Regional rewards for Dolphin
This year’s regional championships saw a total of 35 Dolphin competitors take to the starting blocks; 20 in the younger Age Group competition at Bristol and Millfield and 15 in the Summer Championship event at Plymouth. A fruitful campaign by the Milton Road based club resulted in a total haul of 5 gold, 8 silver and 8 bronze medals.
In the Championship event, James Watson was Dolphin’s most successful swimmer with an impressive tally of 2 gold and 4 silver. Watson ability and experience was on display in the heat stages of the 200m freestyle and 200m individual medley as he put in a relaxed performance that would give him the advantage of a middle lane and still leave him primed for the final. The tactic reaped rewards in the medley event where a mediocre 2:14.21 second placed heat swim converted to gold in the final in a time of 2:11.10. Similar tactics in the 200m freestyle did not quite give the same result, but a silver medal in a new club record time of 1:58.53 was sufficient consolation. The winner of the freestyle event, Jakob Goodman of Millfield would be Watson’s nemesis for the rest of the championships, pushing Watson into the silver medal position in the 400m individual medley and 1500m freestyle, although both were in new club record times. The 100m butterfly, not a stroke or distance Watson is particularly renowned for, resulted in a silver medal also in a new club record time of 58.78.
William Davies’ success came in his favoured distance freestyle events with bronze in the 400m and 1500m freestyle whilst he also made appearances in the final of the 100m and 200m freestyle. Davies was disappointed with his 100m, 200m and 400m times, but it did not deter him from swimming a 1500m personal best in the final heat of the championships.
Lauren Matthews struggled to find her form from last year’s summer nationals in the 400m individual medley and 200m butterfly, swimming a few seconds shy of the personal bests set at the end of last season. The performances were still good enough however to earn a bronze in both events. A personal best in the heat of the 200m individual medley set a new age group club record and was also rewarded with a place in the final where Matthews finished in 8th place.
Denice Gardo had been steadily taking time off her 100m backstroke swims all season, and continued the trend by swimming a heat time of 1:09.40 setting a new club record and earning a fourth ranked place in the final. Despite lowering the standard again in the final in a time of 1:09.08, Gardo had to be content with a 5th place finish.
Also making finals were Regan Jefferies who finished 4th in the 200m breaststroke, with Cathy Naus and Liam Jefferies making the top 10 in the 200m butterfly and both finishing a respectable 6th.
The Age Group competition was spread over two weekends at Bristol and Millfield with swimmers aged 11 to 14 taking part.
Henry Rideout showed his potential and versatility by swimming a range of sprint and middle distance events across all strokes, although expanding his repertoire to notably absent distance freestyle events will no doubt contribute towards further progress in his favoured form stroke events. Rideout impressively made improvements in all but one of his eight finals from his time recorded in the heat. Gold in the 200m individual medley and 50m breaststroke, silver in the 100m breaststroke and 200m breaststroke and bronze in the 50m freestyle, 100m freestyle and 100m butterfly ensured a fruitful four days of competition for the 13 year old. Rideout has also made his first, but no doubt not his last, entry into the Swindon Dolphin Age Group club records, setting new best times in the 200m individual medley and 50m freestyle.
Miles Farrington’s dedication to the training pool was rewarded with a well paced 1500m swim in 17:36.44 resulting in a gold medal. Farrington also made the 200m freestyle final, improving on his heat time and finishing 5th.
Oscar Pearcey was competing in eight events and made finals in both the 100m and 200m breaststroke. Despite a faster swim in the 100m final, Pearcey could not improve on his 5th place ranking. The 200m event however had a different ending; going into the final ranking 4th, Pearcey put on a sterling performance, taking almost 4 seconds off his heat time and finishing in the bronze medal position.
Tyler Hillier provided possibly the most unpredictable result of the competition for Dolphin with an impressive silver medal in the 400m freestyle. This was only Hillier’s second attempt at the event long course, and has experienced very few short course swims. A place in the final of the 200m freestyle resulted in a creditable 8th place finish.
Harrison Crook’s best swim came in the 200m butterfly where he made a 4.6 second improvement from his heat swim to the final, improving on his 3rd place ranking and finishing with a silver medal. Crook also finished 6th in the 400m individual medley.
Other swimmers making the top 8 were Erin Henly (4th in 200m breaststroke), Charlotte Purvis (7th in 200m butterfly and 8th in 400m individual medley), Maya Grounsell (4th in 50m breaststroke and 7th in 200m breaststroke), Ethan Fowler (5th in 200m butterfly), Megan Adamson (8th in 200m breaststroke) and Noah Parker (8th in 100m breaststroke).
With just one more long course meet for Dolphin before the cut-off date for national qualification rankings, the waiting starts to see who makes the grade either to the British Championships or Home Nations.