Top 5 and championship best time for Dolphin in county opener
Event: Wiltshire County ASA Championships Distance Freestyle Venue: Bath University Date: 1st February 2014
The Wiltshire County Championships got underway last weekend with the distance freestyle events at Bath University. In the girls’ 800m freestyle event Dolphin occupied the top five championship places whilst Mathew Sambrook swam to a new county championship best time and a new club record in the boys’ 1500m freestyle.
Although Dolphin do not follow an overall distance based training programme, there were some excellent performances from swimmers more associated with sprint and middle distance events. Most notable of these was 100m freestyle national qualifier Sophie Bartlett who swam comfortably under the regional qualifying time and came remarkably close to her national time in what was her very first long course 800m freestyle swim.
Also competing in his first long course distance freestyle event was Fraser Durston who found himself in an exciting tussle with Tigersharks’ Benjamin Edwards. Durston got off to an unsettled start, dropping back from Edwards by several metres. However, dispelling the myth that distance freestyle is a boring event, Durston began to claw his way back into contention by steadily building pace, overtaking Edwards and eventually took second place in the 16 year age group behind team-mate Liam Jefferies, both swimming under the regional qualifying mark.
William Davies appears to go from strength to strength as he added another regional qualifying time to his portfolio in his 1500m freestyle swim. The much improved skill base of the 13 year old was clear to see particularly on his turns, although an obvious pick-up in pace in the last 50m probably means there is more to come should he decide to progress the event in future.
The girl’s penultimate heat saw Beth Crouch set the standard for the final heat with an impressive 9:48.65. In the top heat, only Dolphin’s Charlotte Pitts and Lauren Matthews could better this as they finished clear of the rest of the field. In the outside lanes, Danielle Lewis and Georgina Pitts had battles of their own with Lewis eventually pulling clear of Megan Reckless of Bradford upon Avon and Pitts only just holding off Virginia Baker of Salisbury and Rebecca Cook of Tigersharks to take overall fifth.
Danielle Lewis, Lauren Matthews, Charlotte Pitts, Beth Crouch, Georgie Pitts ~ 800m freestyle top 5
In the boys final heat, Mathew Sambrook despite not being fully rested for the event was focused on achieving his national time. An excellent start saw him on target pace up to about the half way point which only then began to slip as the lack of any taper started to take its toll. The 16:51.49 swim was just eight seconds shy of the national mark, although the consolation of a championship win, county championship best time and new club record should be sufficient to give the 17 year old some confidence in his ability at a target meet.
Mathew Sambrook ~ 1500m freestyle championship best time
As well as senior championship gold for Mathew Sambrook and Charlotte Pitts, there was a silver for Lauren Matthews, bronze for Beth Crouch and Liam Jefferies, 4th for Danielle Lewis and Fraser Durston, 5th for Georgina Pitts and 8th for William Davies. In the junior championships, William Davies and Rebecca Flack picked up a well earned bronze and there was a 4th for Sophie Bartlett, 5th place for James Watson and 8th for Jake Lewis. Age group medallists for Dolphin were Mathew Sambrook (gold), Sophie Bartlett (gold), William Davies (gold), Charlotte Pitts (gold), Lauren Matthews (gold), Liam Jefferies (gold), Stuart Gibbs (gold), Beth Crouch (silver), Fraser Durston (silver), Rebecca Flack (silver), Rebecca Matthews (silver), James Watson (silver), Danielle Lewis (bronze), Jake Lewis (bronze).