CITY of Oxford just missed out on a top-three placing in their historic appearance at the National Arena League finals in Cardiff.

They qualified for the B final for the first time in their 70-year history after coming third in Premier Division South.

After a momentous display, Oxford finished fourth in the ten-strong final, just four points behind third-placed Swansea Aquatics.

The hotly fought contest saw City’s swimmers record personal best times in 26 out of 35 individual races, with all 15 of the relay teams improving their times from previous rounds.

The 15 and under girls 4 x 50m freestyle team of Ellie Millington, Emily Nisbet, Olivia Webster and Amy Coombs broke the junior and open Oxfordshire & North Bucks county record in a time of 1min 50.33secs, while Emily Wood and Annie Sharp joined Millington and Coombs in the 4 x 50m medley relay to take the junior county record in 2.01.88.

The women’s open 4 x 50m medley relay team of Shannon Motha, Wood, Millington and Eleanor McNally then beat the county record in 2.00.36.

Wood also took the junior ONB 100m breaststroke record in 1.13.07 and was awarded the coveted trophy for top performance by a 15-year-old girl.

Not to be outdone, the boys 15 and under 4 x 50m freestyle relay team of Ewan Springett, Zac Bischoff, Lewis Pearce and Chris Wood broke both the open and junior county records in 1.43.45.

Callum Smart joined Springett, Pearce and Wood in the 4 x 50m medley relay to break the junior record in a time of 1.55.83.

Oxford, Swansea and Liverpool were locked in a fierce tussle for third place, with just four points separating them as the final relays developed.

In an electric atmosphere, enhanced by City’s enthusiastic supporters, their swimmers made Swansea fight all the way for the coveted third place before settling for fourth.

Final positions: Sheffield 367, Cardiff 341, Swansea 300, Oxford 296, Liverpool 293, Northampton 252, Thanet 247, Ealing 234, Preston 216, Boldmere 205.

IN last week’s Oxford Mail, we carried a story which said that Emily Wood failed to reach the women’s open 200m breaststroke final in the British Championships.

We are happy to clarify that the 15-year-old was competing as a junior swimmer, with no expectation of qualifying for an open final.

She did, however, make the junior final of the 200m breaststroke coming a very creditable sixth.