A SWIMMING club has returned to the pool for the first time since the pandemic hit.

Bicester Blue Fins had not met since March 2020, before recently returning to inter-club competitive swimming in Aylesbury.

The Blue Fins made the trip to Maxwell Swim Club, where they were joined by fellow Oxfordshire North Bucks clubs from Aylesbury and Thame.

Nineteen swimmers from Blue Fins attended the four sessions of 100m and 200m events.

Despite there being no crowd to cheer on the swimmers, there was still plenty of personal bests.

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Blue Fins swimmers have been taking part in Level X racing in recent months, however these events see athletes come up against their own teammates.

The objective of the meeting at Maxwell Swim Club was to transition from Level X racing to a competition environment, and for those aged 13 and above to secure times for a south east regional festival later this month.

Tia Falkner, 17, and Megan Beeney, 15, flew the flag for the girls with Falkner taking first in her age group for the 200m individual medley, and 200m and 100m freestyle.

Beeney took first place in all her races – the 200m individual medley, 100m butterfly, 100m backstroke, and 100m and 200m freestyle.

For the boys, both William Jones, 15, and Luke Gavrilovic, 13, took top spots in the 100m freestyle.

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Freddie Ashley-Sparks, 19, has retuned to swim for Blue Fins during the summer from Plymouth Leander Swimming Club.

He took first in the 100m freestyle, 100m backstroke and the 100m butterfly.

However, it was his performance in the 200m butterfly which was outstanding, with a time of 2:00.90 smashing a 12-year county record.

He said: “It was great racing again at Maxwell after a long time out of the pool, whilst representing Bicester, my childhood club.

“Claiming my first county record made the weekend even more special.”

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Blue Fins head coach Craig Oliver said: “It was such a pleasure to be back poolside at a competition after all this time.

“Seeing the swimmers excited to demonstrate how dedicated they have been throughout all this change and uncertainty is nothing short of wonderful.

“We needed this and it could not have come at a better time, we are now primed for next season.”

The club is looking forward to seeing how former captain Kieran Bird gets on at the Tokyo Olympics.

Bird was selected for Team GB after achieving the Olympic consideration time when he won the 400m freestyle at the British trials in April.