Head Coach Report
Well what a weekend to round off this years Hampshire County Championships with our youth and open swimmers showing they are in absolutely fine form!
This year saw an increase in the number of swimmers competing at the championships with 19 swimmers taking to the pool in a total of 104 events. This included 3 swimmers making their county debuts (Adam Green, Georgia Parry and Rory Taylor). The level of success over the weekend was phenomenal with 73 top 8 place finishes (48 in 2017), as well as 10 medalists (5 medalists in 2017) who picked up a total of 29 medals (31 in 2017 of which 10 were in Junior and Open categories which were not awarded this year).
Chris Finch was the stand out swimmer of the weekend, picking up his first county honours in both the 50 Fly and 200 Freestyle, both in dominant fashion. Showing his versatility even further Chris also picked up a silver in the 200 Individual Medley as well as bronze in both the 100 and 200 Backstroke.
Joe Davies continued to build on last season’s performances where he picked up 3 bronzes in 2017. This year saw him pick up his first county title in the 200 Individual Medley in 2:27.19, winning by a clear margin from the rest of his competitors as well as talking 2 seconds of his previous best time. Joe also added 100 and 200 Backstroke bronze’s to his haul in what is a highly competitive age group in this county.
Ethan Childs also didn’t want to miss out on the gold rush, despite recently spending 5 weeks in a full arm cast following a double break to his arm. Having only been back in the pool for a matter on 2-3 weeks Ethan pulled off a stunning swim in the 100 Fly in a time off 1:02.74, taking 2.5 seconds of his previous best (also faster than his short course best time) to add gold to his silver in the shorter 50 Fly from the previous day.
Jamie O’Donnell was our final gold medal winner pulling off a stunning swim in the 100 Breastroke final to hold on for the gold in a time of 1:06.66 taking the win by 0.11 of a second.
Oliver Bulpett picked up a hat-trick of medals in the breastroke events with silver in the 50 and 200 distances, with the latter being just 0.05 of a second off the gold, as well as bronze in the 100. Cillian Ross medalled for this first time, no mean feat in the 400 Individual Medley showing the great progress he has made this season. Matthew Sullivan added to his 1500 Freestyle gold from 2 weeks previously with silver in both the 400 Freestyle and 400 Individual Medley. Martin Bennell and Jo Corben showed that age is very much a number, with Martin picking up silver in the 50 Breaststroke and Jo picking up double bronze in the 100 and 200 Backstroke. Hannah Copper also showed great improvement as she continues to make year on year, not only picking up bronze in all 3 of her favoured breastroke events but also picking up a super bronze in the 400 Individual Medley.
The stand out swims of the weekend has to go to the junior boys who dominated both the 4×50 Medley and 4×50 Freestyle relays. Saturday saw the team of Joe Davies, Oliver Bulpett, Ethan Childs and Adam Green hang on to a tightly contested race, impressively smashing the 2 minute barrier in a time of 1:58.88. Sunday saw them go in the 4×50 Freestyle relay, the final event of the Championships and on paper a tougher race. But on a high by the previous days result they went on to dominate in an even greater style, taking the gold by over a second from their nearest rivals.
That wasn’t it for relays, the men’s open team of Mike Andrews, Jamie O’Donnell, Martin Bennell and Chris Finch also picked up double silvers in the 4×100 Freestyle and 4×100 Medley relays. What has been very impressive is the strength in depth the club now has, it is competitive to make the relay teams and also means our B teams are placing higher and higher each year. This is a far cry from a few years ago when we struggled to field A teams in some events let alone B teams.
Added to the results of the previous two weeks I am truly lost for words on what an amazing job you have all done and am incredibly proud of you all! Next stop Regionals and then on to Nationals in the summer!
Georgia Parry (first championships)
Rory Taylor (first championships)