Caitlin Ebbage (17) from Tonbridge Swimming Club was selected as to be part of the South East Schools representative team to compete in Coventry at the 72nd English Schools Inter-Divisional Championships on 11/12 March on the opening weekend of the National Qualifying Window. Each of the 8 school regions (divisions) in England sent a team of their best swimmers to race against each other over 2 days in Coventry. Swimmers race in 3 different age bands: Junior swimmers are years 7/8, Inters are years 9/10 and Seniors are years 11, 12 and 13. Each division can only enter 1 swimmer into each event. Racing against some of the best swimmers in England as part of a representative schools team is a great honour.
Ebbage was competing in her 5th ESSA Championships. She was the most experienced swimmer on the team and was appointed by the South East team staff as the Female and Overall South East Schools Team Captain for this competition for the 2nd year in a row. Apparently, she was also chief face painter too! Caitlin is currently balancing her school workload, her revision for her forthcoming A levels and her busy training schedule and, as a result, this is one of the last major competitions she will be competing in this season before she hopefully heads off to continue her swimming journey as part of a performance swim squad at university.
Caitlin competed in all 3 backstroke events. On Saturday she swam to a new season’s best time to finish 2nd in Senior Girls 200m Backstroke. Her day ended with being part of the victorious Senior Girls 4 x 100m medley relay team that won the national title.
Sunday was a busier day for her and she brought home 2 more English Schools national titles in the Open 50m Backstroke and Senior 100m Backstroke. She was also part of the Senior Girls 4 x 100m freestyle relay on Sunday that finished outside of the medals after slight technical difficulties for one of her team members.
Caitlin ended her English Schools journey having been selected to represent the South East in every year that the competition has been held whilst she has been at secondary school. She still holds the English Schools Junior Girls 100m Backstroke record which she set back in 2018.
All in all a very successful weekend for Caitlin bringing home 3 gold and a silver medal from her last English Schools campaign.
The South East Schools team finished as runners up to the North East division for the 2nd year in a row in the overall team pointscore. Caitlin was one of 11 swimmers from West Kent clubs that competed as part of the South East Schools team. The West Kent swimmers competing were Juniors Imogen Miles (Sevenoaks SC), Morgan Pashley and Reese Huckle (RTW); Inters Emilia Oliver, Jessica Gable, Aran Bissett and Max el Mokadem (all from RTW); whilst the Seniors were Caitlin Ebbage (TSC) and Isabella Okaro, David Allen and Matt Burrows (from Sevenoaks SC).
Caitlin has returned to training again for a few weeks ahead of her next major competition, the British Championships being held in Sheffield from 4 to 9 April.