Year of the Dolphin
Event: Wiltshire County Youth Championships Venue: Link Centre, Swindon Date:1st, 2nd & 8th March 2014
Swindon Dolphin maintained their overall stronghold on the Wiltshire County Youth Championships winning an impressive 20 championship titles, 60 age group golds and 5 relay golds over the three days of competition at the Link Centre. The 50 strong Dolphin contingent demonstrated why they were recently crowned Swindon Advertiser Team of the Year with an outstanding level of support from coaches, parents and fellow swimmers which clearly contributes towards their continuing success.
Swindon Dolphin ~ Team of the Year
As with last year, Dolphin’s boys came close to clean sweep of championship titles, with Salisbury’s talented young breaststroker Luke Demitri denying them a full house. Dolphin team captain Mathew Sambrook was on form, winning five championship titles and two championship bronze. James Clark was unbeatable as he comfortably won all his heats and finals to also take five championship titles. Jon Audis won four championships including the 100m backstroke for the 10th successive year. Dominating the girl’s championships was Trowbridge’s Daniella Whiting with six championships although breaking her monopoly was Dolphin’s Lauren Matthews and Charlotte Pitts who each won two titles and Charlotte Gardo who took one title.
Dolphin’s only junior championship win was by Victoria Tainty in the 200m butterfly with almost half of the junior titles won courtesy of some impressive performances by Tigershark’s Sean Purvis and Bradford on Avon’s Jessie Foster.
Dolphin’s depth in ability and success was underlined not only by the six championship title winners but also by a further 14 swimmers awarded senior or junior championship silver or bronze. Barely a medal presentation went by without a yellow Dolphin shirt on show including a gold, silver, bronze full house in the mens’ 100m butterfly and an incredible top four in the mens’ 200m backstroke.
In the relay events, the girls’ junior and mens’ senior teams were unbeatable in both medley and freestyle events with the girls open freestyle team picking Dolphin’s fifth relay title. Dolphin were never out of the relay medal positions picking up bronze in the other three events.
Unbeatable girls junior relay team ~ Rebecca Flack, Olivia Flack, Sophie Bartlett and Annie Ward
Depth across age groups was also evident for Dolphin as they dominated the age group medal positions winning 60 gold, 54 silver and 42 bronze, including the 14 years BACGAT category. James Watson was by far Dolphin’s most decorated age group medallist with seven gold and three silver, with a further 31 Dolphin competitors also collecting age group awards.
James Watson ~ three new regional qualifying times
David Ward became Dolphin’s 39th regional qualifier of the season courtesy of an excellent 50m backstroke swim. Although the majority of regional standard swimmers are at youth level there were eight new regional BAGCAT qualifying times; three for James Watson, two for William Davies and one each for Rebecca Matthews, Joshua Fox and Ella Wardale. At youth level there were a further 14 new qualifying times including three for Fraser Durston who now boasts nine regional qualifying events.
The championships incorporate the 14 years age group of the BAGCAT competition and in the final standings, James Watson finished in a well deserved first place with Jake Lewis in third. Top placed Dolphin girl was Rebecca Matthews who finished in third. James Clark picked up the boys’ award for overall best swim of the championships based on FINA points for his 100m freestyle swim.