CAPTAINS inspired their younger teammates to star in the pool for Knutsford Vikings at the year’s opening Peaks Plains Gala.

Sophie Mitchell and Calum Johnson led by example at Sale, leading a group of mixed experience to third place overall.

Hosts Altrincham finished first.

Vikings’ older swimmers helped swell their points tally, in particular the under 16s girls’ relay team of Mitchell, Hannah Cooney, Megan Thomas and Valerie Marshall.

The quartet won the 200m medley relay in 2:28.16, repeating the trick in the 200m freestyle event.

“We were impressed with the all-round effort and enthusiasm of the team,” said coach Nicola Jones.

“This league provides a fantastic opportunity for our young swimmers to develop their skills in a friendly arena while learning about the tactics and of competition.

“It also enables our more experienced swimmers to become better mentors.”

Cooney celebrated individual success in the under 16s girls’ 50 backstroke, while Olivia Granger was fastest in the under 12s girls’ 50m breaststroke.

Thomas finished first in the under 16 girls’ 50m butterfly, while for the boys Miles Dolman topped the timesheet in the under 14s 50m backstroke.

Jones added: “For many of the team this was a first taste of competitive swimming, so to finish third is a pleasing result.”

The series resumes at Nantwich this Saturday, from 6pm.