THE performance of Knutsford Vikings swimmers during the North Midlands Championships is proof they have progressed, according to their coach.

Phil James told the Guardian that a haul of 30 medals, eight of them gold, has been a boost to the confidence of those that represented the club over four days of competition at Macclesfield.

“They can really start to believe in themselves,” he said.

“And if they continue to work hard and to push themselves in training then who knows what may happen next?”

Four Knutsford swimmers stood on the podium’s top step, one of them on three occasions.

Evie Blackburn was quickest of the under 10s girls in the 50m butterfly, 100m backstroke and 200m individual medley.

She also won two silver gongs and brought home four bronze – a tally that earned for her an award as the best overall performer in her age-group.

It was a successful meet too for Abi Comline, who took first prize in the under 15s girls’ breaststroke and freestyle over 50m.

She clocked 28.17s in the latter, a time that was fastest of every girl in the whole of the competition.

James added: “It’s a fantastic achievement for a 15-year-old.”

It secured for her entry to the Swim England North West Winter Championships last weekend in Manchester, where she improved again after timing 27.63s in a heat.

She was eighth in the final in 27.78s.

Annabel Wallace was another of Knutsford’s winners at the North Midlands Championship, taking titles in the under nines girls’ breaststroke over 50m and 200m.

After adding a silver in the 50m freestyle and bronze over 200m for the same stroke, she ranked third overall in her age-group category.

Lucy Williams claimed first prize in the under 12s girls’ 100m backstroke to complete Vikings’ list of wins.

Meanwhile Ben Mitchell (over 16s boys’ 50m backstroke), Lexie McIntosh (under 16s girls’ 50m backstroke), Tom O’Brien (under 10s boys’ 50m, 100m and 200m breaststroke), James Petty (under 15s boys’ 100m and 200m breaststroke and 100m freestyle) and Sophie Symes (under nines girls’ 200m IM) also won silver medals.

Charlie Wallace (under 11s boys’ 100m IM) and Louis Thomas (over 16s boys’ 100m butterfly) took bronze, the latter in a time of 1:03.88 that also satisfied the criteria to race at the winter regionals in Manchester.

James added: “I think our performance as a club was remarkable and one that was a reward for the dedication of all our swimmers.”