Top GB ranking for swimmer

SWIMMING: Marcella Aris, 15, from Beetley, who swims for St Felix School, has just competed in one of the UK Challenge series of races held at Hatfield.

She targeted two of her main events, the 200m and 400m freestyle over the short course, 25 metre pool. The UK Challenge always attracts some of the south of England's top swimming talents as Hatfield is renowned for being a fast pool.

Marcie started by swimming a 100 butterfly event where she equalled a pb time, but this was only ever a warm up 'lossener' event for her.

In the next session she competed in her main event, 400 freestyle. She was up against some good opponents, some of her main rivals for the National Youth Championships in July.

She set out as she meant to go on, going through 100m in 61 seconds, 200 metres at 2:05 and she had already destroyed the field, coming home in 4:14.92 for a new east region short-course junior and senior record.

On day two she swam a very admirable 59:51 in the 100 freestyle. Again this was a 'warm-up' event for her. In the afternoon she swam an excellent 2:03.35 for the 200 freestyle, a pb time which took her into the open final as fastest qualifier.

In the final Marcie lined up with an array of talent in an age range of 26 years to her own 15, one of the finalists Bulgarian international Ekaterina Avramova who swims for Ealing.

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The final went pretty much to plan for Marcie. All the competitors were in a line with 50m to go.

Avramova made her move in lane eight, followed by Shauna Lee in lane seven. Marcie, in lane four, saw Avramova start to go and made her own move.

The last 25m were tight but Avramova showed her class finishing in 2:01. Lee held on to Avramova and got second in 2:02 and Marcie came third in 2:03.69.

This was a confidence-building weekend for Marcie who is now ranked GB U15 No 1 for 400m, 800m and 1500m. She is ranked seventh in 200m and in the top 20 for 100m.

Marcella thanked the Norfolk Sports and Cultural Foundation for her funding support this year.