Stockport Metro ‘Wolfpack’ swimmers enjoy medal success

Stockport Metro swimmers Lucky McKenzie, Katie Matts, Anna Newlands, Sean Kelly (coach), Emma Gage and Holly Hibbott
Stockport Metro swimmers Lucky McKenzie, Katie Matts, Anna Newlands, Emma Gage and Holly Hibott with coach Sean Kelly

Stockport Metro swimmers enjoyed string of summer successes with 38 medals from the British Summer Champs and English Home Nations.

The club won 10 gold medals at the British Summer Champs at Sheffield’s Ponds Forge.

Notable performances came from Katie Matts (17), who won golds in the 100m and 200m breaststroke and the 200m individual medley, and Holly Hibbott (16), who swam one of her best-ever times to secure the 400m freestyle title, as well as winning golds in the 200m butterfly and 800m freestyle.

Having also recently swum a world ranking time of 4.08 at the European Junior Champs in Hungary, the British Summer Champs was another indicator of great things to come from the Stockport swimmer.

Another inspirational swim came from Emma Gage (27), who only returned to performance swimming last year having retired at the age of 16 due to injury and to focus on her education.

Emma won silver in the 50m butterfly and topped the podium alongside Katie, Holly, Lucy McKenzie and Anna Newlands in the 4x100m freestyle, 4x200m freestyle and the 4x100m medley relays.

Emma said: “It was an amazing competition for the club. The final event was the medley relay which we weren’t favourites to win, at least on paper.

“The pressure was really on – I certainly felt it as the anchor leg. When we won the gold it was fantastic and a great way to round off a very successful competition.

“It was also Anna’s last race with us – she’s heading off to university – so the whole thing was pretty emotional.”

National success

Fellow British Summer National medal winners were; Lizzie Harris (15) 200m freestyle silver and 400m freestyle bronze, Holly Hibbott (16) 200m freestyle silver and 100m butterfly bronze, Katie Matts (17) 50m breaststroke silver, and Lucy McKenzie (19) 400m freestyle silver and 400m IM bronze.

Stockport Metro swimmer Oliver Crosby with coach Richard Blackshaw
Oliver Crosby with coach Richard Blackshaw

The successful meet was followed up by an impressive performance at the English Home Nations where, securing 20 medals in total, Life Leisure’s Stockport Metro was the top performing club.

Stockport Metro’s 17-year-old Oliver Crosby who was the star story.

Having broken his leg in a freak accident in September 2015, Oliver’s swimming career was in doubt and doctors advised that he may have to resign himself to early retirement.

But Oliver underwent a rigorous rehabilitation programme, the results of which were evident at the English Home Nations with golds in the 100m and 200m breaststroke, and the 200m IM.

Oliver’s success was joined by several of his team-mates standing on the top of the podium.

Simon Smith (31) and Hannah Jones (18) in their final competition for Stockport Metro won golds in the 50m breaststroke and 400m IM respectively.

Ciaran Beard-Jones (21) held his title for the second year running achieving a gold medal in the 100m backstroke, Ciara Standing (17) with a massive personal best won gold in the 50m backstroke, Megan Sheard (15) became double national champion with victories in the 200m IM and 400 freestyle and Alisha Hawkins (15) completed a very successful second week for the Wolfpack with gold in the 800m freestyle.

Fellow Home Nations Medal winners were, Kiera Henley (15) 200m freestyle silver, Jake Clappison (16) 100m freestyle silver, Megan Sheard (15) 200 butterfly silver, Alisha Hawkins (15) 200m IM and 100m freestyle silvers, and 200 freestyle bronze, Daniel New (15) 50m breaststroke bronze, Kate Butler (13) 200m backstroke bronze, Rebecca Pearson (13) 200m breaststroke bronze and, Amy West (12) 200m breaststroke bronze.

Stockport Metro Performance Director Sean Kelly, said:  “It’s been a bit of a rollercoaster year for the club.

“We were really disappointed not to have had any qualifiers for Rio – a number of our swimmers narrowly missed out on places. But the secret of true success is the ability to bounce back and the performances at these recent competitions demonstrates the dedication, talent and potential in the team. I’m incredibly proud of them.”