Dolphin's national line-up
Following a successful season in both individual and team events, Dolphin have maintained their national qualifier numbers with nine swimmers earning the right to compete in this summer’s series of national championships. The open water event kicks off proceedings with Dolphin represented by Cathy Naus in the 3km event at Rother Valley Country Park. A few days later at Sheffield, the pool program gets underway with James Watson, Lauren Matthews, Miles Farrington, Regan Jefferies and Craig Harris all competing at the British Summer Championships. The home nations events follow this, with William Davies and Denice Gardo taking to the blocks also at Sheffield at the English event, the ASA National Summer Championships, whilst at the same time Dolphin’s Welsh national Fraser Durston competes in the Swim Wales Summer meet in Swansea.
James Watson has gone from strength to strength throughout the season. A bronze in the 1500m
freestyle at the National Short Course Winter Championships and two gold at the Regional Championships will surely boost his confidence going into the British Summer Championships.
Watson has qualified in an incredible 13 events, covering all stroke disciplines, although has opted to only compete in nine. He has shown resilience in previous meets in being able to perform across multiple events, although arguably he may need to look to start specialising to ensure he reaches his full potential. This will be a tough call, given his talent and ability across the spectrum. No doubt the results from this meet will contribute towards making this decision.
Competing in her fifth national competition, Lauren Matthews has qualified in the 200m butterfly and
400m individual medley. Matthews seems to perform when it matters, although having made the jump up to British Summer Championship qualification this year, she will certainly need to up her game if she is to progress past the heat stages. Similar to Matthews’ build up to the 2015 championships, she has been unable to come close to personal best form all season, although if history repeats itself with performance gains similar to last year, a good result by her own standards is certainly on the cards.
Miles Farrington appears to have found his niche with the 1500m freestyle and has been on a voyage
of discovery over the past year over the pacing of distance freestyle events. This work came to fruition at the Regional Championships where a well judged swim earned the 14 year old a gold medal as well as his place at the British Summer Championships. Remaining focused on his skills and pacing will be important for Farrington, although his main aim will be to enjoy and learn from what will be his first national competition experience.
Making his second ever appearance on the national stage, Regan Jefferies again competes in the 200m breaststroke at the British Summer Championships. Jefferies will be looking to put aside his usual placid poolside character when he competes and let the competition know he is there as a contender. He will however still need to contain his enthusiasm in the opening stage of his race; a trait that has cost him dear in some of his slower performances this season. If he gets his pacing right, Jefferies will certainly be on target to drop below the 2 minute 30 second mark for the first time in his career.
Craig Harris will be looking to get back on track following the disappointment of a bout of illness
during the British Para-Swimming International Meet earlier this year. Harris competes in the 100m backstroke, 100m breaststroke and the 200m individual medley. Having spent the past few months getting back up to strength, the 17 year old will primarily be looking to lay down benchmarks for the forthcoming new season.
By his own admission, William Davies is disappointed not to have made the British Summer
Championship cut this year, qualifying again for the English summer nationals where last year he won a bronze medal in the 1500m freestyle. This is however a massive opportunity for Davies to finish one or even two steps up the podium; a result that will probably boost his confidence more than finishing further down the field in the British Summer Championships. At 16 years old, Davies still has years of progression ahead of him and this competition should act as a springboard towards this.
Denice Gardo broke the club's long standing 100m backstroke record earlier this year and
qualification to the English summer nationals would seem to be a just reward for this achievement. This undoubtedly gave Gardo a boost to her focus in training and by maintaining this, further success in the 200m and maybe the 50m events should follow next season. Gardo appears to thrive on competition and it will be interesting to see if she can drop her club record mark even further in what will be her first national level meet.
Fraser Durston will be competing in the Swim Wales Summer Open Meet in five events; 100m
breaststroke, 200m breaststroke, 200m individual medley and 400m individual medley. Durston won gold in the 400m individual medley at last year’s event but has produced very few personal bests this season, and repeating this achievement looks to be a tough ask. Durston is however passionate about swimming on his home ground, and the setting of the Wales National Pool, Swansea may give him the boost to repeat last year’s success.
Cathy Naus qualified for the 3km event at the National Open Water Festival courtesy of her second
place finish at the Regional Open Water Championships. Naus will no doubt find the national standard event a significant step up from her previous open water competitions but nonetheless is still likely to enjoy the experience.