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Triple GOLD at National Championships

A team of nine Swindon Dolphin swimmers competed at their respective National Championship Meets this summer. Megan Watts was competing at the British Summer Championships 2022 at Ponds Forge in Sheffield with a further seven swimmers; Fred Carter, Lucas Carter, Farrleigh Greaves, Eva Higginbotham, Sophie King, Sophie Leonard and Ella Williams joining her the following week at the Swim England National Summer Meet. Meanwhile, Ffion Mathias was competing at the Welsh National Meet held in Swansea.

Swindon Dolphin certainly made their mark, displaying exceptional performances to make it a great end to an incredible season for the club. They left the Championships with a total of 3 English National Champions, 3 English National silver medallists, 8 new age group club records and 16 top 10 finishes, along with 10 final appearances.

Coach Dave Leonard with English National Champions, Fred Carter and Lucas Carter

Lucas Carter (14) and Fred Carter (16) were both in outstanding form at the Swim England National Summer Meet, with the boys becoming English National Champions in the 100m Breaststroke and 50m Breaststroke events respectively. Lucas Carter (14) began the meet with his favoured event, the 100m Breaststroke, and he certainly did not disappoint. A blistering heat swim saw him achieve a four-second personal best time, setting a new 14 years age group club record in 1:10.04 and placing him as fastest seed going into the final. In the final, a repeat of his efforts earlier in the day saw him finish in a 1:10.54, seeing him become the 13/14 years English National Champion.

The youngest Carter then returned to compete in the 50m Backstroke. Another 14 years age group club record in the heat ensured him a place in the final, ranked second. In the final, Carter used the confidence gained from earlier in the meet to his advantage, and with an excellent start and underwater phase, secured the SILVER, improving on his heat swim in 29.54. In his final event, the 50m Breaststroke, Carter was looking for another medal to add to the collection. Unfortunately, a flinch at the start of the race saw the 14-year old disqualified. Although disappointing, the 14-year old displayed an excellent attitude towards his disappointment, and saw it as a learning opportunity as he moves into the new season.

GOLD English National Champion 2022, Lucas Carter

Fred Carter (16) shocked himself in his heat swim of the 50m Breaststroke. A swift start saw the 16 year old pull away from all his competitors from the starting gun to extend his lead throughout the race, taking a second off his personal best time and earning the fastest seed into the 16 years final in a new 15 years age group club record of 30.72. In the 16 years final, Carter set out for the gold and a new personal best time. The boys team captain remained focussed, and achieved both the GOLD and a new best time in 30.68. Not only was he fastest in his age group, but also out of all swimmers in all age groups at the Summer meet; a fantastic achievement.

GOLD English National Champion 2022, Fred Carter

Ella Williams (15) kick started her Swim England National Summer Meet campaign with the MC 100m Freestyle and MC 100m Breaststroke. Ella posted a time fast enough to make the final of the MC 100m Freestyle in 7th position, in a personal best time of 1:21.38 in the heat, then dropping this further in the final to 1:21.05. In the MC 100m Breaststroke, a great personal best time saw her set the most points in the multi-classification race, earning her a fantastic GOLD medal for her efforts. The 1:31.96 she posted was a great start to her events in Sheffield, and a significant improvement compared to her last outing at this meet as a young 12 year old.

Williams continued to be in excellent form throughout the competition, with personal best times in every one of her events. A top 10 finish in the MC 50m Freestyle saw her reach another final, where a strong swim saw her clinch 6th with 437 points. In the MC 200m IM, a brilliant breaststroke leg saw the 15-year old make great strides to finish with the SILVER medal in 3.09.88. Ella had some further success in the MC 400m Freestyle, finishing 5th in a new personal best time, the MC 100m Butterfly, where she earned a SILVER medal in another new best time and the MC 100m Backstroke, finishing in 6th position.

GOLD English National MC Champion 2022, Ella Williams

Megan Watts (14) made her presence known at the British Summer Championships 2022, qualifying for 100m butterfly, her favoured event. Watts qualified for the event ranked 23rd, and was looking to improve on her ranking at her first experience of a national standard meet. After some great easy-speed down the first 50m, an excellent turn saw her finish first in her heat, dipping under her personal best time in 1:07.48. Megan improved her raking to finish in 18th position in the 13/14 years age category.

At the Swim England National Summer Meet, Watts competed in the 200m Butterfly event. An excellent heat swim saw her finish in 2.31.52, a new personal best time, qualifying second for the 14 years age group final. Megan hoped to improve on her heat swim in the final by focussing on the last 50m of the race. Watts remained committed to this, resulting in a good improvement in the final in another new personal best time of 2.30.05 and a SILVER medal for her efforts.

English National SILVER Medallist 2022 - Megan Watts

Farrleigh Greaves (14) and Eva Higginbotham (13) qualified for several events at the Championships, and were not fazed by the level of competition. Both swimmers achieved personal best times in every one of their events, showing that their commitment and discipline in training had reaped rewards. Greaves was rewarded for his efforts as he qualified for the final in 3 of his 4 swims, finishing in 7th position in the 13/14 years final of the 100m Freestyle, 200m Freestyle and 200m Backstroke, where he again improved on his personal best times from his heat swims. He also earned a new 14 years age group club record in the 100m Freestyle in 56.98.

Higginbotham also had a great show at her first National-standard meet, where she came away with new personal best times in all three of her events, the 100m Freestyle, 200m Freestyle and 200m Individual Medley. Higginbotham qualified for the 12/13 years final of the 100m Freestyle in a new personal best time of 1.02.39, inside the 13 years and under age group club record; a wonderful achievement. In the final of the event, an increase in her stroke rate on the last 50m paid off with another new best time of 1.01.79 and a 5th place finish. Her splits of 30.48 - 31.31 show how brilliant her back-end speed was, and how much more there is to come for the 13 year old.

Left to right: Dave Leonard, Lucas Carter, Fred Carter, Eva Higginbotham, Megan Watts

In Swansea, Ffion Mathias (15) selected to compete only in the 400m Individual Medley event, despite qualifying for numerous other events. A great showing for the 15-year old saw her finish in 4th position, just outside of the medals, an excellent achievement. Back at Ponds Forge, Sophie Leonard (14) and Sophie King (13) competed at the Swim England National Summer Meet. Leonard enjoyed her first experience of the meet, taking to the stage in the 100m Breaststroke, improving on her qualification ranking to finish 13th in the 14 year age category in a time of 1.20.93. King competed in the 200m Breaststroke and 200m Individual Medley, finishing in 15th position in both events.

Left to right: Fred Carter, Lucas Carter, Sophie Leonard, Eva Higginbotham

Swindon Dolphin have had a great season, and we are very proud of our swimmers who show such commitment, dedication and resilience towards their swimming.

Our achievements have been nothing short of exceptional, and it is down to our brilliant and strong network of support, from swimmers, coaches, parents, committee and all volunteers who make the club the success that it is. We are very appreciative of the work that each and every member of the team put in, and we are now very excited to build upon the progress we have made as we move towards the 2022-2023 season.


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