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Dolphin on top at County Age Group Competition

The Wiltshire County Swimming Championships 2022 concluded with the Age Group (10 to 13 years) Competition at the Link Centre. More than 160 swimmers from 15 clubs across the county were taking part, including 29 competitors from Swindon Dolphin, the highest contingent from any Club.

As with the Youth Championships a few weeks earlier, the Age Groupers had the additional excitement of finals in the 50m and 100m events, with most Dolphin swimmers reaching the final six on an incredible 82 occasions. Making the grade from heat to final in all their swims were Betina Puszkarska, Eva Higginbotham, Evan Kane, Jacob Burton, Sophie King and Zara Halpin.

The aim when going into any final is to swim faster than the heat and of course finish in a medal position; and Swindon Dolphin did not disappoint. Of the 82 final appearances, 51 of the swims were faster and 48 resulted in a medal; 19 gold, 16 silver and 13 bronze, more than any other club. In the 200m and 400m heat declared events (results based on heat swims with no finals), Dolphin were equally as successful with an overall 14 gold, 23 silver and 10 bronze.

Betina Puszkarska (12)

Betina Puszkarska not only made all finals in her 50m and 100m events but was the only swimmer competing from any club to win a medal in every one of the 16 events available; 9 gold, 4 silver and 3 bronze; making her the top medallists in the 12 year age group. It was the same story in the other girls’ age groups with Sophie King topping the 13 year medal standings with 8 gold, 3 silver, 2 bronze and Phoebe Kerley topped the 10/11 year old category with 8 gold and 3 silver.

Sophie King (13) and Phoebe Kerley (11)

Other medallists included Riley Watts (2 gold, 5 silver, 1 bronze), Eva Higginbotham (2 gold, 4 silver, 2 bronze), Jacob Burton (1 gold, 12 silver, 2 bronze), Zara Halpin (1 gold, 6 silver, 5 bronze), Alfie Workman (1 gold, 1 silver, 1 bronze), Fletcher Mutton (1 silver, 3 bronze), Evan Kane (2 bronze), Harry Owens (1 bronze), Olivia Hamlett (1 bronze).

Adding to this the Age Group medal successes in the distance freestyle events, Dolphin finished the Age Group Competition with more medals than any other club; an impressive 35 gold, 45 silver and 24 bronze.

The competition was also an opportunity for swimmers to achieve regional consideration and qualifying times. Five swimmers swam under the regional qualifying standards over a total of 30 events, with another five also swimming under the consideration standards. Impressive swims from Etta Crowley, Finlay Holder, Gethin Jenks and Phoebe Kerley ensured that they added themselves to the tally for the first time.

Anthony Clark, Dolphin’s Regional Squad Lead Coach commented, “It’s been fantastic to see the development process since the start of the season in September. In the three meets towards the end of 2021 when we were mid-way though our training cycle, our overall PB rate was around 60% and the meets also highlighted a few common technical issues that we needed to deal with. These issues were largely addressed and at the County Champs, our first major target meet of the season, we achieved an astonishing 88% PB rate, demonstrating how well the swimmers performed at their peak when it mattered.”


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