ELLIE Challis smashed a British record at the Para National Championships, in Manchester.

The Little Clacton swimmer was joined in the North-West by Colchester Phoenix clubmates Helen Thompson and Holly Bocking.

It was a fantastic opportunity for the youngsters as international medallists such as Eleanor Simmonds were also racing at this meet.

Thompson and Bocking, who both have Down Syndrome, swam alongside strong competition.

As there is no separate classification for swimmers with Down Syndrome, they have to compete against swimmers with any intellectual impairment. They swam well, both gaining personal best (PB) times in the 100 metres front crawl and valuable experience racing in an Olympic-sized pool.

Fourteen-year-old Challis was on top form the whole weekend, starting with a massive 18-second improvement to her PB in the 100m front crawl.

She went on to swim personal best times in all her remaining events.

She bettered her time by 11 seconds in the 150m individual medley, three seconds in the 50m backstroke and five seconds in the 50m freestyle.

She did Colchester Phoenix proud by taking gold medals in all of her swims.

The highlight of the weekend was her 50m breaststroke.

Swimming alone but with the crowd and commentator 100 per cent behind her, she powered through to smash the existing British SB2 long-course record by a massive four seconds.

The record had stood for 26 years, having been set at the Barcelona Paralympics in 1992.

Head coach Julie Jago said: “I'm incredibly proud of Ellie.

"She is very independent, has a great work ethic and lets nothing faze her.”

The British record was a brilliant end to what had been an amazing week for Colchester Phoenix.

They won the Community Club of the Year Award at the Colchester Sports Personality of the Year Awards.

Phoenix swimmers Mark Holmes and Nirari Youssefi-Titchen gained commendations for the senior Bill Tucker Award.

Thompson won the junior girls' Bill Tucker Award.

Make contact via www.phoenixswim.club if you are interested in joining or sponsoring their disability swimming club.