Where there’s a Will
Event: British Gas ASA South West Region Age Group Championships 2014 / Cardiff International Open Meet Venue: Millfield / Cardiff International Pool Date: 8th and 9th June 2014 / 7th, 8th and 9th June 2014
William Davies became Dolphin’s 10th national qualifier of the season this weekend, recording a time of 17:48.31 in the 1500m freestyle at the Regional Age Group Championships. The achievement topped a weekend of other successes for Swindon Dolphin who were not only competing at the first weekend of the Championships at Millfield School, Somerset, but also had a squad attending the Cardiff International Open Meet at the Cardiff International Pool.
Davies’ time set at Millfield was more than 20 seconds inside the national qualifying mark and he not only set a new age group club record in the event but also set new standards for his split times at 400m and 800m. A gold medal capped off an incredible achievement for the 13 year old who only qualified for the regional championships for the first time ever this year. There is clearly a lot more to come from Davies whose current training regime will allow an increase in volume and intensity over the coming years, keeping it proportionate to his stages of development.
Also competing in the Regional Championships was Regan Jefferies whose focus on skills in the training pool is starting to pay off as he dropped his 200m breaststroke time to an impressive 2:41.96; within just a few percent of his national time. Jefferies will also be looking for some big improvements in his 100m event which he is due to swim on the second weekend of the championships, although it looks more likely that the 200m event will be his main focus in the forthcoming seasons.
Dolphin’s first medal of the championships came from 100m freestyle national qualifier Sophie Bartlett as she showed her versatility across distances by winning silver in the 800m freestyle, and coming within just four seconds of a second national time.
William Davies and Sophie Bartlett ~ regional medallists and national qualifiers
Olivia Flack had already swum under her 100m freestyle national qualifying time in November 2013 at Bristol although it could not be officially recognised for qualification due to the level of meet. There were no such restrictions at the Regional Championships and the 12 year old was clearly focused on her goal, dipping under the mark in the heat and achieving the time again in the final finishing in a creditable seventh place. The swim means that Flack now has qualified in three events and will no doubt be attempting to achieve more with the final weekend of the championships still to come.
Olivia Flack ~ 3 national qualifying times
Meanwhile, across the Bristol Channel in Cardiff, Dolphin were also attending the Cardiff International Open Meet at the city’s International Pool. A full program of events, including finals, and a large number of entries made for some unusually tough racing conditions at the venue.
Not to be outdone by the success at distance freestyle events in Millfield, 17 year old Charlotte Pitts put in a sterling performance in her 800m freestyle, recording her second national qualifying time of the season and winning a gold medal.
Charlotte Pitts ~ new NQT in 800m freestyle and gold medallist
Dolphin’s only other medal was won by James Watson in the 100m backstroke, achieving personal bests in both the heat and the final. The 14 year old last qualified for the national championships in 2011 and more recently appears to have a new-found enthusiasm for training which is clearly showing in the results achieved in the competition pool. Watson consistently applies himself equally in training and racing which will no doubt eventually reap rewards.
Dolphin Chief Coach Louise Clayton was delighted with the weekend’s achievements. “To have gained a new national qualifier plus a further two new qualifying events across two meets on the same weekend underlines the depth in quality we have across age groups within the club. As well as developing our swimmers, our coaching team is evolving well alongside this success and something I am very proud of.” Clayton, who recently broke the news that she is expecting her first child in November was as excited as ever for the future. “Although I will be taking a few months off at the end of this year, I have absolute confidence in my team that they will be able to maintain the momentum of success we have enjoyed so far this season.”