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Carter crowned British Champion in Sheffield

Swindon Dolphin saw three swimmers compete at the British Summer Championships 2023 with Fred Carter (17), Lucas Carter (15) and Eva Higginbotham (14) competing across 5 events. Going into the Championships, the swimmers were hoping for improved personal best times along with some improved ranking positions. The swimmers exceeded all expectations and displayed impressive form across a range of events. On day two of the Championships, siblings Lucas Carter (15) and Fred Carter (17) kick-started Dolphin’s campaign with the 100m breaststroke. Lucas was up first, and a confident swim saw him finish with a time of 01:08.95, a new personal best time and a 15 years age group club record. A finals appearance was not to be this time for Lucas, finishing the event in 11th place for his age group. It was a stunning swim for his first British Championships and there is surely more to come next season. Boys Team Captain Fred Carter (17) was next up in the same event. Going into the Championships, Fred was ranked 9th with a time of 01:07.28 and therefore hoping for a top 10 finish and a chance to race again in the final. A lightening fast heat swim saw Fred hit a new personal best time and a 16 years age group club record in 01:06.63, earning him a third-place spot for the final of the event later that evening. Learning from his heat swim and knowing that he would need to step up to secure a medal, Fred and Head Coach, Anthony Clark decided to put some more focus into the back end of the race and particularly holding a wider stroke in the last 25m. Fred executed his race plan brilliantly, improving on his heat time by almost half a second in 01:06.16, earning him a well-deserved BRONZE medal.

BRONZE for Fred Carter and 11th for Lucas Carter finishing 11th in the 100m Breaststroke

Day three of the Championships saw Fred Carter (17) back in action for the 50m breaststroke. Ranked 6th in a time of 30.52, the confidence gained from the 100m breaststroke meant that Fred was eager to lay down a fast heat swim knowing that there was an opportunity for him to snatch another medal at his first British Championships. In the heat, Fred touched in 29.68, another new personal best time and 16 years age group club record. Not only this, but it meant that he was ranked fastest going into the final later that evening. It was crucial for Fred not to let the emotions get to him in the moment knowing that yet again, he would need to step up later that evening to earn himself another medal. The focus for his final swim would be the last few strokes into the finish and this formed the basis for his warm up swim before the event. Fred showed composure throughout the race even when he was not leading the race at the halfway point. The work in the warm-up paid off with Fred executing a faultless finish and was delighted to look up at the scoreboard to see he had improved on his morning performance in a time of 29.57. This earned him the title of 17 years British Champion, the first British title since Suzanna Hext in 2019 and Chris Jones in 2007. Not only this, but this makes Fred the second swimmer at Swindon Dolphin ever to win two medals at a British Championships. This was a stunning performance, a clear result of hard work, consistency and dedication to the programme.

17 Years British Champion, Fred Carter, in the 50m Breaststroke. Courtesy of Morgan Harlow Photography

Next up was Eva Higginbotham (14) competing in the 50m Freestyle. Ranked 12th in the 50m, Eva knew that if she wanted to improve her ranking positions and potentially make a final, she would need to swim the heats in new personal best times. Taking on the shorter distance first, Eva implemented everything she had been working on in training to secure a new best time in 27.96, dipping under the 28 second barrier for the first time, earning her a new 14 years age group club record and just shy of the overall club record. Eva secured a 7th place finish in her age group and the chance to race again in the final. Like Fred, Eva worked with her coach on a particular focus in her warm up, this time on a specfic breathing plan as she approached the finish. Again, executing the plan perfectly in the fnial saw Eva swim faster in a time of 27.68, securing her a 7th place finish in the event. This made the 14-year-old the fastest female swimmer Swindon Dolphin has ever had in the 50m freestyle by achieving a new open long course club record time. Swindon Dolphin’s final race came in the 100m Freestyle for Eva Higginbotham (14). Eva qualified for the event in 22nd position, so was looking for a new personal best time to give her an improved ranking. Eva exceeded expectations, with a time of 01:00.96 in the heats, earning her another personal best time and 14 years age group club record. This also meant she had improved her ranking by finishing in 11th place, an excellent achievement for the youngster at her first British Summer Championships.

Eva Higginbotham

Commenting on the achievements by the Championship swimmers, Head Coach Anthony Clark said, “At the British Summer Championships, Fred, Lucas and Eva stepped up another level to secure two medals, a British title, three top ten finishes and two swims that were just one placing short of the final. These swimmers have improved on their personal best times, improved their rankings nationally and broke club records every time they swam. Our results are no doubt down to the dedicated team of volunteers we have at the club who demonstrate great teamwork and support all year round. This is nothing short of exceptional and goes to show what can be done when there is full committment to the programme we have at our club. There is no doubt in my mind that Swindon Dolphin will push this success on again next season, where we will work to be better and stronger again. I must also thank Nationwide Building Society for their support in helping us to achieve this success. This year, we were excited and privileged to have been awarded almost £10,000 in funding from Nationwide. Some of this money has enabled us to support some of our financially disadvantaged swimmers. It has also enabled us to purchase heart rate monitors to ensure swimmers are training at appropriate levels depending on their stage of development. Congratulations to Fred, Lucas and Eva on their successes this season. I am now really looking forward to seeing what our English and Welsh Summer Meet Qualifiers can achieve this week.”

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