THE achievements of Knutsford Vikings swimmers in the pool over the past three weekends are evidence they are getting better.

Head coach Phil James told the Guardian a team of 15 boys and girls had together helped their club improve by almost every measure on their performance at last year’s Cheshire County and Age Group Championships.

“I’d like to quote a parent of one of our youngsters,” he said.

“They summed it up like this: ‘Knutsford are a relatively small club but we compete with the hearts of lions to consistently punch above our weight.’”

Abigail Comline led the way, winning six medals – three of them gold – to classify as the second-best competitor overall in the under 16s girls’ category.

She had been eighth as an under 15 in 2018.

Comline was first in two freestyle finals on Saturday, over 50m and 100m, before setting the fastest time in the 200m individual medley on Sunday.

A silver medal was her reward in both the 50m butterfly and 200m freestyle, while a bronze gong in the 100m backstroke completed the set.

Tom O’Brien celebrated a victorious debut at the event when he prevailed in a close-fought under 11s boys’ 50m breaststroke final.

He added silver and bronze for the same stroke over 100m and 200m respectively.

Knutsford Guardian:

Tom O'Brien shows off a gold medal he won in the under 11s boys' 50m breaststroke final during the Cheshire County and Age Group Championships at Macclesfield

Knutsford’s medals tally was completed by Emily Fozard, third in the under 12s girls’ 50m backstroke, and James Petty who matched that feat in the under 16s boys’ 200m breaststroke.

A Vikings swimmer classified inside the top eight on 30 occasions, contributing to points totals in two team competitions that were both significantly higher than 12 months ago.

There was a historic moment too last weekend when Vikings entered six teams into the relays races for the first time.

O’Brien joined forces with Charlie Wallace, William Berridge and Ed Jones to rank sixth in the under 12s boys’ 4x50m medley while Fozard, Evie Blackburn, Annabel Wallace and Sofia Sutton classified in the same position in the under 12s girls’ 4x50m freestyle.

James said: “Those teams were young both in terms of age and experience but they posted fast times and held their own against strong rivals.

“They gained experience too that will be vital to them if they return next year.”

Five swimmers – Comline, Fozard, Petty, Lucy Williams and Louis Thomas – set times that satisfied the criteria to compete at the regional championships in May.