There were many excellent performances at the first of this year's four Northumberland and Durham championship gals at Middlesbrough, including eight titles for Middlesbrough's Natasha Crawley, the former Darlington member, who won the junior and senior women's 50 and 100m freestyle events and was also first in the 15-years 50m freestyle, 200m backstroke, breaststroke and freestyle writes Eric Wilkinson.

Junior international swimmer and water polo player Angie Winstanley-Smith (Sedgefield) took gold medals in the junior and senior women's 200m backstroke and breaststroke, and the junior 200m freestyle, in which she was runner up for the senior title, won by Caroline Saxby (Wear Valley). Angie was also second in the junior and senior 50 and 100m freestyle.

Newcastle's Andrew Thurlwell gained a hat- trick of junior men's titles in the 100 and 200m freestyle and 400m individual medly. He also got the senior silver medal in the latter. Newcastle had five of the six finalist in the men's 200m freestyle in which they occupied the first four places, the winner was Jeremy Woon.

Among the other winners was Chris Wilson (Wear Valley), who got the junior gold and senior silver medals in the men's 200 breaststroke, won by international Darren Wigg (Newcastle) Julie Hall (Gateshead), junior women's 400m individual medly, Chris Hulme, men's 50m backstroke, and Michael Downes, 400m individual medal both Newcastle University, Julie Fort, women's 400m individual medley, Chris Cook, 100m freestyle, Paul Woodley, 200 backstroke, Paul Robson, junior men's 50 and 200m backstroke all City of Newcastle.

Don Bland (Chester-le-Street) a finalist at the age of 17 in the men's 1500m freestyle at the 1948 London Olympic Games, took 14 seconds off the 70-74-years British Masters 400m freestyle record when easily winning the Welsh Open Masters championship at Cardiff.

This was part of his preparation for the European Masters championships which takes place at Palma in July where her will compete in the 200, 400 and 800m freestyle events. Don has now broken ten British, five European and one World Masters records.

The Sedgefield club provides seven players in the squad that represent the N-E Counties in the ASA's Youth Inter-district Water Polo championship at Sheffield this weekend. They are Martin Nichols, Mark Jones, Adam Burton, Ian Storey, Aidan Stonehouse and brothers George Jun and Scott Carpenter. The coach Lee Cooke is also from the club.

The boys U20 championship is also being played there this weekend and two members, Matthew Bowden and Liam McKenna have been selected for the N-E team.

The three second round Durham and district Junior Swimming league fixtures are staged at Bishop Auckland on Sunday. Division One (3.30pm) features Darlington, Wear Valley, Chester-le-Street, Tynemouth, Gateshead and Stokesley. Clubs competing in Division Two (12.25pm) are Richmond, Middlesbrough, Derwentside, Hartlepool, Stockton and Sunderland, while Division three (10.30am) is between Billingham, Consett, Newburn, Boldon, Blyth and Hebburn Metro