Strong swim squad set for Shetland

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There are few surprises, although there are some relatively new to this level chosen alongside those with considerable top-class experience.

Sponsored by Abacus, the 14-strong team is made up of 13 AIB Tigers, with Katie Speller the lone Jersey Swimming Club representative.

The rest of the team are: Rosie Barrett, Victoria Rebours, Amy Pallot, Ashley Cope, Sarah-Jane Smith, Jay Bichard, Daniel Halksworth, Damien Bouchéré, Simon Le Couilliard, Alexis Militis, Liam du Feu and brothers Stuart and Ian Black, and the team ranges in age from 15 to 24 years.

This will be Games number four for men’s captain Militis, a multi-gold medallist, and ladies’ captain Barrett will be notching up a hat-trick of appearances, as will Halksworth, who recently achieved the 2006 Commonwealth Games qualification time in the British National championships last month, in the 400m individual medley, after winning gold and silver medals in the Commonwealth Youth Games in Australia last December.

Militis broke two Abacus Island records in the Nationals and Le Couilliard one, and both are within one per cent of Commonwealth qualifying times.

It will be Bouchéré, du Feu and Le Couilliard’s third appearances at Island Games.

Games newcomers are the Black brothers, Bichard, Speller and Smith.

Bouchéré is a several-times gold medal winner at Island Games and the 23-year-old is currently coming towards the end of a year’s training in Australia under Olympic coach Bernie Mulroy.

Le Couilliard, too, has benefitted from training in Perth and Barrett, Pallot, Cope and Rebours were also members of the Commonwealth Youth swim team.

Stuart and Ian Black are the second and third members of the family to be selected for Island Games, as eldest brother Alex swam in the Isle of Man Games in 2001.

Stuart (19) has swum at Scottish national level and his main event in the 1500m freestyle while Ian (16) has swum in the British National age-group competitions and is Jersey’s leading junior swimmer in most events.

Jay Bichard (15), Sarah-Jane Smith (15) and Liam du Feu are all Hampshire finalists too with Smith the current 100m breast-stroke county champion.

Speller (16) just missed Games selection last time and has impressed in medley and freestyle, and has twice won the Castle to Harbour swim.

Team manager Steve Toudic said: ‘We have a very strong team and they are all very excited to be taking part.

We hope we will do Jersey proud.’ Coach Paul du Feu added: ‘Our team had to be of a high standard.

Watching the Cayman and Bermudan swimmers in Guernsey last time was scary – they had sent Olympic swimmers over.

I don’t know if they will send their top swimmers to Shetland as the Games clash with the World Championships in Montreal, but the competition will be tough, and Guernsey has a lot of strong swimmers too.’ Assistant team manager, Jacqui Hawkshaw.

Assistant coach, Kieron Bowbrick.

The team is supported by Abacus Financial Services Group.

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