SWIMMING: IMOGEN MAKES NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS
Double British record holder Imogen Clark has been selected to swim at this year's British Summer Championships and also the Sainsbury's School Games.
Imogen, who has just finished Year 11 at Tupton Hall School, swims for Chesterfield Swimming Club and is aligned to Derby's Derventio Excel Swim Squad, allowing her to train and compete in a competition environment.
The sprint swimmer, from Morton near Alfreton, has also recently received the backing of Derbyshire Institute of Sport by being adopted onto its Gold Programme. The programme aims to give an extra boost to athletes who are expected to be competing at the highest level in the years to come.
Imogen, 16, has already underlined her huge potential by breaking 50m British junior records on three different strokes – freestyle, breaststroke and butterfly.
Her selections follow a string of exceptional results including a bronze medal in the 50m freestyle at the British Swimming Championships in April. Now she has qualified to swim in the British Summer Championships being held in Sheffield from 28 July – 2 August 2015.
"My long term goal is to make the selection criteria for Great Britain and hopefully get on the team. Before that, next year, I'm hoping to swim at the European Championships in London," said Imogen. "Being on the DIS Gold Programme will mean that I get weekly massages that will help me train better by keeping me loose."
"It will also allow a strength and conditioning coach to come up to Chesterfield to give me a better quality of training. I normally do my programmes by myself, so it will be a big help to have someone to come along and help me out."
Imogen said her future goals are to continue to progress and earn a place on the British Swimming Junior Squad.
Organisers of the Sainsbury's School Games have also acknowledged Imogen's talent as one of the best swimmers in the country by selecting her to represent Tupton Hall School at the competition in Manchester this September.
Baroness Sue Campbell who chairs the Youth Sport Trust thanked Tupton Hall School and its headteacher Andrew Knowles for helping Imogen to balance her educational and sporting commitments.
"This is a fantastic achievement which reflects not only Imogen's individual efforts but also the support of the school," she wrote in Imogen's official selection letter.
The School Games are a launch pad for young athletes and sportspeople who have the 2016 and 2020 Olympics in their sights. Numerous members of the School Games represented GB at the London 2012 Olympics, some of whom won medals and propelled themselves into the national and global consciousness.
The Sainsbury's School Games 2015 are in Manchester from 3 - 6 September. Twelve sports are represented and 1,600 competitors are taking part, making it a fantastic celebration of youth sport.
SOFTBALL: eLLA'S OFF TO ITALY WITH TEAM GB
Another young sports star who is destined for big things is Ella Bruce. The Year 7 student has been chosen to represent Great Britain at the European softball championships in Italy.
From 11-16 August this year Ella will travel to Collechio as part of the GB Under-13 Girls' Fastpitch Team to compete in the European Massimo Romeo Youth Trophy. The girls will battle it out against teams from Russia, Poland, Italy, Bulgaria and Czech Republic.
Ella, who only took up the sport last year, said she was 'really surprised' to be picked for the team. "My mum rang me to tell me while I was having lunch at school," said Ella, 11.
"I couldn't believe it because there are lots of other people with more experience than me. I can't wait to find out who else is on the team from all across the country."
Ella explained that she likes to pitch or play in the field during games. She explained that the sport is similar to baseball and rounders - but also quite different.
She said: "People think the ball is soft, because of the name softball, but it's not. It's like a baseball but bigger. And it hurts if you get hit!"
Ella discovered that after being hit in the face by a stray ball and breaking her nose. That was before she had even played a game.
"They only call if softball because the pitch is softer than a baseball pitch," she said. "After that my mum bought me a helmet."
Ella's mum also plays softball which is how she developed an interest in the sport. Ella enjoyed the fast pace and energy of the games and decided to get involved. Now the pair go training every weekend, travelling to London so that Ella can train with the national side.
At school Ella's PE teachers have enlisted her onto the rounders team. She admits that while she sometimes wishes she could play softball at school, she enjoys keeping it as her own game that no one else knows the rules to.
Ella said: "It's really fun and I've made loads of new friends through softball. This is going to be the best summer ever."
ATHLETICS: IT'S RAINING MEDALS AND RECORDS
Bright young athletes from Tupton Hall School have reached new heights this month with several talented students bringing home medals and smashing records.
Ambitious Year 9 athlete Lauren Hill has had a terrific start to the athletics season, collecting a string of medals.
On 24th May Lauren became county champion at the Derbyshire Athletics Championships with a hammer throw of 50.32m. The throw was so good it placed her first in England and second in the UK for the under 15s girls' category. It secured her a new personal best and also the Derbyshire clubs championship vest.
That same weekend Lauren, who is 14, scooped gold medals and county championship titles in 75m hurdles and javelin. She also came 1st in pole vault, claimed 2nd place in the discus event and got bronze for the relay team.
On 13th June Lauren had another golden day - despite torrential rain - at the Derbyshire Schools Athletics Championships. She was awarded a gold medal for her 47.66m hammer throw, making her the Derbyshire Schools championship record holder.
Then on 15th June Lauren grabbed another gold when she threw 34.33m in javelin at the English Schools Athletics Cup Final in Wakefield. She was part of a team of 26 students who represented Tupton Hall School at the event.
Another of our students Olly Wilby (Year 10) also stunned spectators at the Derbyshire Schools competition, running a lightening-fast 11.5 seconds in the 100m and making him the intermediate boys' 100m champion... and the fastest boy in Derbyshire!
That same day, a silver medal was awarded to Paige Singleton (Year 10) for her javelin throw. And Abbie Turner (Year 10) won bronze for her long jump.
Olly and Lauren were joined by Year 8 athlete Hannah Whyatt at the Mason Trophy Inter Counties Match at Birmingham Alexander Stadium where they represented Derbyshire. Olly ran 11.5 seconds again, just missing out on qualification for the English Schools Track & Field Championship final. However, being aged just 15 he has another year to improve in the under-16s category.
Lauren threw a jaw-dropping 51.40m at the Mason Trophy, gaining a championship record. She has been selected to compete at the English Schools Track & Field Final on Gateshead in July where she is a definite contender to win a gold medal for Derbyshire!
"I just want to keep getting better and better," said Lauren, who trains five or six days a week. "Athletics is a really friendly sport - it's like a community. My Dad is one of my coaches and my family come and support me at events. That makes me feel good, like I'm making them proud."
What advice does Lauren have for anyone wanting to take up athletics? "Find an event that you enjoy and work hard at it. You can always do better than your last try - there's always room for improvement."