County Class

Event: Wiltshire County Swimming Championships Sprints ~ 6th Febuary 2011 at Milton Road Distance Freestyle ~ 13th February 2011 at Bath University Youths ~ 5th, 6th and 12th March 2011 at Link Centre

Last Saturday was the final day of the Youth programme at the Wiltshire County Swimming Championships, and Swindon Dolphin have again made their mark on the contest by finishing top in the overall medal table by a clear margin.

The competition programme started in early February with the one length sprints at Milton Road where Matthew Rose opened the Dolphin account by taking senior championship titles with convincing wins in both the breaststroke and freestyle.  Emily Dixon also continued her already impressive start to the year with junior and senior championship titles in the butterfly.

A week later the distance events took place at Bath University’s long course pool with the spoils shared largely between Dolphin and Trowbridge.  The junior and senior girl’s 800m freestyle championship titles went to Dolphins Charlotte Pitts and Elizabeth Beckett respectively, whilst in the boy’s 1500m event, the girl’s team mates Mathew Sambrook and James Clark had to settle for junior and senior championship silver behind a confident Chris Venning of Trowbridge who took both titles.

In the main youth competition, Dolphin swimmers dominated both the championship titles and age group medal places, winning a further 15 senior championships, 17 junior championships and 63 age group gold medals.

Elizabeth Beckett was in superb form taking six championship titles, 10 age group gold medals and also setting three new championship best times in the 200m individual medley, 400m individual medley and the 200m breaststroke.  The medley swims also set new Dolphin club records and the FINA points earned in the breaststroke deservedly handed Beckett the overall Wiltshire Top Women’s Swim award.

Dolphin’s top male swimmer was Jon Audis who earned three championship titles and 11 age group gold medals.  In the junior championship title battles, Charlotte Pitts earned five with Mathew Sambrook winning on four occasions.

Other championship title winners for Dolphin were Samantha Berry (2), Kath Baker and Liam Herbert with further junior championships going to Charlotte Gardo (3) and Samantha Berry (2).

Dolphin’s finest hour came on the final day of the Youth competition with wins in all four of the relays and amassing more championship titles and gold medals than all the other 14 competing clubs combined.  A Dolphin 1, 2, 3, 4 finish in the final of the girls 200m butterfly matched the feat achieved in the 400m freestyle and surpassed even the 1, 2, 3 finishes in both the 400m individual medley and 100m breaststroke a week earlier.

The team spirit throughout the competition was evident not only in the relay events as expected, but also in the individual events from both an experienced and supportive coaching team as well as from swimmers themselves.

Dolphin’s Chief Coach Louise Clayton commented on the youth competition “I was pleased with the team’s overall performances with the majority now able to raise their game from heats to finals. 21 swimmers finishing in the top six senior and junior championships on 124 occasions showed our strength in depth and the swimmers’ versatility. Above all the team spirit and support for each other shone through.”

A further three Dolphin swimmers earned their regional standard status with first time qualifiers Patrick Seed, Lauren Jolliffe and Gemma Lucas swimming under the required mark.

The final three days of competition on 13th, 26th and 27th March sees the BAGCAT (9 to 14 years) swimmers compete in what looks to be one of the busiest competitions for many years.

Full results are available on the competition page.

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