2008 Club Championships the “Best Ever”

Last Sunday saw the conclusion of this year’s Swindon Dolphin Club Championships with the distance freestyle events at Milton Road.

The final heat of the boys 1,500m fittingly saw distance specialist Nick Southern (16) take the championship title in a new age group championship best time of 17:48.02.  The girls 800m event also saw a new age group best time in the 12 year age group as Samantha Berry took 14 seconds off the old mark to finish in 10:16.45.

The sprint and middle distance events took place two weeks earlier on 20th and 21st September at the Link Centre.  Here also, there was no shortage of quality swims which saw an astonishing 52 championship best times fall.  Jon Audis was responsible for eight – all the more incredible as the 29 year old swam the full programme of events.  James Clark, Matthew Rose and Cathal Westman all broke six records each with Samantha Berry being the highest record breaking girl on five.

One of the highlights of the weekend was the mystery medley “skins” which saw the top 6 boys and girls from the 200m individual medley heats swim off over five 50m races with the stroke at each stage chosen at random.  In the boys event, magnificent swims from underdog 14 year old Joe Kerslake saw off challenges from Westman on the first breaststroke race and subsequently despatched Nigel Masters with a blistering backstroke swim.  With the contest concluding in a freestyle battle between Jon Audis and Andi Manley, the Chief Coach stormed to a well deserved victory.

The final round of the girls event concluded in no less dramatic style with Mel Aguis and Jose Prunty forced to compete on what is probably their least favoured breaststroke, with Aguis coming off best and taking the £30 first place prize money.

In the championship medal tally, it was no surprise to find Audis as top male with 12 senior titles, narrowly missing out on a clean sweep by Matthew Rose taking the 50m freestyle honours.  Top female was Mel Agius with five senior championship golds.  Cathal Westman was top junior male with three titles whilst the girls top spot was shared between Megan Jones and Jose Prunty on two each.

Chief Coach Andi Manley commented  “Considering we are only a month or so into the new season, I am delighted with many of the performances at this year’s championships.  The numbers of swimmers entered is certainly the highest we have seen in recent years and the competition between the swimmers is great to see.  Everything looks set for a successful season’s racing.”

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