NORTHWICH Centurions have a first medallist following the opening weekend of racing at the Cheshire County and Age Group Championships.

Madeline Pratt took bronze after setting the third-fastest time in the under 16s girls’ 200m freestyle at Macclesfield, clocking 2:18.31.

Two teammates almost matched her.

Eleanor Ma narrowly missed out on a medal in the under 13s girls’ 100m butterfly final and was fourth too in the 100m individual medley for the same age-group category.

Evie Paget shaved close to two tenths of a second from her heat time to rank fourth in the under 12s girls’ 50m butterfly, improving to 35.59s in the final.

On Saturday, four Centurions swimmers reached a final or were declared inside the top eight based on their heat time.

And that figure doubled on the second day of competition.

Northwich will be represented by 19 youngsters over three weekends, with racing due to resume on Saturday.

Last week head coach Simon Pickering told the Guardian that he would encourage them to savour the experience of competing alongside their friends against the best of the rest from across the county.

“We want to see athletes reach the objectives they set themselves,” he said.

“However we’ll also encourage them to enjoy their time at poolside as well as in the water.”

Centurions have improved on each of their past two visits to Macclesfield for the county championships and collected twice as many medals in 2018 as they had 12 months earlier.