Open Water National Qualification for Clark
Event: ASA South West Region and Wilthire ASA Open Water Championships 2012 Venue: West Country Water Park, Bristol Date: 1st July 2012
One of the wettest and coldest summers on record did not deter 12 Dolphin swimmers from competing at this years combined South West Region and Wiltshire County Open Water Championships. For swimmers more used to the relative warmth of an indoor pool, there was the challenge of competing under more demanding conditions, plus the chance for the winners of the national championship distance races to qualify for the championships. This opportunity was seized by James Clark who won the 2km event and has therefore this season achieved the intriguing feat of national qualification at both the shortest (50m) and the longest freestyle distance.
James Clark ~ ASA South West Region 2km Open Water Champion
Dolphin’s youngest competitor was 12 year old Regan Jefferies, competing in the 750m, his first open water event, and finishing in a creditable silver medal place in Wiltshire. The 1.5km event was as expected the busiest, with plenty of jostling for position in the first few hundred metres. Danielle Lewis crossed the line first for Dolphin in a respectable 23:44.26 and took the Wiltshire 14 and under bronze medal. For the Dolphin boys, Ben Clark came home a few minutes later to take South West and Wiltshire gold in the 15 to 18 years, followed by Anthony Clark also with a double gold in the 40 to 49 years. Jake Lewis maintained the medal streak with Wiltshire silver the 14 and unders.
The 3km event followed, with Doug Alexander, Alice Anger and Helen Hanks braving the longer distance. Alexander was rewarded with a South West bronze, and with Anger and Hanks keeping each other company for much of the 6 laps of the 500m course, it was Anger who took the initiative on the final lap, also taking South West bronze. Hanks had the consolation of the first swimmer over the line in the 40 to 49 years, taking both Wiltshire and South West gold.
The 1.75km event attracted a quality field including Chilean international open water swimmer Katarina Blanco who won the girls’ event by just 0.25s ahead of Molly Redford of KellyCollege. Dolphin’s Victoria Jennings and Lauren Matthews finished South West third and fourth respectively. Mathew Sambrook also collected South West bronze.