COLCHESTER Phoenix trio Helen Thompson, Holly Bocking and Mark Holmes were in action at the fifth European Down Syndrome Swimming Championships.

They were part of the Down Syndrome Swimming Great Britain (DSS-GB) team that travelled to Olbia, Sardinia.

The event was different to anything the Colchester swimmers had competed in previously as it was held in an outdoor 50-metre pool in temperatures reaching 30C.

Thompson, 16, who swims for both Colchester Swimming Club and Phoenix, was swimming in her third international championships.

She raced in eight events, swimming consistently throughout the week to make seven finals in the 100m, 200m and 400m freestyle, the 50m, 100m and 200m breaststroke and the 200m individual medley, with a highest placing of fourth in the 200m breaststroke.

Despite narrowly missing out on an individual medal, she was selected for four relay teams.

She won three silver medals and, on the final day, the relay team took gold in the 4x50m freestyle in a time of two minutes and 47.69 seconds, which is a new European record.

However, Thompson left her best individual race until the last morning in the 400m freestyle final, where she swam a 15-second personal best (PB) to break the junior world record in a time of 7m 3.89s, beating the current junior world record holder in the race.

It was the second international competition for Bocking, who swims for Colchester Phoenix.

She swam PBs in the 50m, 100m and 200m breaststroke, the 50m butterfly and the 200m backstroke.

Her best race was in the 50m breaststroke, where she made the final in one of the tightest races of the week.

There was less than a second between the fourth and eighth-placed swimmers, with Bocking coming an excellent fifth.

Holmes, who also swims for Colchester Phoenix, is the veteran of the DSS-GB team.

He made five finals in the 100m and 200m backstroke, the 200m butterfly and the 200m and 400m individual medley, placing fourth in the butterfly and 400m IM finals.

Holmes also took part in five relays for DSS-GB, gaining four bronze medals and finally striking gold in the 4x200m freestyle, with the team swimming 12m 2.78s to break the world record.

Holmes already holds many world and European records in the Masters Two category and he broke two more during the week-long championships.

The 36-year-old smashed both the 200m backstroke and the gruelling 400m IM Masters Two world records - the latter by an astounding 31 seconds to finish in a time of 7m 17.51s.

The event was attended by 19 countries from across Europe and also a team from the USA.

The 31-strong team from DSS-GB were the top overall team in the competition, gaining 50 podium medals from the four days of competition.