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Bristol bound for long course season opener

Event: City of Bristol Level 3 Open Meet Venue: Hengrove Park, Bristol Date: 3rd and 4th November 2012

A Dolphin squad of 48 were competing last weekend at the inaugural City of Bristol Level 3 Open Meet at Hengrove Park, Bristol.  The club’s first long course meet of the season came within a few days of many returning from overseas and UK training camps and provided the rare opportunity for the less experienced county standard swimmers to compete alongside those aiming to compete at national standard.  For some of the younger swimmers, this would be their first taste of competing in a 50 metre pool and for the more experienced would be an opportunity to set benchmarks for the forthcoming season.

Aaron Knight experienced a “baptism of fire” as he competed in all five 200m events, all four 50m events and the 400m freestyle at his first ever long course meet. The 11 year old picked up a deserved gold in the 200m butterfly and bronze in the 50m butterfly and looks to have secured county times in seven of the events.  Others venturing into long course competition for the first time include Eleanor Brown, Georgie Manning and Regan Jefferies each of whom won a bronze medal for their efforts, whilst first timer Josh Fox went one step further to win two silver and one bronze from his seven events entered.

Aaron Knight finds some time to relax inbetween his ten swims

Although the Age Group (under 15 years) regional qualifying times are set as short course, the level 3 meet still provided the opportunity for swimmers to record qualifying swims.  Olivia Flack, James Watson, Sophie Bartlett and Rebecca Matthews did just that and Laura Brown put in some impressive performances that took her a significant step closer to achieving her first regional standard swim.

The 2013 youth regional qualifying times have come into line with next year’s youth national times in being set as long course, and in some cases appear to be tougher than the previous years’ short course times.  Despite this, eleven of the Dolphin youth swimmers swam within the qualifying or consideration times.  James Clark and Charlotte Pitts each recorded seven regional standard swims with Clark also going under the national standard in the 50m freestyle; an event he has already qualified in for the 2013 nationals by virtue of his outstanding 2012 nationals semi-final performance.  Victoria Jennings, Emily Dixon and Josh Smith were in particularly fine form, significantly breaking personal best times set only a few months ago as well as gaining regional qualifying times.

The 15 and over girls provided some spectacular racing with a medal clean sweep for Charlotte Pitts, Victoria Jennings and Lauren Matthews in the opening session’s 400m freestyle.  An identical podium finish resulted from the 200m butterfly although in the 200m freestyle, Jennings pulled out all the stops and took gold ahead of Pitts in second place with Matthews again taking bronze.  The 200m individual medley provided what was probably the most exciting race of the weekend with Samantha Berry leading the way in the final heat up to the last 50m only to be pipped into third place by Pitts and Matthews on the finish with Emily Dixon making it a top four finish for Dolphin.

Emily Dixon, Lauren Matthews, Charlotte Pitts and Samantha Berry ~ top 4 finishers in the girls’ 200m individual medley

Top Dolphin medallist of the meet was James Clark with a clean sweep of seven gold, closely followed by James Watson with five gold and Charlotte Pitts with four gold, 2 silver and one bronze.  Other Dolphin medallists over the weekend were Aaron Knight (1 gold, 1 bronze), Adam Coleman (2 bronze, 1 silver), Charlotte Gardo (1 silver), Craig Harris (2 gold, 1 silver, 1 bronze), Doug Alexander (1 bronze), Eleanor Brown (1 bronze), Ella Wardale (1 silver, 1 bronze), Emily Dixon (2 gold, 1 bronze), Georgia Dicks (1 gold, 1 silver), Georgie Manning (1 bronze),  Josh Fox (2 silver, 1 bronze), Josh Smith (1 bronze), Kayleigh Bartlett (3 bronze), Lauren Matthews (2 silver, 3 bronze), Liam Jefferies (1 gold, 1 bronze), Millie Jeans (4 bronze), Olivia Flack (2 silver), Patrick Seed (1 gold, 2 bronze), Rebecca Flack (1 gold, 1 silver, 3 bronze), Rebecca Matthews (1 gold, 1 bronze), Regan Jefferies (1 bronze), Samantha Berry (1 gold, 1 silver, 1 bronze), Sophie Bartlett (1 gold, 1 bronze), Victoria Jennings (2 gold, 2 silver), Victoria Tainty (1 silver, 2 bronze).


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