Southern Junior opener at the Link
The Link Centre was packed to the rafters on Saturday evening as it played host to the first round of the Southern Junior League; a team event for 9 to 12 year olds. The league forms the early stage qualifying rounds for the Southern region final in October with the winner of this event gaining a place at the Junior Inter-League National final in November.
Dolphin have enjoyed somewhat of a renaissance at the qualifying competition in recent years, making a return to the A final last year following several successive years of B final appearances, albeit winning this twice. Making the A final last year however proved somewhat of a reality check as many of the youngsters experienced the mighty Plymouth Leander for the first time who won the final comfortably and subsequently went on to qualify for the National final, finishing fifth.
Swindon Dolphin started their 2016 campaign pitted against five teams, Swindon Swim Squad A, Swindon Swim Squad B, Bradford on Avon and Southwold. As expected, the combined forces of Swindon Swim Squad A would be their main rival and the open bout of relays saw Dolphin swimmers touched out on the finish time after time. There appeared to be a turnaround of fortunes on the individual events and although this was not enough in itself to redress the balance, several disqualifications from Sx3 ensured Dolphin kept ahead on points well into the second half of the competition and it looked as though a victory could be on the cards. However, a run of lower placed finishes in the final block of relays plus a disqualification for a technical infringement could not secure the win and Dolphin finished the evening just three points behind their main opponents.
Round 1 scores: Swindon Swim Squad A 200, Swindon Dolphin 197, Southwold 115, Bradford on Avon 106, Swindon Swim Squad B 76
Round 2 takes place on 9th July with the final taking place on 10th September.