Dolphin perform in Plymouth
Event: British Gas ASA South West Region Youth Championships 2014 Venue: Plymouth Life Centre Date: 3rd, 4th and 5th May 2014
A further three Swindon Dolphin swimmers added themselves to the national qualifier list last weekend with Jon Audis, Rebecca Flack and Mathew Sambrook all making the national grade at the ASA South West Regional Championships in Plymouth. The squad of 21 also achieved a total medal haul of 2 gold, 5 silver and 4 bronze, placing them a respectable seventh in the overall table.
When Jon Audis first achieved national qualification, Dolphin’s youngest 2014 qualifiers were just one years old and those old enough at the time were being taught in the Dolphin Learn to Swim program. Twelve years on and 33 year old Audis is still achieving national qualifying times, this year in the 50m backstroke. Rebecca Flack also finally fulfilled her dream of competing at the national championships as the 15 year old dipped under the required time in the 50m breaststroke.
Jon Audis and Rebecca Flack ~ national qualifiers
Mathew Sambrook’s last visit to the Plymouth pool 2 years ago ended in disappointment as he finished half a second outside his national time in what was then his main event, the 200m backstroke. A change of focus towards distance freestyle has paid dividends as the 18 year old has continually broken middle and long distance club records since. In the 400m freestyle, despite again setting a new club record, Sambrook’s impressive 4:11.21 swim was still not enough to earn him national qualifier status. His last chance lay in the last heat of the last event of the meet and the hours of training paid off as an impeccably paced 16:33.50 swim booked his place to Sheffield in August.
Mathew Sambrook ~ national qualifier
Charlotte Gardo was clearly not content with her 50m breaststroke club record gained when she recently achieved national qualification in the event, as she again lowered the standard. Gardo also found herself in a swim-off for a place in the 50m butterfly final and the pressure of the occasion clearly helped as she recorded 30.15 to make the final where she improved her ranking to finish in a creditable eighth place.
Dolphin maintained a strong presence in the finals sessions with 34 individual final appearances over the three days of competition. Converting a final appearance to a podium place at regional level is always a tough ask, but achieving this were Charlotte Pitts (gold, silver), Liam Jefferies (gold, bronze), Mathew Sambrook (2 silver), Lauren Matthews (silver, bronze), Fraser Durston (silver, bronze) and Beth Crouch (bronze). Peter Harper also won 50m freestyle gold competing in the muti-classification S14 category in his first regional championships.
This week also sees the formation of a partnership between Dolphin and other top performing clubs in the north of the region. The aim of the program is to provide enhanced training opportunities for competitors at all levels. It also gives a vital opportunity for coaches within the programmes to work together and learn from each other whilst providing the swimmers with some variety in their training schedule.
So far this season, Swindon Dolphin has produced 9 national qualifiers, a testament to the club’s competitive swimming program developed by Louise Clayton. Clayton is modest about her achievements, commenting on the weekend’s competition “A fantastic all-round team performance from all swimmers, with great support from coaches and parents. I’m proud to be involved.”