WINSFORD Swim Team members were inspired to go faster when they tested themselves at a higher level last week.

Five youngsters improved on their times in a regional qualifier when they contested the Swim England Open Water National Age Group Championships at Thrybergh Country Park.

"Our swimmers love to push forward and take on new challenges," reflected head coach Dan Goodwin.

"They were determined to do that at this event."

Henry Oliver dipped below an hour for the first time over 5km, stopping the clock in 59:52, to rank 14th in the under 18s boys' class - a five-minute improvement on his time at the North West Open Water Festival.

Meanwhile teammate Alissa Blackshaw was more than 10 minutes faster on her time at Salford, timing 1:07.44 for the same distance to finish 16th in the under 18s girls' age-group.

She is eligible to compete in the same category next year too.

READ > Five Winsford Swim Team members set for open water challenge

Theo Oliver is following a path taken by his brother and made his debut over 3km in the under 14s boys' race.

A sprint to the finish saw him edge out a rival that had been alongside the whole way as he classified 23rd in 41:31, a marker that was 16 seconds lower than his swim at Salford Quays.

Ross Hanley and Lewis Turner, who took a regional title in the under 13s boys' category over 2km, both finished inside the top 20.

The latter was 12th overall in 26:21, more than a minute faster than his regional time, while the former finished 19th in 27:50 - also a better result than previously.

Goodwin added: "Both of them had trained extremely hard beforehand and it showed in their performance.

"All of our swimmers approached the event without fear, a characteristic I always admire."