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Premier performances at club champs

Event: Swindon Dolphin Club Championships Venue: Marlborough College Date: 28th & 29th September and 3rd October 2013

Swindon Dolphin’s continued growth in membership numbers was reflected in the increased number of entries at this year’s club championships with almost 160 swimmers entering the competition held over two full days at the Link Centre and one evening at Marlborough College.  There were some fine all round performances including two new club records from distance freestyler Mathew Sambrook.

The competition involves swimmers from all areas of the club, including 25m events specifically for learn to swim and 50m masters only events.  For the more experienced swimmers, the early season racing enables them to lay down benchmarks for the forthcoming year whilst for the younger contingent this would be one of their first experiences of competing under full race conditions.  Although for the club’s top performing swimmers this was one of their very few short-course competitions, it provides an invaluable way of working basic starts and turns skills under race conditions.

Jon Audis, Mathew Sambrook and Fraser Durston all rose to the challenge of competing in all events, with Audis and Sambrook winning an equal share of the 14 championship titles.   Sambrook’s opening and closing swims of the competition, the 400m and 1500m freestyle were undoubtedly his best performances as he set new club records in each and both events will now be on his national qualifying target list for this season.   Despite Durston missing out on championship medals, the 15 year old showed the greatest degrees of improvement against entry time of the three, and looks certain to move up to the rank of multiple event regional qualifier next year.  Top male junior was Liam Jefferies with five titles, the other two going to Durston and Adam Coleman.

The battle for most of the female championship titles was between national qualifiers Charlotte Pitts and Lauren Matthews.  As expected, Matthews dominated the backstroke and butterfly events winning the 100m and 200m events in each.  Pitts, despite being pushed all the way by Matthews won both the 200m and 400m individual medley as well as the 200m, 400m and 800m freestyle.  Surprisingly Pitts was also victorious in the 200m breaststroke just touching out Charlotte Gardo on the finish.  Gardo also just missed out in the 100m event with an in-form Rebecca Flack taking the title.   Other championship wins went to Georgina Pitts, Ella Wardale and Victoria Jennings.

The mystery medley skins produced some added excitement to the championships with the top 6 male and female swimmers competing over five knock-out rounds of 50m swims.  Some close fought battles through the early stages saw Audis and Sambrook reach the boys final, with Charlottes Pitts and Gardo making it through for the girls.  With freestyle drawn for the boys, a Sambrook win was inevitable but with backstroke for the girls, a much closer contest ensued as Pitts touched out Gardo by just one one hundredth of a second to take the first prize.

Mystery Medley Skins get underway with the girl’s backstroke

Based on the now confirmed short course youth consideration and age group qualifying times, Swindon Dolphin look to already have 19 swimmers within this standard, although all will need to repeat the performance in at least a level 3 meet in order to confirm qualification.   Subject to confirmation, 67 swimmers achieved times within the county standard including 9 year olds Tyler Hillier, Finlay Eaton, Charlotte Mooney and Erin Henly.  Henly looked particularly impressive in her 200m breaststroke swim, finishing more than 20 seconds under the qualifying time and only a few seconds short of the 10 year old standard.

Competitor numbers from the club’s learn to swim program continues to grow and in their 25m events there were some noteworthy performances, especially in the technical ability of some of the younger swimmers.  Lyra Sheppard and James Hawkins put on particularly good displays in the breaststroke events as did Abby Birchall, Madeleine Maysey and Aimee Masters in the butterfly.

Dolphin’s Masters were well represented at the championships with Jon Audis, Stuart Gibbs and Andy Garrett dominating their respective age groups each winning four gold in the masters events.

Full results are available here.


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