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Six Days in Sheffield…The Nationals

Event: British Gas ASA National Youth Championships (50m) 2012 Venue: Ponds Forge, Sheffield Date: 17th to 22nd July 2012

The British Gas ASA National Youth Championships (50m) 2012 took place last week at Ponds Forge, Sheffield with Dolphin swimmers in action on every day of the competition.  The week saw two Dolphin final appearances by S14 swimmer Craig Harris and culminated with James Clark reaching the semi-final stage of the 50m freestyle and a new club record.

Day one saw the first of Craig Harris’ three swims, the multi-classification (MC) 200m freestyle, which earned the 13 year old a place in the final.  A faster swim later in the evening ensured a 5th place finish.  Jon Audis was also racing in the 100m backstroke and swam a respectable 1:00.90 to finish 27th overall.

Craig Harris ~ two final appearances

Day two was the turn of Charlotte Pitts to take to the pool, and swimming in heat one of the 400m freestyle it was always going to be a tough task to make an impact on an impressive field, finishing in 31st place overall.

Day three, and Craig Harris was back in the competition pool in the MC 100m backstroke, again putting on an impressive display to reach the final, finishing in 9th place.

Day four, and Dolphin’s team qualifiers were in action with Charlotte Pitts being joined by Victoria Jennings, Lauren Matthews, Megan Jones for the 4 x 200m freestyle team.  Qualification for the event underlines Dolphin’s strength in middle distance freestyle and for Jennings, Matthews and Jones this was their first taste of competing against the top flight of national swimming.   The quartet did not disappoint and performed well to improve their ranking and earn a 25th place finish.  Craig Harris also competed in his third and final event of the championships, the MC 100m breaststroke, achieving a 12th place finish.

Day five saw the arrival of James Clark, and going into the heats of the 50m freestyle ranked 21st, there was a realistic chance of a semi-final place.  Despite being drawn in an outside lane, Clark took advantage of being in the top cyclically seeded heat and pulled out a 24.33 swim that ensured a place in the top 20.  Competing in the first of the afternoon semi-finals, Clark touched home in 9th place in another personal best of 24.20, and finished in 14th place overall.  The swim not only set a new club record in the event but should also ensure qualification to next year’s Youth Championships as well next year’s British Championships.

James Clark ~ 50m freestyle semi-finalist

Clark was also in action on the sixth and final day of the championships in the 2km open water competition at nearby RotherValleyCountryPark.  The step-up in standard from regional to national competition clearly had an impact on Clark’s performance, and in similar conditions to his qualifying swim a few weeks earlier recorded a near 2 minute improvement over the distance, finishing in 14th place in a time of 25:39.50.

Louise Clayton, Dolphin Chief Coach was pleased with the swimmers’ performances overall and commented “This has been a great end to a successful season for Swindon Dolphin and one that we can continue to build on in the future”.


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