Pershore residents who have been an integral part of her success are jubilant for their own sixteen year old Tazmin Pugh. The member of the Ellesmere Titans club has just returned from competing in the Hungarian city of Hodmezvasarhely in the European Junior Championships, after being selected for Great Britain at the Olympic and Junior Trials back in April. Across the eighteen events for each gender, 750 competitors representing the top 0.1% from 47 countries were competing.
Pugh was in action from day one competing in the 200m backstroke and set to use her experience from having competed in seven previous Internationals, combining her own race plans together with her GB and club coach Alan Bircher and trying to make sure she made it through the heats into the semis. She set a blistering pace throughout her race, winning comfortably by some 5 metres and recording a new personal best of 2:11.82. She progressed with the fastest time and into the evening’s semi-finals.
In the semis Pugh swam more cannily, knowing a top three placing should secure a place in the finals. She touched 1st in 2:12.14 and again qualified for the finals in 1st place and secured the coveted top lane 4.
In the finals Pugh executed her race plan superbly, allowing others to race off with Pugh turning 7th after length one. Length two witnessed Pugh slowly hauling the leaders in with the Russian Polina Egorova 2 seconds ahead. Towards the end of the third length Pugh started her concerted effort through excellent underwater work. Following the turn and with 30m to go, Pugh forced herself alongside the new leader, Moldovan Tatiana Salcutan. Pugh used the impetus to race passed both Salcutan and Egorova, finishing a clear half second ahead on 2:11.12 (PB). To her absolute delight, Pugh was crowned European 200m Junior Backstroke champion, realising a dream she has had for the last twelve months, since shifting her focus to backstroke, rather than butterfly.
Pugh would like to thank some of her charitable and commercial sponsors; Rivers Fitness, UK Sport, Aquatots.co.uk, Joanna Brown Trust and Team Super Schools for all their support on a long journey together and hope they are able to continue for the years ahead, hopefully up to the 2020 Olympic in Tokyo.