GEORGE FIRTH has become the first member of the Cirencester Swimming Club to compete in the British Gas ASA National Championships.

George comfortably beat the qualifying time of 28.78sec for the Men’s 50-metre backstroke when recording 28.48 to make it through to the championships at the Ponds Forge Swimming Centre.

The 18-year-old, who also had to contend with A-levels this year, acquitted himself well among more than 100 qualifiers but failed to make it through to the final.

He is ranked 16th in the country at backstroke over 50 metres and 100 metres (both short course).
George, who was Gloucestershire’s team captain at the National County Championships in 2013, is a former pupil of Deer Park School and Cirencester College and has gained a place at Loughborough University to study economics.

He will continue the sport there with the national development swim squad under the guidance of head coach Steve Bayley.

George started having swimming lessons at Cricklade at the eight before joining the Cirencester club two years later.

He qualified for the Gloucestershire County Championships within three months of joining Cirencester and finished eighth in his age group.

He gained his first South West regional time at 13 in the 100m backstroke and then went on to compete every year in all strokes. His first bronze medal was won in Plymouth at the age of 15 and the following year he won his first gold medal at Millfield in the 50m backstroke.

George has been repeatedly troubled by shoulder problems but his training intensified last year with additional sessions at Swim Podium in Swindon resulting in his national qualifying time.