December Competition Report

 

Please read on for details of HDSC swimmers performances at competitions during December, we competed at Middlesbrough, ASA National Winter Meet and the DSE Para-swimming Nationals. Richard’s report contains photos; hopefully we will be able to get some more of our swimmers in future.

 

Middlesbrough Xmas Meet

 

This was the first target meet of the 2016/2017 season for swimmers in both the Performance and Talent pathways.  52 swimmers competed over the weekend from Intermediate, Youth, Foundation, PDS and Performance Squads making HDSC the third largest team at the meet. I think that our swimmers supported each other fantastically well and maintained their performance levels throughout what was a particularly long meet.

The competition was a good opportunity to measure our improvement since September against quality opposition in Middlesbrough, Newcastle and Ellesmere College. Ellesmere College recruit swimmers nationally, offering residential scholarships which allow their swimmers to devote more time to training. I was especially interested in how the race skills of HDSC swimmers would measure up against those of the Ellesmere swimmers.

Underwater work is extremely important in short course swimming where potentially it can account for 60% of the overall race distance. A lot of work in training since September has been focused on consistently achieving a minimum of 7.5m or 10m (Performance) underwater at the start of each length. Starts have also been practiced extensively in training with specific focus on getting into the correct position on the blocks or backstroke start. I thought that our swimmers performed as well as any other team in these areas, although we still have to work to maintain the distances off the wall at the end of 100 and 200 metre events. I did notice that our swimmers lost ground during breakouts and at the last 5 metres of each length; these are areas that will need to be improved during the next phase of training if we are to be competitive at County and Regional level.

At the end of the Saturday morning session our swimmers had achieved 28 medals and I set the team a target of 100 for the weekend, a further 23 medals were gained in the Saturday afternoon session bringing the total to 51 at the halfway stage. Sunday morning saw our swimmers add 26 medals to the total, leaving a target of 23 for the final session. I was really impressed by the support at the end of lanes during the final session and believe that this helped to spur on our swimmers to 28 medals in the final session and a total of 105.

Breakdown of Medals:

Gold:  42

Silver:  36

Bronze: 27

Especially pleasing was the number of individual medallists:

Jacob Brown, Ben Douglas, Thomas Myles, Lucas Waligora, Jallan Barker, Nathan Bunkle, Finlay Waligora, William Wilson, Edward Wilson, Joseph Moore, Max Walker, Kieran Zenner and Oliver Wilson all achieved top 3 finishes for the boys.

Carys Waligora, Anna Smith, Louisa Ibberson, Jennifer Law, Ewa Hardaker, Sassy Palfreman, Holly Pickering, Ava Garcia, Nancie Mitton, Emma Moore, Jessica Head, Emma Moore and Lily Walker all achieved top 3 finishes for the girls.

 

ASA National Winter Meet

 

The winter nationals were re-introduced in 2015, unfortunately we did not have any qualifiers then. This year Anna Marley became our first ever qualifier at the new meet, achieving three qualifying times in the 200m Backstroke, 200m and 400m Individual Medley.

Anna has made great strides this season with her short course swimming and has started to match her long course performances at the end of last season. The 200 Individual Medley was first up on the Thursday morning, competing in the first heat Anna battled hard, keeping close to the girls either side of her down the final freestyle leg. The time of 2:23:54, taking 0.4 seconds off her previous best set at the NER’s in November and lowering her existing 15 years club record.

In the 400 Individual Medley on the Sunday morning, Anna recovered from a slightly slower than usual first half of the race with a brilliant breaststroke leg. The breaststroke leg was two seconds faster than her swim at the NER’s and backed up with a determined freestyle saw Anna record a new PB of 5:03:48. The time was 1.3 seconds under Anna’s previous best and again lowered her existing 15 years club record.

The 200 Backstroke was also swum on the Sunday morning and hopes were high of another strong performance. A positive first 100 saw Anna turn ahead of PB pace, unfortunately this time Anna was unable to step up the kick on the third 50 and despite a gutsy swim finished just outside her previous best in a time of 2:18:61.

Overall they were three great swims and an excellent finish to the first phase of the season.

 

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