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Dolphin top the Wiltshire Championships 2023

Swindon Dolphin had a strong team of 37 swimmers competing at the 2023 Wiltshire Youth County Championships. An additional 10 age group swimmers (aged 10-13) who had qualified for the Youth events were also competing. Dolphin finished the Championships as the highest club in the medal table, making them the most successful of all Wiltshire teams at the event.

Dolphin finished the Championships with 57 Gold, 30 Silver and 31 Bronze medals, in addition to 20 Junior Championship titles and 22 Senior Championship titles. This was a phenomenal result, winning 57% of all age group category gold medals, Junior and Senior Championship titles. To add to this incredible achievement, Dolphin also finished with the top five of all Wiltshire swimmers competing in the medal table.

Eva Higginbotham (14) topped the medal table, making her the most successful Youth swimmer in Wiltshire in terms of medal count, with a total of 8 gold and 5 silver from her 13 events entered. Higginbotham’s versatility saw her compete across a range of strokes and distances. One of her most noticeable performances came in the 400m Freestyle with a time of 04:42.38, seeing her finish as Junior Champion and 3rd in the overall Championships. In the 50m Freestyle, Higginbotham claimed the Junior and Senior Championship title with a time of 28.35. Higginbotham finished her championships as four-time Junior Champion and two-time Senior Champion.

Emilie Gulliver (19) followed closely behind with 8 gold, 2 silver and 2 bronze, placing her second in the individual medal table. Gulliver’s best performances came in the breaststroke and individual medley events, with Gulliver finishing with a sweep of 8 Championship titles including a sweep of the 50m, 100m and 200m Breaststroke as well as the 100m, 200m and 400m IM. New personal best times were set in all of these events. Arguably, Gulliver’s most noticeable performance was in the 200m Breaststroke, finishing in a new personal best time of 02:39.76, moving closer to Elizabeth Beckett’s exceptional club record time of 02:34.18. The club record time was smashed in the 100m Individual Medley in 01:07.07, and an excellent 400m IM saw Gulliver finish as County Champion in 05:12.28.

Megan Watts (15) finished her Championships with 8 gold, 1 silver and 1 bronze. Watts finished as 6 Junior titles and 1 Senior title, earning her third spot in the Wiltshire individual medal table. Watts had some brilliant showings in the Butterfly and Backstroke events. A new open club record time was set in the 50m Butterfly, where she finished in 29.44. She achieved an age group club record time in the 200m Backstroke, finishing in 02:26.48.

Adding to the Dolphin success, Sophie King (14) finished in 4th place in the Wiltshire individual medal table, with 7 age group gold, 4 silver and 1 bronze medal. King came away with 4 Junior titles for her efforts in the 50m Breaststroke, 100m Breaststroke, 200m Individual Medley and 400m Individual Medley events. King will be aiming to close in on the age group club records over the coming months.

Caitlin Gulliver (19) finished as the 5th top swimmer in Wiltshire for individual medal count with 7 gold and 4 silver age group medals. Gulliver smashed her expectations of this meet, finishing as Top Girl at the 2023 Wiltshire Championships after an outstanding 100m Backstroke, claiming top spot with a time of 01:04.40, setting a new Club Record in the process. The 200m Backstroke was also a phenomenal swim for the 19-year-old, claiming another Open Club Record time of 02:21.04, claiming another of her 5 Senior Championship titles. In the 50m Butterfly, Gulliver dipped under 30 seconds for the first time in 29.73, taking the 18 years and over age group club record.

Not to be outdone by the girls, Lucas Carter (15) put on some incredible displays, with Carter clinching the title in 5 Junior titles and 1 Senior title. Having just turned 15, Carter took two 15 years age group club record off his brother, Fred Carter (17), in the 50m and 100m Breaststroke events. Great performances for the 15-year old were also displayed in the 200m Individual Medley, dipping under 2.20 for the first time, in 02:19.94, and 200m Backstroke in 02:20.54.

In the 16 years and over age category, Boys Team Captain Fred Carter (17) collected 6 age group gold and 2 age group silver medals, taking the Senior Championship title in 5 of his 8 events. 16 year age group club records were achieved in the 50m and 100m Breaststroke events, in 31.09 and 01:07.24, and the 50m Butterfly event in 26.99. A notable performance in the 200m Individual Medley event saw the finish go down to the wire with Chippenham’s Louis Nicholls (18) where Carter finished in 02:13.84.

Multi-classification swimmer, Ella Williams (16) swept huge personal best times across all of her events. In her favoured 100m Breaststroke event, Williams finished in 01:30.01, narrowly missing a performance under 01:30. Williams sights are now set on the British Para- Swimming Championships in April, which is part of the Para Swimming World Series.

Adding to the medal tally, Farrleigh Greaves (15) collected 1 gold, 4 silver and 3 bronze medals, achieving 1 Junior title in the 100m Backstroke event, also placing him third in the Senior Championship. Ffion Mathias (16) was in great shape, finishing with 1 gold and 7 bronze medals in the 16 and over age category. Mathias achieved a new age group club record in the 50m Breaststroke, in a brilliant 34.81. Neve Porton (15) followed the success with 3 gold, 2 silver and 1 bronze medal, 3 Junior Championship silver medals and 2 Senior Championship bronze medals. Porton impressed in the Breaststroke events, with huge new personal best times.

Lily Hunt (15) completed her Championships with 1 gold and 2 silver medals, and a Junior Championship Bronze for a beautiful swim in the 15 years 50m Breaststroke final. Lucas Pearcey (17) took home 1 silver and 2 bronze medals and 2 Senior bronze medals for his efforts in the 50m, 100m and 200m Breaststroke events. Fantastic new personal best times in these events saw Pearcey dip under 1.10 in the 100m Breaststroke and under 32 in the 50m Breaststroke events for the first time.

Also adding to the medal tally was Alfie Workman (14) 1 silver and 2 bronze, Ethan Gough (17) 3 bronze, Esme Kerley (14) 1 bronze, Etta Crowley (14) 1 bronze, Max Paton (14) 1 bronze, Molly Smithson (15) 1 bronze, and Sophie Leonard (15) 1 bronze.

Alfie Smithson (17) and Mykhailo Uniiat (14) both displayed excellent performances in their races across a range of events. Smithson’s best placing came after qualifying for the final of the 100m Butterfly, where he swam a new personal best time of 01:04.23, finishing fifth in the Championship. Uniiat improved significantly on his entry times, qualifying for the 14 years 100m Butterfly final, where he finished sixth and the 50m Freestyle final, where he finished in fifth.

Along with 9 other age group swimmers, Betina Puszkarska (13) earned her right to compete at the Youth Championships. In the 200m Butterfly, she finished in 2nd place in the Junior Championship and 3rd place in the Senior Championship. In the 200m Individual Medley and 200m Backstroke events, new personal best times earned the youngster a 5th and 6th place finish in the Junior Championships.

Finlay Holder (14) and Charlotte Gulliver (15) had a good Wiltshire Championships, with both swimmers recording times good enough to earn them a place at the South West Regional Championships in the 50m Breaststroke and 100m Breaststroke respectively. Gulliver also achieved final placings in the 100m Backstroke and 100m Breaststroke. Gulliver’s best placing came in the 200m Backstroke, finishing in 4th position in her age category.

Girls Team Captain, Jessica Paton (18), qualified for the final of the 100m Backstroke after a personal best time in the heat, finishing in 6th place in the 16 and over age category. Zak Parker (16) competed across a range of events and strokes, demonstrating excellent commitment to all of his events. After a fantastic heat swim of the 100m Freestyle, Parker qualified for the final in fifth position. He made the most of this opportunity and stepped up to finish in forth place in a new personal best time of 57.03, narrowly missing out on bronze by 0.02.

Other swimmers who added to the Dolphin presence at the Wiltshire Championships include Finlay Mutton (15), Lewis Smith (15), Aaryamaan Singh (15), Joseph Williams (16), Thomas Spibey (16), Ben Tait (16), Jacob Cremin (17), Jess Norridge (14), Amelia Naisby (14), Jess Smith (17) and Erin Parker (17).


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