Gardner impresses against country’s best

First published in Sport

ASTON Fields Middle School pupil Olivia Gardner tested herself at the National Age Group Swimming Championships in Sheffield.

The 13-year-old from Bromsgrove was up against some of the best young swimmers in the country and did not let herself down with a series of solid performances.

In her strongest event, the 1,500 metres open water race, Gardner finished fifth before coming 12th in the 200m backstroke and 18th in the 100m backstroke.

Appearing at the championships completed a impressive year for Gardner, who is set to move on from Wyre Forest Swimming Club and join Ellesmere College Titans following coach Alan Bircher to the school.

Gardner won gold in the 12 to 134 years 100m backstroke at the Cardiff International Open in June.

She also claimed silver in the 400m freestyle and bronze medals in the 200m backstroke and 800m freestyle.

The youngster had already won gold at the Worcestershire Long Distance Championships earlier in the year, taking the 800m in nine minutes 32.77 seconds to set a new county record.

Gardner also finished third overall against swimmers four years older than her in the open category.

She was also one of the Wyre Forest’s top performers at the Midland Age Group Championships at the beginning of June.

There Gardner reached the final of the 100m backstroke.

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