Dolphin looking good at season’s end
Event: Swindon Dolphin End of Season Open Meet Venue: Link Centre, Swindon Date: 26th and 27th July 2014
Over 250 swimmers from almost 30 clubs were at the Link Centre last weekend for the Swindon Dolphin End of Season Open Meet. The poolside was awash with the colours of the visiting clubs amongst the yellow and black of the hosts many of whom were sporting their new kit.
The meet invariably gives an insight into what the forthcoming new season has to offer, and although county and regional times are unlikely to be confirmed for some months, it is still possible to assess swimmers’ standards based on the current year’s qualifying times. Catching the eye of the Dolphin coaches was 11 year old Henry Rideout who swam an impressive looking 100m and 200m breaststroke, recording times that make him a top contender to achieve regional times next season. Also recording swims that could indicate first time regional qualification next year were Laura Brown in the 200m backstroke and Miles Farrington in the 400m freestyle.
Henry Rideout ~ an emerging talent
Several swimmers also look likely to make first time county qualification next season including Matthew Edwards, Ethan Fowler, Noah Parker and Mia Gough. All four swimmers are relative late-starters with Dolphin, although have shown some noted progress in recent months and look set to build on this next season. There was good representation from the younger Dolphin contingent and although possible changes to the competition system may mean a discontinuation of the existing BAGCAT system with its multi-stroke requirements, it was good to still see a wide variety of events being attempted. Notably 9 year old Aimee Masters swam what would have been county standard swims for her age group this year although due to her younger age, other potential age group changes mean that she may not get the opportunity to compete at the county championships until 2016.
Ethan Fowler and Mia Gough ~ impressive progress
Dolphin’s most successful swimmer was 16 year old Fraser Durston with eight out of eight first place finishes although was denied receiving a medal in two due to exceeding the “no faster than” rules of graded meets. A further 33 Dolphin competitors picked up at least one gold medal, with another 18 collecting silver or bronze.
One of the aims of British Swimming’s recent proposed changes to the British competition system is to “expose a large group of athletes to National level competition, ensuring their seasons do not conclude early.” Whilst this is directly aimed at the few percent of the country’s swimmers at the top of their game, arguably the same should apply to swimmers of all standards. It is all too easy for a county standard swimmer’s season to end in March or a regional standard swimmer’s to lose interest after June should they not make their qualifying times to the next level. Dolphin’s aptly titled End of Season Open Meet provides this focus and the opportunity for swimmers to perform to their best. The event also promotes good team spirit and ensures swimmers and coaches alike are left with a renewed appetite for the new season ahead following a well earned break.