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Clark and Sambrook Raise the Bar

Event: Portsmouth Northsea Easter Swim Festival Venue: Mountbatten Leisure Centre, Portsmouth Date: 5th to 8th April 2012

A strong Swindon Dolphin squad returned to Portsmouth for the first time since the opening of the new 50m pool at the Mountbatten Leisure Centre and came home with a new national qualifier, two new club records and were represented in ten finals over the course of the weekend.

James Clark notched up his first national qualifying time of the year in the heats of the 50m freestyle, one of the two events that he qualified for last season.  Little more than an hour later Clark swam even faster in the final and his 24.44, achieved on his way to a bronze medal, broke the club record previously held by Ben MatthewsClark‘s freestyle is looking good at the moment and he will now be aiming now to achieve the national standard at other distances.

James Clark ~ 50m freestyle NQT and club record holder

Mathew Sambrook was another swimmer who gave an impressive display of freestyle swimming.  Sambrook has been achieving impressive times at all distances especially in the longer events and was rewarded in Portsmouth with a new club record in the 400m freestyle, his 4:19.65 taking a second off the previous record set by Chris Jones.

Mathew Sambrook ~ 400m freestyle club record holder

Most frustrated swimmer of the weekend was Joe Kerslake who is starting to hit good form and came agonisingly close to achieving his first national qualifying times since returning to the club.  Just a third of a second stood between Kerslake and his 50m backstroke time, and in the 100m backstroke it was just 0.85 of a second.

Kerslake was one of six Dolphin swimmers to reach finals over the weekend.  Liam Herbert made the final eight in both the 100m and 200m backstroke, taking silver in the shorter distance.  There were bronze medals for Kerslake in the 50m backstroke, Clark in the 50m freestyle, Charlotte Gardo in the 50m breaststroke and Charlotte Pitts in the 200m freestyle.  Other final appearances came from Kerslake’s 100m backstroke, Clark in the 50m breaststroke and 100m freestyle, Gardo in the 200m breaststroke and the duo of Pitts and Victoria Jennings in the 200m butterfly.

Catching the eye again was Adam Coleman who accumulated a number of personal best times, including his first sub one minute long course 100m freestyle, but all swimmers showed encouraging form as they prepare for the Regional Championships.

Chief Coach Louise Clayton was happy with the performance of the squad.  “This was a very tough but successful weekend of racing and I’m very pleased with the times the swimmers achieved as they are currently in heaving training.  This bodes well for the main competition phase of the season.”


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