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Travelling to the far north of the county for the Worksop Dolphins Open Meet, aware that all six lanes of the pool could be seen from the front row seats only, we rushed to get the swimmers to the warm-up and parents to the spectator gallery. Early bird parents saved the day and reserved seats, giving a prime view of the swimming to come.

Rebecca Horne, Alice Mulligan and Emma Horne kicked things off for Portland with strong 200m Individual Medley swims. Rebecca and Emma, having forced down porridge at an unspeakable hour for a Sunday morning, proved that breakfast is indeed the most important meal of the day, beating previous times by over 18 and 7 seconds respectively.

As is often the case at open meets, loud vocal support was contrasted by moments of mime: parents’ silent visual prompts for `fast arms’, `quick kick’ and `go and line up!’. Swimmers endured. Races continued.

In the 100m breaststroke Charlotte Taylor gave a solid performance setting a good new time, Kyra MacDonald and Ellen Roberts also had fine swims resulting in Personal Bests, Edward Roberts and Jade Kennerell powered through their heats just narrowly missing PBs.

In the 200m freestyle Rebecca knocked 2 seconds and Emma 10 seconds off their PBs. Lizzie Mulligan swam a compelling race competing with some of the fastest frontcrawlers at the Meet.

As the morning drew to a close, the over-gesticulated messages of mime changed – from advice on how to swim to physical aids for performance: `don’t forget your goggles’, `eat’, `have a drink!’.

The 100m backstroke provided more opportunities for records – Charlotte with another new time, Rebecca with a PB; Edward and Kyra swimming 4 seconds faster than ever before.

Following lunchtime rest and refreshments Edward, Alice and Rebecca achieved PBs in the 100m freestyle and Kyra recorded a great new time.

Other afternoon highlights were:

In the 200m breaststroke Edward and Emma both set their 3rd PB of the day, Edward by almost 5 seconds.

In the 100m butterfly Kyra spectacularly shaved 8 seconds off her time and Emma over 4 seconds.

Rebecca reduced her 200m backstroke PB by over 6 seconds.

We had reached the end of the Meet; communication between parent and swimmer by hand and arm signalling was long gone, replaced as the day wore on by the strange phenomenon of voiceless speaking: mouths making the exaggerated shape of words, but no sound. Tiredness had taken its toll, on the parents anyway.

It was a successful Meet. Lizzie and Jade swam well against tough competition in some of the quickest heats. Charlotte obtained 100m distance times, good ones to boot, Alice and Ellen achieved a Personal Best and Kyra did some excellent swims in Portland purple for the first time, PB-ing in three of her four races, an accomplishment matched by Edward. Emma attained four best times out of five events, but special congratulations go to Rebecca who PB’d in all five of her races! Way to go, Rebecca!

The absence of 50m sprints and scheduling in the middle of the Easter holidays made this open meet quieter and shorter than many, but no less memorable. A big `thank you’ to Grant for pre-race tips, post-race appraisals and ever-encouraging support for the swimmers. Well done to all the swimmers for a great day of swimming.

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