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Raising the bar at Regional Champs

Event: Swim England South West Regional Youth and Age Group Championships

Venue: Plymouth Life Centre / Bristol Hengrove / Millfield School

Date: 23rd & 24th April, 7th & 8th May (Age Groups), 30th April to 2nd May (Youth)

The Swim England South West Regional Swimming Championships 2022 took place across three weekends, with a strong Swindon Dolphin presence of 24 swimmers across the youth and age-group competitions. For many, it was their first experience of a Regional event, whilst for others it was a chance to peak as they build towards the Summer National Meets.

Front row (left to right): Jacob, Betina, Sophie, Eva, Lily. Back row (left to right): Sophie, Lucas, Farrleigh, Molly.

In the Age Group Competition, excellent performances were on display by Etta Crowley (13), Gethin Jenks (12), Evan Kane (12), Finlay Holder (13), Phoebe Kerley (11) and Molly Smithson (14). Although this was the first experience of Regional-standard competition for many, all swimmers stepped up to the plate. 11 year old Phoebe Kerley took 26th position in the 11/12 years age group category in the 100m backstroke event. This made her the fastest 11-year-old in the Region. As Phoebe will compete in the same age group category next year, she will certainly be one to look out for.

Alfie and Finlay

Final swims came thick and fast at the Age Group Competition, with 10 of the 16 swimmers finishing within the top 8 in their age groups, which is a fantastic achievement. Lily Hunt (14) secured final spots in the 50m and 100m Breaststroke events, finishing in 8th and 7th position. Team mate Sophie Leonard (14) also bagged herself final spots in the same two events, with a 6th place finish in the 100m Breaststroke and 7th place finish in the 50m Breaststroke. Alfie Workman (13) achieved personal best times in all six of his qualified events, earning him a final spot in the 200m Breaststroke in the last event of the Championships, with an 8th place finish.

14 year old Farrleigh Greaves and Lucas Carter showed some good form, with each swimmer achieving 3 new personal best times. In this favoured breaststroke events, Lucas finished with solid placings in his finals, with a 6th place finish in the 50m Breaststroke, and a 5th place finish in the 100m Breaststroke. Not to be outdone, Farrleigh finished in the top 8 in his age group category in the 100m Freestyle, 200m Freestyle, 400m Freestyle, 800m Freestyle and 200m Backstroke. His top placing came in the 200m Freestyle and 200m Backstroke, with 5th place finishes in both events.

Medals were not short to come by for the Dolphin contingent, with a haul of 2 gold, 6 silver and 6 bronze medals won across the Age Group Competition.

Megan Watts (14) and Jacob Burton (12) showed good form in their events. Megan picked up a final spot and silver medal for her efforts in the final of the 100m Butterfly, stepping up from heat to final, finishing in a time of 1:08.31, just shy of her personal best. After a solid heat swim for Jacob in the 200m Butterfly, he was delighted to qualify for the final, where he swam 5 seconds quicker than his heat swim to earn himself a silver medal. A fine achievement by both swimmers.

Betina Puszkarska (12) was in particularly good form, achieving personal bests in all but one of her 12 events. Betina finished in the top 8 of her age group category in the 50m Butterfly, 100m Butterfly, 200m Butterfly, 200m Backstroke, 400m IM and 1500m Freestyle. A silver medal in her favoured event, the 200m Butterfly, was just a reward for the 12 year old.

Sophie King (13) and Eva Higginbotham (13) were in fine form, collecting 2 gold, 3 silver and 6 bronze medals between them. Eva displayed some excellent swimming, with eight personal best times from the 10 events entered, with top eight finishes in the 50m Freestyle, 100m Freestyle, 200m Freestyle, 400m Freestyle, 200m IM and 400m IM. The result for Eva was 2 silver and 4 bronze medals. There is no doubt that Eva will be looking for a gold medal at next year's championships.

Competing in the same age group, Sophie had a outstanding meet, collecting 2 gold, 1 silver and 2 bronze medal, making every event final that she entered, and achieving personal best times in all but one of her ten events. Both girls put on an excellent display of racing, with all finalist swimmers showing great progress on their process goals between heat and final swims.

At the Youth Championships, Jacob Cremin (16) competed at his first Regional Championships. Qualifying in the 50m and 100m Breaststroke, Jacob clocked a new personal best time in the 100m Breaststroke. Ben Tait (15) followed suit, picking up a new best time in the 50m Breaststroke. Making progress towards their personal best times were Emilie Gulliver (18) and Caitlin Gulliver (18), with the latter making the final of the 200m Butterfly, finishing in 9th position.

Zak Parker (15) was in great form, achieving personal best times in eight of his qualified events. His best placing was in the 100m Backstroke, where he finished in 12th. Ethan Gough (16) made the final in one of his four events, the 200m Backstroke, where he finished in 10th position. Fred Carter (16) made 3 finals at the Championships, in the 50m Butterfly, 100m Butterfly and 50m Breaststroke. His best placing came in the 50m Breaststroke, where he finished 6th in a new personal best time.

All squad swimmers now look forward to the Swindon Dolphin End of Season Meet in July. For other swimmers, they will be hoping to have done enough to qualify for the British Summer Championships 2022 and Swim England National Summer Meet 2022 in Ponds Forge, Sheffield.


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