Tales from two cities
With the county championships a distant memory and the regional championships on the horizon, Swindon Dolphin were in action last weekend at the short course competition pool at GL1 in Gloucester and the Hengrove Park long course pool at Bristol. Numerous personal best swims, regional consideration and qualifying times and a new age group club record for William Davies in the 400m freestyle ensured a successful few days of competition for Dolphin.
With swimmers now only able to gain qualification to national youth events via long course rankings, the big prize for those at the short course Gloucester Meet was regional qualification or at very least achieving a regional consideration time. Achieving the latter as many swimmers already have now means an agonising wait to see if their entries are accepted by the South West region with only those achieving the faster qualifying time guaranteed a place at the championships in May and June.
Oscar Pearcey and Maya Grounsell had already confirmed their regional championship places with qualifying swims earlier in the year, although both underpinned this with some excellent regional standard performances across multiple events. Ethan Fowler and Megan Adamson also confirmed their places, making the move up from having regional consideration to regional qualifying times.
Top medallist at Gloucester for Dolphin was Tyler Hillier with 2 gold. Other gold medallists were Maya Grounsell who also picked up a silver and two bronze, andLucy Adamson who also added a further bronze. Other medallists were Erin Henly (3 silver), Ethan Fowler (silver, bronze), Jake Lewis (silver, bronze),Caitlin Gulliver (silver), Megan Adamson (silver), Hannah Brown (bronze),Hannah Knight (bronze).
In contrast to Gloucester being the last chance for swimmers to achieve regional qualification, the long course Bristol meet was the first opportunity to post national ranking times during the assigned March to May window for national qualification. At the end of this window, only the top nationally ranked swimmers will be invited to attend the summer championships in July and August. Whilst swimmers may be keen to record times early on that will put them in the running for a top ranked place, this would require their training cycles to be focused towards this. This would however compromise the planned longer and more beneficial overall cycle that should ultimately give them a greater chance of achieving a qualifying place during the regional championships in May. Consequently by adhering to the plan and still in mid training cycle, some swimmers found the going tough at this first chance meet.
As expected however, the younger age group swimmers who are still physically developing at a relatively fast rate produced the greater number of personal best swims overall. 12 year olds Henry Rideout and Miles Farrington looked particularly impressive, both vastly improving on previous best times set in recent months and showing increasing maturity in their approach to competition. 15 year old James Watson and 14 year old William Davies both reaped the benefits of the commitment they show in training. Watson produced personal bests in all five of his swims whilst Davies set a new age group best time in the 400m freestyle in a time of 4 minutes, 28.14 seconds.
Medals came thick and fast for Dolphin with Harrison Crook top of the pile netting 4 gold and 3 silver. Miles Farrington was close behind with 3 gold and one silver and also finishing in the top three were Henry Rideout (gold), William Davies(silver, 2 bronze), Lauren Matthews (silver), Olivia Flack (silver), Sean Purvis(silver), Josh Fox (3 bronze), James Watson (bronze), Cathy Naus (bronze).