Worksop swimmer leads Nova to national glory

From left to right: Luke Howdle and Karl Morgan ( Nottingham), Ollie Hempsall ( Mansfield) and Matthew Watkinson (Bassetlaw).
From left to right: Luke Howdle and Karl Morgan ( Nottingham), Ollie Hempsall ( Mansfield) and Matthew Watkinson (Bassetlaw).

A Worksop swimmer has helped the Nova Centurion squad to an historic victory, in one of his last outings.

Matt Watkinson, who leaves for university in September, was part of the victorious 4x100 freestyle relay team, at the National Championships.

The teenager and team-mates Luke Howdle, Karl Morgan and Ollie Hempsall finished first in a very tight final.

A delighted Nova coach Cathy Pritchard said: “This was the first time Nova has won this event.”

“It was a great achievement for the team who got the touch in a very close finish.”

Watkinson also swam five other events, with his greatest success coming in the 50m freestyle, where he made the semi-final and achieved a best time of 24.25 seconds.

Fellow Bassetlaw swimmer Matthew Dobson, another on his way to university next month, was part of the 4x200 A team.

In a close race they finished fourth.

He was also in action in the 400 freestyle B relay, and the 100m freestyle.

Worksop’s Alex Hunter placed 12th in the 17/18 yrs 400 freestyle where he set a big personal best in 4.05.89.

Unfortunately, although he was a reserve, he did not get a second swim as no one dropped out.

But he also set a new best time in the 4x200 fresstyle on the lead leg of 1.57.78.

Joshua Stephenson-Ganner was 12th in the 1,500m freestyle in a 22 second personal best of 16.11.80.

Other Bassetlaw swimmers included Dan Gagg in the 100 and 200m breaststroke and medley relay, Beth Davies and Megan Berridge in the 200 breaststroke and Owen Roberts and C.J Smith in the 400m and 800m relays.

The Bassetlaw coach Pritchard added: “The two Matts will both be leaving the squad after many successes and 10 years of swimming with the county squad in Bassetlaw.”

“They will be sorely missed when they leave for university in September.”