2007 – A Review of the Year
Surpassing the achievements of an excellent 2006 was always going to be a difficult task for Swindon Dolphin and, although 2007 fell just short of this target, there were more than enough highlights to demonstrate that the club as a whole, from the youngest swimmers through to the increasingly successful Masters, is continuing to head in the right direction.
Individually, it was ‘Wiltshire ASA Male Swimmer of the Year’ Chris Jones that made the biggest mark, with gold and silver medals in the 100m and 50m breaststrokes at the British Championships in March and a gold in the 50m breaststroke at the National Championships in August – the first ever for a Dolphin swimmer. In addition, he set a new world record in the 25-29 years 200m breaststroke at the ASA National Masters and Senior Age Group Championships in Sheffield.
This event also saw Chief Coach Andi Manley take the world record for the 30-34 years 100m freestyle. The world records are added to a host of European and British records achieved during 2007 by Masters swimmers, and an impressive haul of 13 gold medals from the European Masters Championships in Kranj, Slovenia in August, where Jon Audis was a multi medal winner alongside Jones and Manley.
Allan Minns, one of Dolphin’s 16 National qualifiers, rounded off his impressive year by winning
a bronze medal in the 100m butterfly at the Disability Sport Events (DSE) National Short Course Swimming Championships in November.
Amongst the younger swimmers, the stand out performer in 2007 was Samantha Berry. Berry achieved 3 National Qualifying Times and marked her first appearance in the championships with a place in the final of the 100m butterfly event. There were further individual successes at County level with Swindon Dolphin dominating the Wiltshire Age Group (Bagcats) Championships, running out top team overall. This performance continued into the South West Age Group and Youths Regional Championships, which saw Dolphin bring home a huge medal collection, included 13 golds.
Two other National qualifiers – Cathal Westman and James Clark – earned their reward for their continuing good form by being selected for the 2007/8 England Talent Development Programme.
Liam & Luke
It was a year shadowed by the sad death of 18 year old swimmer Luke Herbert, until recently a member of Dolphin’s Olympic Squad. Luke lost his long battle with illness in June. In the Spring Luke’s younger brother Liam initiated a fundraising effort on behalf of the Teenage Cancer Trust which resulted in both Dolphin and local rivals, Tigersharks, receiving nationally awarded presentations for “outstanding fundraising work”.
Greatest team success in 2007 came from the increasingly strong Masters contingent with Dolphin’s men ending the year by claiming first place in the British Swimming Masters Decathlon Competition. In June the Masters performed strongly at the ASA National Masters Championships in Manchester, finishing as the third best team in Great Britain, and at Salisbury in October, they were crowned Wiltshire champions. In November they helped the Wiltshire team to take second position in the South West and eighth in the country in the 2007 ASA National Masters and Seniors Inter-County Competition.
The Speedo team performed less well, failing to reach the South West ‘A’ final, but were runners up in the ‘B’ final despite fielding a severely depleted team. Notwithstanding this disappointment the strong showing from the younger age groups demonstrated the potential of Dolphin’s emerging swimmers.
The Southern Junior team, for 12 years old and under participants, again reached the regional
final, eventually finishing third.
Meanwhile at the ASA Age Group National County Team Championships in Sheffield last October, Liam Herbert, Elizabeth Beckett and Tilly Gray helped the Wiltshire team win division two to gain promotion to the top division.
Beyond competitive swimming, the Swim Channel learn to swim and pre-development programme, has continued to prove a success in 2007, the first full year of operation. Dolphin’s commitment to the progression of young swimmers was underlined by the appointment of Steve Cryer, a full time Swimming Development Officer, and by a further nine teachers achieving Level Two of the nationally recognised National Plan for Teaching Swimming, bringing to 25 the total number of qualified teachers and coaches at the club. Swim Channel has seen dozens of youngsters achieving awards for their speed and technique, with many swimmers having already graduated to the Moonraker and Southern Junior teams.
Outside of swimming, but still in the pool, the water polo team completed their second full season with a fifth place finish in the Bristol & West second division and, as defending champions, a run to the semi final of the knock out cup.
The final words on 2007 go to Chief Coach Manley – “It is pleasing that we can report accomplishments in so many different areas of the sport such as our learn to swim programme, masters, age group, youth and elite competitions as well as water polo.” Despite this, Manley believes much more can be achieved and has a clear view of where he sees the club. “We are capable of going much further. Whilst we have achieved some notable successes, there remains much work to be done in all areas of the club. In 2008, we are going to work harder than ever to allow the club and its swimmers to reach their full potential and to take Swindon Dolphin further forward.”
For a Review of 2006 see:2006 – A Review of the Year
Source: Swindon Dolphin Press Team