UNLUCKY for some, 13 has been a lucky number for William Robinson this year. The 15-year-old from Salfords was 13th in the national cross-country championships, representing Reigate Priory, earlier this year in Leeds.
Then in early August it was one of his key numbers when the Redhill & Reigate Swimming Club member took part in the ASA national youth championships at Ponds Forge. Podium positions in the Surrey & South East Regional Swimming Championships over 100m and 200m backstroke earlier in the year also earned him time qualifying times.
Training in pools at Donyngs (Redhill), Horley Anderson and Caterham had been progressing well until he started to feel a pain in his lower back 10 days prior to the event. Justin Smith, a talented physiotherapist from the Ealing Rugby Club, worked wonders and had the injury rectified with one day to spare.
In the first event, the 100m 15/16 year backstroke heats, Robinson set a personal best of 1 minute 01:46 seconds. This placed him in the top 20 for the semi-final later that day, when he improved his PB to 1:01.25.
Although his 13th position was not quite good enough to place him in the top 10 for the final, he was the third highest ranked 15 year-old in the race.
Two days later were the heats of the 200m 15/16 year backstroke. Robinson swam a fast first 100 meters, in just over 1:03.27, and this made the final 50m very painful.
He set a PB of 2:12.73, qualifying him for the semi-final later that day. The prospect of a second race seemed daunting. This time the first 100 meters was a little slower but this allowed Robinson to finish stronger with a new PB of 2:12.59. Surprisingly, this again put him in 13th position and first reserve for the final, as two Belgians and two Canadians were placed ahead, but only two non-UK nationals are allowed in any final.
In the semi-final, William finished second UK 15-year-old which bodes well for the same race next year, if training progresses as planned.
Robinson's coach, Dale Simpson, went to Sheffield and was delighted with how the season culminated.