Swindon United in National Arena League

Event:  National Arena Swimming League, Round 1 Venue:  Link Centre (Sx3 A Team, Premier Division), Exeter (Sx3 B Team, Division 2) Date:  10th October 2009

Round one of the National Arena Swimming League took place this weekend.  The combined forces of Swindon’s swimming clubs were again racing under the Swindon Swim Squad colours, with the premier division A team at the Link Centre and the newly promoted B team at the division 2 meet at Exeter.

For the first time ever, the Link played host to a National League fixture, with the A team welcoming amongst other squads, the highly successful Plymouth Leander, overall winners of the National title in 2008 and 2009.  A win for Leander is this opening round was seen as inevitable, but Swindon along with Bridgend, Swim Swansea and Keynsham were out to steal any possible victories.

First strike for Swindon came in event three with the girls 11/under team of Victoria Tainty, Georgia Pearce, Abbie Hawkins and Georgina Pitts pulling off an emphatic win in the freestyle relay.  Aided by Freya Weston, they also went on to gain a valuable second place in the team medley.  Tainty swam superb 50m freestyle to take maximum points with Pitts also racking up points with two second places in the individual butterfly and breaststroke.  The 11/under boys had their fair share off success, with two relay second places for Alex Chantler, Sam Hunter, Alex Eburne and Noah KirbyEburne’s individual backstroke and butterfly swims also gave Swindon further runner up spots, but it was Kirby who was top contributor to team points with two wins in the breaststroke and freestyle.  In the open boys, Jon Audis put on a feisty performance in the backstroke, only just losing out on the touch to Plymouth’s national silver medallist Calum Jarvis.  Swindon’s consistency in maintaining mainly top three places throughout the evening ensured a well deserved second place overall and a promising start to this year’s campaign.

Round 1 premier division scores – Plymouth Leander A 219, Swindon Swim Squad A 145, Bridgend 140, Swim Swansea 137, Keynsham 108

Swindon’s B team had a reasonably comfortable season last year with their league division three debut, but this year’s division two opener proved a little more challenging.

Wins for Kath Baker and Jacob Roberts in the opening individual medleys got the team off to a flying start, with the open age group also seeing some fine victories for Sam Clayton (100m butterfly), Liam Herbert (100m backstroke) and Laura Young (100m breaststroke).  The boys 13/under quartet of Andrew Butler, Elliot Willoughby, Jake Hancock and Liam Jefferies proved dominant in their relays winning both, with individual wins from Butler (50m backstroke) and Willoughby (50m breaststroke).  Touching home first in the 11/under 50m backstroke was Sami Donmez who also led team-mates Oliver Howitt, Daniel Jones and Conor McGilligan to victory in their medley relay.  Victoria Jennings, having won her 50m freestyle, went on to lead off in her 13/under freestyle relay win with Lauren Matthews, Georgie Manning and Charlotte Gardo, whilst Abigail Davidson, having swam the final leg in her winning relay with 11/unders Lucy Bailey, Rebecca Cook, and Jade Walters also won her individual 50m butterfly event.  Relay wins proved to be an important points earner for Swindon with the boys 15/unders Thomas Newbury, Partick Seed, Matthew Magness and Chris Chapman also earning victory in their team medley.  The points tally throughout the evening was tight between Swindon and eventual second placed Bodmin, but a fine display of freestyle racing from the six open boys in winning the final freestyle relay event ensured an overall win by a single point.

Round 1 division 2 scores – Swindon Swim Squad B 231, Bodmin 230, Dawlish 182, Paignton 176, Three Towers 125, Caraden 109

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