Angie Winstanley-Smith (Sedgefield), Northumberland and Durham swimmer of the year for 2000, defends five Twin Counties titles when the third and last of this year's individual championship galas is held at Darlington tomorrow and Sunday, writes ERIC WILKINSON.

They are the junior and senior women's 50m and 100m backstroke, junior 50m breaststroke. Angie is also the fastest qualifier for the new junior and senior 100m individual medley. Other defending champions include Caroline Saxby (Wear Valley) in the 800m freestyle - she also has the quickest women's entry time in the new open 1500m freestyle - Robert Whittle (Newcastle University) 50m butterfly; Craig Nicholson (Newcastle) 50m freestyle and clubmate Michael Downes 100m backstroke.

Philip Wright (Wear Valley) is favourite for the 50m breaststroke and 800m freestyle. Pole position in the women's 50m breaststroke is held by Jenn Cornes (Moors) with the holder Charlotte Nichols (Sedgefield) in second spot. Maria Young (Derwentside) leads in the 100m butterfly and David Proud (Chester-le-Street) in the 1500m freestyle for The Northern Echo Trophy.

The British long course championships, which double as trials for the World championships in Japan in July, are staged in the new Manchester Commonwealth Games pool next week when many NE swimmers will be taking part headed by Olympian Nicola Jackson (Richmond/Derwentside) who is in the 100m and 200m freestyle, 50m, 100m and 200m butterfly. Her sister Joanne is also in the 100m and 200m butterfly.

Sedgefield has three members, Matthew Bowden, Scott Carpenter and Ian Storey involved in a national waterpolo squads training camp at Millfield School, Somerset, next week. Matthew will be with the Under-18s, Scott and Ian are in the Under-17s. Scott has done remarkably well to get selected so early. He is only 12 and one of the youngest ever.

Also there will be the England A team, a Belgian squad and one from the British Universities and in addition to training they will all be taking part in matches.

There was an exciting finish to the third Durham and District Junior League division one fixture when Tynemouth and titleholders Newcastle tied on 181 points with first place going to Tynemouth with 12 first places to Newcastle's five. Chester-le-Street scored 156, Wear Valley 147, Gateshead 109, Sedgefield 89.

The division two result was South Tyneside 179, Stockton 169, Middlesbrough 163, Hartlepool 145, Durham 139, Derwentside 69. Division three Consett 200, Morpeth 187, Billingham 142, Ashington 111, Hebburn 109, Blyth 88.