Dolphin claims victory in close fought final

Event: Southern Junior League 2012 ‘B’ Final Venue: Link Centre, Swindon Date: 23rd June 2012

After narrowly missing out on qualification for this year’s Southern Junior League ‘A’ final, Swindon Dolphin’s young squad made up for their disappointment with an exciting win in a closely fought ‘B’ Final at a packed and noisy Link Centre.  Dolphin led almost from start to finish, initially holding off the challenge of local rivals Bradford-on-Avon and Trowbridge before fending off a late surge by Poole to win by four points.  This was a night when all the swimmers hit form at the same time and a great demonstration of this team’s potential.

There were wins throughout the age groups, the youngest victor being 9 year old Maya Grounsell who claimed first place in the girl’s backstroke.  For the younger swimmers, the Southern Junior League is often a big step up in standard from the meets that they are used to and Grounsell can be very pleased with a victory against quality opposition.  The 10 year olds seem veterans by comparison;  Livvy Flack, Denice Gardo, Sophie Bartlett and Lucie Wells are becoming a formidable team and claimed first spot in both their relays with Flack, Gardo and Bartlett also claiming individuals wins.    Flack, who joined the club earlier in the season, has settled in very well at Swindon Dolphin and is in great form at the moment and proving a real asset to the squad.  The good news for Dolphin is that this group have two more years together in the Southern Junior League.  In contrast, the 12 year old girls team of Rebecca Matthews, Ella Wardale, Georgia Dicks and Millie Jeans were swimming their last Southern Junior League Final together but were determined to go out with a victory and did so in the freestyle relay at a crucial point of the gala.  Wardale also claimed a first place in the backstroke, whilst Jeans took the honours in the 11 year old event.

It may have seemed a frustrating night for the boys, who were edged out of maximum points on a number of occasions, but the large number of runners up spots made a significant contribution to the eventual win.  Boys that did claim top spot on the night were James Watson, Franklyn Wong and the 10 year old boys freestyle team of Wong, Calum Mariott, Zac Grounsell and Kieran Lawlor.

By the final race of the evening, the cannon, the noise level in the pool had reached new heights.  A second place finish behind a Poole team that became stronger as the night went on was enough to secure victory overall; the closeness of the scores delaying the final announcement for an agonising ten minutes.  Coach Jacky Gardo was very pleased with the result.  “We haven’t performed to our full potential in previous rounds,” said Gardo.  “Tonight we upped our game and showed that a place in next year’s ‘A’ final is a realistic target.  It is a pleasure to be a part of this team, I am very proud of them all.”

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