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Sarah's marching on to nationals

NATIONALS are calling for Thorp Academy swimmer Sarah March and she can't wait to dive in.

NATIONALS are calling for Thorp Academy swimmer Sarah March and she can’t wait to dive in.

Sarah, enrolled on Thorp’s Elite Performer Programme, turned in some fine displays in Nottingham and at the Glasgow International Swim Meet to secure her place at the Swim England National Summer Meet at the end of the month.

She had good swims in the 50m and 200m breaststroke, achieving a long course personal best in Nottingham before going even better north of the border.

In the 50m she qualified for the Junior final which she won brilliantly in a new best of 34.96, seeing her go under 35 seconds over the long course for the first time.

Sarah also qualified for the finals in the 100m and 200m and won the latter with a new long course best of 2.49.02 to enhance her rising reputation – securing a nationals place for the first time at Sheffield’s Ponds Forge.

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The 15-year-old said: “I am really pleased. I am hoping to make finals when I go, I am quite high ranked so it will be nice, it will just depend how I do on the day.

“There are others who are faster, but I am in the middle, and I just want to keep improving like I have been because I feel like I am getting closer all the time.”

Sarah swims for Gateshead & Whickham ASC and has swam since the age of three, even though it has only been in the last six years when she has become more serious about it with her coaches.

In her very first event she won in South Shields and since then she has developed her breaststroke and hopes to improve in her other disciplines.

“I feel like I have really performed well in recent times because of the training and that led to the times for nationals,” she said.

“Our club likes going to different places, which is why we have been up to Scotland where it is a good place to swim at Tolcross.

“I have been close to achieving national times before. Last year I was 0.1 off the 50m breaststroke. This year I was just over a second under it. More recently I have had better training, more sport specific.”

The former Ryton Juniors pupil trains eight times a week, including early morning sessions, and is focused on setting higher standards – starting at Ponds Forge, hopefully.

Sarah, who relaxes by sitting down and watching TV, said: “There are gym sessions as well as in the pool, so there is a lot during the week to cram in. Sunday is a rest day.

“I am enjoying school too, even though I haven’t really thought about what I want to do afterwards except for looking to do something in sport.

“I’m not sure whether it is the psychological side, how people think, what they think and doing different sports, or coaching, but it would be nice to do something in sport.”