Sx3 Take to the Water
In a week that has seen Swindon swimmers Jazz Carlin, Chris Jones and Grant Turner compete as individuals at the British Championships for a place in the Beijing Olympics it is fitting that a new squad has taken to the water for the first time on a journey that will, if things go to plan, also allow them to compete at the highest level of club competition. On Sunday afternoon at the Link Centre the best young swimmers from Swindon Dolphin, Tigersharks, Swindon ASC and Wroughton trained together for the first time as Swindon Swim Squad, or Sx3 as they will be known, a new squad that will compete in regional and national competitions.
The first indicator of the strength of Sx3 will come on 19th April when ‘A’ and ‘B’ teams will participate in the first round of the Southern Junior League. This is a competition in which Tigersharks and, more recently, Dolphin have competed within regional finals, but without making an impression nationally. By being able to call on the combined strength of all of the competitive swimmers aged 12 and under from within the Borough of Swindon, chief coaches Lesley Leffers and Andi Manley will be hoping that Sx3 can go one step further.
In October, SX3 will also compete in Britain’s top club competition, the National Speedo League – a team event for swimmers from 9 years old to senior. In recent years both Dolphin and Tigersharks have been regulars in the regional final but have been unable to break the stranglehold of the likes of Plymouth Leander and Millfield. Whilst overhauling the mighty Plymouth is a not a realistic short term target, Sx3 will be genuine contenders for a place in the national final.
Between these team competitions, Sx3 will also be represented at the Regional and National championships. Individuals who qualify to swim at this level will now take part under the Sx3 banner. This is certain to improve the profile and position of Swindon swimming, the combined squad numbering around twice as many qualifiers as even the best represented Swindon team has previously achieved.
Although Sx3 now becomes the face of Swindon to the swimming world beyond Wiltshire, nothing changes locally. All of the clubs will continue to maintain their own identities within the county and, despite the friendships that exist between many of the swimmers at rival clubs, competition between them will continue to be fierce, with Dolphin looking to overturn Tigersharks’ recent domination of the Moonraker leagues. What changes though is that each of the Borough’s top swimmers will now have the opportunity to join forces and to compete for Swindon with the goal of reaching the very top level of club competition, with this in turn contributing to each clubs’ goal of helping their swimmers maximise their full potential.
Sx3 Girls’ Southern Junior League Squad
Sx3 Boys’ Southern Junior League Squad
Sx3 Southern Junior League Coaching Team
Source: Sx3 Press Team