2006 – A Review of the Year

It’s been another magnificent year for Swindon Dolphin ASC, breaking new ground at club, county, regional and national level. We take a look back at the last twelve months and pick out the high points in the Dolphin calendar.


January – Dolphin kick-start the New Year with 5 National Qualifying Times (NQTs) at the City of Derby Open Meet at Ponds Forge in Sheffield. James Clark (2) and Cathal Westman (1) bag their first ever NQTs as Dolphin’s tally for the season reaches 9. January – Dolphin launch water polo as part of their aquatic sports offering. January – Samantha Berry sweeps the board to win the girls’ 9 years BAGCAT title at the Chippenham and Corsham Open Meet.

January – Dolphin lead the medal table after the opening two blocks of the Wiltshire County Championships in the distance events at Tidworth and Marlborough Mark Tanner claimed bronze in the 800 metres senior title race, whilst Dan Rose had the staying power to take bronze over 1500 metres.

In the girls’ 1500 metres, Tilly Gray gained silver in both the junior and senior championship with team-mate Emily Bathe securing bronze in the senior title race.

Melanie Agius made it a brace of championship medals in the 800 metres freestyle with silver and bronze in the junior and senior championship respectively, in a new club record time with Tilly Gray settling for bronze.


February– Wiltshire swimming looked on in awe as Dolphin extended their lead in the medal table to 61 at the Wiltshire County Sprints at Milton Road.


Dolphin underlined their superiority with 14 swimmers competing in 26 finals, accounting for 65% of all championship final places on offer. The highlight came in the men’s category with Dolphin making a clean sweep in the medal stakes with a 1-2-3 in every final.

In the men’s breaststroke sprint final, Dolphin swimmers occupied all five starting blocks with Commonwealth Games qualifier Chris Jones receiving the perfect send off by claiming his second gold ahead of Nigel Masters and Andi Manley.

March – Dolphin dominate the Wiltshire County Youth Championships and break a host of club records en route, with Melanie Agius (400m freestyle), Kath Baker (100m breaststroke), Tilly Gray (50m butterfly), Kathryn Rees (200m freestyle), Dan Rose (400m individual medley) and Mark Tanner (50m and 200m freestyle) rewriting the history books.

Dolphin sign off the Youth Championships in magnificent style by winning both men’s’ and women’s’ freestyle skins finals.

Andi Manley played cat and mouse in the eliminator heats to save everything for when it mattered most in the final head to head against David Dunford of Marlborough College.

Andrea Alleyne won every heat decider in sub-30 second times to tee up the showdown with race favourite Rebecca Smith from Bradford on Avon. Supreme fitness and sheer determination were the magic ingredients that saw the Dolphin swimmer finish on top.


Andi Manley scooped the prize for the “Best Male Performance” of the competition after clocking 52.31 seconds in the 100 metres freestyle to amass 762 GB points.

At team level, Dolphin won all senior relay races to help them on their way to winning “Best Club Performance” for the third year in succession.


The success found at youth level cascades through to the junior ranks with Dolphin scooping the highest number of BAGCAT Championship gold medals; Samantha Berry, (9), Katie Carter (10), Rosie Wells (12), Tom Iles (10) and Cathal Westman (12) climbed the podium to receive their honours. Dolphin bag a brace of NQTs into the bargain, with Rosie Wells (100 metres backstroke) and James Clark (400 metres individual medley).

March – Chris  Jones represents Scotland at the Commonwealth Games in Melbourne, reaching the final in the 50 metres breaststroke to finish in 10th place.

March– Dolphin drop just 14 points from a possible 234 to win the Moonraker Winter League final, winning 27 of the 39 events to outgun closest challengers Tigersharks to record their highest winning margin in five years.

April – Swindon Dolphin record the largest medal haul amongst the Wiltshire clubs at the Western Counties Regional Youth Championships in Millfield, returning with 14 medals to surpass their 2005 tally of 8.

Georgia Dymoke became the 14th Dolphin swimmer to secure her passport on the national stage in Sheffield by qualifying for the 100 metres backstroke.

Tilly Gray entered the County record books as she added the junior 50 metres butterfly time to complete the set over 50, 100 and 200 metres, before breaking Sarah Pyne’s senior County title in the 100 metres event.

April – Crystal Palace becomes the favourite venue for Melanie Agius as she claimed her first ever NQT with 2 seconds to spare in the 800 metres freestyle at the Leatherhead Open Meet.

April– James Clark, Rosie Wells and Cathal Westman add to their NQT tally at the Weston-super-Mare Open Meet.

April – Two-time Olympian and former backstroke world record holder Sarah Price graced the Dorcan Easter Training Camp with a series of demonstrations in the pool and an inspirational questions and answers session.

May – Wales proves to be a happy hunting ground for Dolphin as they become the most successful English club at the Swansea Open Meet. National Qualifying Times go to Tilly Gray (4) and Mark Tanner to add to the 7 club records and 23 age group best times.


May – Dolphin lift the Henry Dennett Shield.

May – Swim Channel is launched, the new learn-to-swim programme from Swindon Dolphin.

June – Swindon Dolphin junior swimmers claimed third spot in the grand final of the Southern Junior League with their third final appearance in as many years finishing behind Ferndown and Tornadoes of South Dorset.

June – James Clark, Rosie Wells and Cathal Westman form a golden triangle topping the podium in the opening block of the Western Counties BAGCAT Championships.

James Clark becomes the only BAGCAT winner from Wiltshire after Dolphin’s best ever showing at the Western Counties Regional BAGCAT Championships.

June – Swindon Dolphin made their mark on the national stage in the British Swimming Masters Championships at the Manchester Aquatics Centre, finishing as the 3rd highest placed club in the national rankings behind the London teams of Spencer and Otter. The highlight for the Dolphin club came when they broke two British records to add to their 25 gold, 14 silver and 10 bronze medals.

July – Dolphin end their medal drought on the national stage with James Clark winning two bronze medals and Cathal Westman becomes Dolphin’s highest placed Age Group medallist with silver in the 200 metres breaststroke.


James Clark sets 9 personal best times from a possible 10 swims to cap an outstanding Age Group National debut.

August – Swindon Dolphin formed the largest contingent of Wiltshire swimmers from one club, with eight swimmers qualifying for national level competition at the ASA National Youth Championships & ASA Championships in Sheffield.


Five swimmers recorded new personal best times with Tilly Gray producing an outstanding series of swims with the highlight coming in the 200 metres butterfly final, where she is ranked amongst the top 20 in GB swimming.

Melanie Agius, Andrea Alleyne, Tilly Gray, and Mark Tanner all set personal best times on the big stage with both Andrea Alleyne and Mark Tanner breaking the club records in the 50 metres freestyle.

September – Dolphin relinquish the Moonraker Summer League crown to close rivals Tigersharks, whilst Swindon Dolphin B team made history for the Dolphin club by lifting the Division 2 trophy to join their A team counterparts in the top flight next season.

September – Nigel Masters scooped the “Swimmer of the Meet” award at the Western Counties ASA Masters Championships with a maximum 9 gold medals.

October – Dolphin set two GB records at the ASA Masters Short Course Championships in Sheffield in both the men’s’ 100+ years 4 x 50 metres freestyle and medley relays.

Commonwealth swimmer Chris Jones broke the masters World Record in the 200 metres breaststroke in a time of 2:18.04 seconds. Jones was in peak form claiming 5 individual gold medals before playing a key role in both the record-breaking freestyle and medley relays.

October – Swindon Dolphin returned to the top of the Wiltshire Masters League after an absence of ten years to scoop four from a possible six trophies with a combined team score of 504 points after three rounds.

October – Ten Swindon Dolphin swimmers represent Wiltshire at the National County Championships at Ponds Forge in Sheffield. Star performer amongst the Dolphin contingent was Andrea Alleyne who jetted in from Turkey just hours before the competition started to become the first Dolphin female to break the magic 1-minute barrier in the 100 metres freestyle in 59.55 seconds.

October – Cathal Westman is selected for the ASA South West Regional Talent Programme for 2006-07.

November – Melanie Agius becomes the most successful female swimmer at the Annual Club Championships, raising the bar with Milton Road best times in the 110, 220, 440 and 880 yards freestyle. Jon Audis grabbed a clutch of new best times in the 110 and 220 yards butterfly together with the 4 x 1 individual medley.

November – Melanie Agius and Cathal Westman are crowned “Progress Swimmers of the Year” at the Dolphin AGM.

November – Six club records tumble in the Annual Novice Progress Gala. Ellie Bilko, Andrew Butler, Scarlet Cholod (2) and Noah Kirby (2) entered the Dolphin record books.

December – Dolphin make club and county history with the highest ever finish from a Wiltshire club in the UK’s premier club competition – the National Speedo League with a third place finish behind winners Plymouth Leander and runners-up Millfield.


Cathal Westman

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