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TRIPLE GOLD for Dolphin at National Summer Meets

Following the success of the British Summer Championships, Swindon Dolphin saw seven swimmers compete at their respective National Summer Meets. Competing at the Swim England National Summer Meet in Ponds Forge were Betina Puszkarska (13), Sophie King (14), Eva Higginbotham (14), Neve Porton (15) and Fred Carter (17). Ffion Mathias (16) competed at the Welsh Summer Open 2023 in Swansea and Phoebe Kerley (12) was in action at the Swim England National Open Water Championships.


Phoebe Kerley (12) kicked off the week, competing in the 2km event in the 12 years age group category at the Swim England National Open Water Championships. After qualifying for the event from her excellent 800m and 1500m pool times at the Regional Championships, the youngster was looking to gain some experience of Open Water. Taking to the lake in the recent Regional Open Water Championships, Phoebe finished as the overall 12 years champion in the 2km event from the South West, East Midlands and West Midlands regions. This gave Phoebe much confidence moving into the National event. The race plan was to get out fast at the start and stick with the pace of the leading group. An excellent display saw the 12-year-old in the chasing pack with the leaders out front, finishing in a brilliant 8th position in her age group category in 26:07; a fine achievement!

Sophie King (14) began the week at the Swim England National Summer Meet in the pool with the 100m Breaststroke event where she was ranked 18th. After a great heat swim, a new personal best time was set at 01:18.94, earning Sophie 9th place, enough for the final swim in the event later that evening. In the final, Sophie finished in 01:17.56, improving on her personal best time again, finishing in 7th place; a huge improvement on her entry time and ranking. In the process, a new 14 years age group club record was set.


In the longer distance, the 200m Breaststroke, Sophie set her sights on a new personal best time and a final placing, despite being ranked 12th into the event. In her heat, Sophie set the pace leading the swimmers through the 50m and 100m marks, finishing first in a time of 02:48.03. A 3 second improvement on her personal best time earned her a 4th ranked place in the final later that evening. A finals time of 02:47.80 earned the youngster another new best time and placed her 8th in the 14 years age group category.


Neve Porton (15) joined in the action on day two of the competition in the 50m Freestyle event. After a fast first 25m, Neve finished the heat swim in 28.38, a new 15 years age group club record time finishing the Championships in 15th place. This is the second fastest time the 15-year-old has recorded to date, a brilliant achievement.

Neve Porton and Sophie King

On day three of the competition, Sophie King (14) and Eva Higginbotham (14) competed in the 200m Individual Medley, with both girls hoping to do enough to secure a spot in the evening’s final and a medal opportunity. In Heat 4, Eva took over a second off her personal best time and achieved a new 14 years age group club record in 02:30.77. However, this was short lived as in the following heat, Sophie took a chunk off of her personal best time to dip under the new 14 years age group club record in 02:30.71. This was enough for both girls to reach the final of the event seeded 4th and 6th. In the 14 years age group final, a close fought race saw Eva take 4th spot in 02:28.45, breaking the 14 years age group club record again, and Sophie finish just behind in 5th position, in 02:28.48. An outstanding performance from the girls, with both girls dropping 2 seconds from heat to final.


After becoming British Champion in the 50m Breaststroke last week, Fred Carter (17) was back at Ponds Forge for the 200m event at the Swim England National Summer Meet. Ranked first going into the event, Fred hoped for a fast enough time to earn him another National title. In the heat, Fred recorded a 6 second personal best time, touching in 02:26.94; a new 16 years age group club record and a central lane for the final later that evening. In the final, Fred stepped up his game by controlling the first 100m much better compared to the morning swim, and coming back faster in the last 100m to take another National Title in 02:24.77, 8 seconds faster than his entry time and another new age group club record. Another outstanding performance from Fred , making it the third national medal for the 16-year-old this year. The last event for the 16-year-old was the 200m Individual Medley. Ranked slowest into the event, a fantastic swim saw him finish in another new personal best time in 02:17.07, placing him 11th in the 17 years age group category.

English National Champion 200m Breaststroke Fred Carter (17)

Betina Puszkarska (13) joined in the action on Day 4 of the competition in the 200m Butterfly. Betinawas looking to improve on her ranking with a new personal best time. She achieved both standards, finishing in 02:36.73 in the heat, earning her 8th place into the final of the 12/13 years age group later that evening. In the final, she posted a faster swim by controlling the first 100m to finish in a faster 02:36.63, retaining her 8th place finish in her age group.

Sophie King (14) was also back in action for the 50m Breaststroke. In the heat swim, Sophie took a second off her personal best time to clock a 35.66, earning her a new 14 years age group club record and a 7th place finish into the 14 years final later that evening. In the final, she posted another faster swim to improve on her best time and age group club record, retaining her position in 7th for her age group.


On the final day of competition, Sophie King (14) took to the pool for the 400m Individual Medley. Hoping to secure another final spot to have had 5 out of 5 possible finals at the Championships, Sophie swam close to her personal best time in the heat, enough to secure a final placing later that evening. Ranked 6th into the final, Sophie took on feedback from her coach about working the stroke rate on the backstroke and freestyle legs to secure a 5 second personal best time in the final and a 6th place finish in 05:18.14, which also secured another 14 years age group club record.


Meanwhile in Swansea at the Welsh Summer Open 2023, Ffion Mathias (16) had a fantastic meet, competing in the 50m, 100m and 200m Breaststroke, 200m and 400m Individual Medley and 400m Freestyle events. She kicked off the meet in style with a new personal best time in the 400m Individual Medley, just outside of the medals in the 16 years age group with a 4th place finish with a time of 05:35.54. In the shorter medley distance, the 200m, ranked 4th into the final of the event, Ffion secured a 5 second personal best time in the final to earn a BRONZE medal with a time of 02:31.76. A strong swim in the 400m Freestyle saw the 16-year-old finish in a time of 04:57.46, and a 6th place finish.

Ffion's best results came in the Breaststroke events. In the 50m Breaststroke, a stunning 35.34 saw her take second position into the final later that evening. In the final, after a long wait behind the blocks, the 16-year-old hit a faster time in 35.15, just short of her best time, to take silver. In the 100m Breaststroke, Ffion was hoping to finish one placing higher to earn her first gold medal. In the heat, a new personal best time was set in 01:18.44, securing her the middle lane for the final that evening. In the final, Ffion had an outstanding swim to finish in another best time of 01:17.01, securing her the gold medal in the 16 years age group category. Eager for more success in the 200m Breaststroke, Ffion set the pace in her heat swim with a new personal best time of 02:53.47, ensuring she was fastest into the final of the 16 years age group. In the final, another huge personal best time was achieved, 5 seconds faster than her heat, to take another gold in 02:48.08. Ffion finished the meet as a two-time Welsh Champion with 2 gold, 1 silver and 1 bronze medal. A huge achievement!

Two-time Welsh Champion, Ffion Mathias in the 100m and 200m Breaststroke (16)

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