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Dolphin win Vale Cup

Event: Vale Cup Venue: White Horse Leisure and Tennis Centre, Abingdon Date: 25th May 2013

Swindon Dolphin sent a team of 30 swimmers to Abingdon on Saturday to compete in the inaugural Vale Cup.  Dolphin were up against Newbury, City of Oxford, Wantage and two teams from the host club Abingdon who competed in the 49 event meet following a similar format to the national Arena League, although aimed at non-Arena League swimmers.

In a noisy and packed White Horse Leisure and Tennis Centre, the competition kicked off with the girls 10 years and under 4 x 50m freestyle relay. A goggle malfunction on the third leg caused the Dolphin girls to slip back to a 6th place finish; not an ideal start, although was enough to raise the tempo of the meet. The boys 10 years and under 4 x 50 freestyle that followed put the team back on track with a 2nd place finish.  This ensured Dolphin enjoyed top 3 finishes in all the first 10 races including 1st places for the girls 14 years and under 4 x 50 freestyle relay (Holly Parsons, Kayleigh Bartlett, Laura Brown and Amber Davies) and the ladies open 4 x 50m medley relay (Gemma Lucas, Kayleigh Bartlett, Victoria Tainty and Bethani Crouch).

Events 11 through to 30 were a little more evenly balanced across all participating teams with mixed fortunes for the Dolphin team although there were first place finishes for William Davies (50m Breaststroke), David Ward (100m Backstroke), Gemma Lucas (100m Backstroke), Annie Ward (50m Butterfly) and Kayleigh Bartlett (100m Freestyle). The Dolphin team began to turn up the heat from event 31 through to 48 with first place finishes for Annie Ward (50m Freestyle), Kayleigh Bartlett (100m Breaststroke), Regan Jefferies (100m Breaststroke), Bethani Crouch (100m Freestyle), Patrick Seed (100m Freestyle), the girls 14 years and under 4 x 50 medley relay team (Holly Parsons, Kayleigh Bartlett, Laura Brown and Amber Davies) and the boys 14 years and under medley relay team (Harry Mundy, Regan Jefferies, David Ward and Anant Mane).

The last race of the night was the 8 x 50m freestyle relay which involved one boy and one girl swimmer from each age group. As the event unfolded, different teams led at different stages of the race. For Swindon Dolphin, Maya Grounsell was first off the blocks, followed by Henry Pearce, Annie Ward, William Davies, Kayleigh Bartlett and Anant Mane. It was not until the closing 100m that Dolphin began to expand their the lead with Victoria Tainty handing over the last leg to Patrick Seed who 25 seconds later secured the win to a deafening roar from around the pool and spectators area.

The Vale Cup team celebrate victory

Patrick Seed and Kayleigh Bartlett with the Vale Cup

Final points: Swindon Dolphin 198, Abingdon Vale Green 171, Newbury 166, Wantage 156, City of Oxford 133, Abingdon Vale Yellow 133


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