Buxton swimmer claims victory at national summer championships

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Buxton swimmer Abbie Wood was victorious at the British Swimming National Summer Championships in Sheffield.

The 17-year-old, now swimming for Loughborough University, won the 400m individual medley age category (17-18 years).

The Derbyshire Institute of Sport (DIS) swimmer, who was European Games gold medallist last year over her favourite 400m IM discipline, was only third fastest after the heats, behind Maidenhead’s Constance Dean and Mova Centurion’s Rosie Rudin.

But coming off the back of a European Junior Championships bronze medal secured in Hungary earlier this month, the former Buxton Community School student won by more than two seconds in 4.42.20.

It was a time that would have been good enough to win the older 19+ category and was only 0.23 seconds outside her personal best of 4.41.97.

“I was really happy with my swim and I wasn’t expecting to go that fast at all,” said Wood.

“I was going into it third and I didn’t know how people would develop from the heats to the final, but I was just happy to go close to my PB.

“I wasn’t taking it steady in the morning heat, but I think I was day-dreaming a bit and not concentrating. But it was good because that made me get my head into it a bit more than if I’d qualified first.

“It’s been a good experience for me because I swam the race differently. I went out a lot slower at first and quicker on my middle 200m, so I know if I can get all my best bits together in one race I will PB, which gives me confidence for next season.”

DIS Gold Programme athletes Imogen Clark and Sarah Vasey both won the 50m breaststroke sprints in their respective age categories.

The athletes have been given extensive support through expert coaching, bespoke strength and conditioning programmes, physiotherapy and nutritional and lifestyle advice as part of the DIS programme. They are also on the ICON Bursary programme, which is currently open for 2016-17 applications.