backstroke with a semi-final time of 2:17.80‚ a new club record‚ before going on to finish ninth in the final.

She also set a new club record in the 200m medley in a time of 2:23.34.

Katherine Shaw, 16, was a contender in the 50m (27.76 seconds), 100m (58.70) and 200m freestyle (2:09.14) and also the 100m and 200m backstroke, in which she clocked 1:06.39 and 2:22.98.

Sophie Elphick, 17, made it to the semi-final stage of the 100m breaststroke with a club record time of 1:13.76 and, after producing another club record (2:34.18) in the semis of the 200m breaststroke, went on to finish ninth in the final.

She also achieved personal bests in the 400m freestyle (4:29.83) and 800m freestyle (9:15.79 – a new club record).

Amersham also had three teams competing in the relay events, having met challenging entry standards during the previous 12 months.

Shaw, Elphick, Williams and Dolan swam in the 4x100m freestyle and Juliet Flamank joined Shaw, Elphick and Dolan in the 4x200m freestyle.

The climax of Amersham’s campaign came on the final day of the championships in the medley relay.

Dolan (backstroke), Elphick (breaststroke), Williams (butterfly) and Shaw (freestyle) swam superbly to earn themselves a place in the final, and a highly creditable 10 th place.