National qualification for Dolphin duo

Event: Portsmouth Northsea Level 1 Open Meet Venue: Mountbatten Leisure Centre, Portsmouth Date: 11th and 12th January 2014

The competition season for Dolphin’s top performers started in earnest last weekend as a squad of 23 were at the Portsmouth Northsea Level 1 Open Meet at the Mountbatten Leisure Centre, Portsmouth. This was the first opportunity of the season to achieve national qualifying times and the results did not disappoint as Sophie Bartlett and Charlotte Pitts made the grade in the 100m freestyle and 400m freestyle respectively.

Sophie Bartlett and Charlotte Pitts ~ a dynamic duo


It was at the same meet last year that Pitts achieved national qualification in the same event. However, a lack of event-specific race practice leading up to the 2013 nationals resulted in an over-enthusiastic first 200m and consequently a disappointing 400m time. To her credit, the 17 year old has clearly learnt from the experience and a far more restrained opening 200m this time ensured there was enough in reserve to maintain speed in the second 200m, with the reward of not only a national qualifying time but also a new club record.

Sophie Bartlett had been performing well in early season competition, already clocked up numerous regional qualifying times and in line with her current stage of development was competing in a variety of events over the two days of competition. 12 year old Bartlett produced three personal best swims on the first day although none were particularly close to the national qualifying mark. In hindsight however, her 30.56 seconds 50m freestyle swim was an indication of what was to come in the 100m freestyle the following day. Bartlett committed to the swim from the outset, recording an impressive 31.24 seconds at the 50m split and returning in 33.20 seconds to dip under the national qualifying mark for the first time.

Olivia Flack has already swum faster than her 100m freestyle national qualifying time this season although only at a level 3 meet, and would need to repeat the performance at a level 2 or level 1 meet in order to qualify. Despite a spirited effort however, the 12 year old stopped the clock just a few tenths of a second over the required 1:04.63. Flack also came within one second of the 100m backstroke time and made significant inroads towards achieving qualification in the 200m freestyle.

Boys’ team captain Mathew Sambrook’s achieved one of his meet goals in his opening swim by setting a new club record in the 200m freestyle in a time of 1.59.62. Sambrook’s main goal however was to achieve national qualification and had recently been working towards realising this ambition in a distance freestyle event. In the 400m freestyle Sambrook continued to chip away at the required mark, lowering his previous best and his own club record, and is now only a few seconds off the target.

Fraser Durston’s portfolio of regional times continues to grow as he added the 400m freestyle and 100m backstroke to the list. There were also numerous improvements in best times from other swimmers including Jake Hancock in his first meet for Dolphin.

Not surprisingly the national qualifying swimmers featured heavily in Dolphin’s medal success with Pitts winning gold and two bronze and Bartlett winning gold and bronze. Olivia Flack also collected gold, silver and bronze whilst Jon Audis picked up silver.

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