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The 2015 Nottinghamshire County Championships were held at Beechdale Swimming Centre over 3 weekends, mid-February to mid-March; comprising individual and team events - heats, finals and presentations during 14 sessions. Well done to all Portland swimmers who qualified for Counties this year and who took part in the team relays. Here are some highlights ....

Opening weekend - 14th & 15th February

Day 1 – Saturday
There was no time for cards and flowers on this Valentine’s Day – Dahlia, Rebecca and Emma had some swimming to do! In the course of the morning session, the three showed their skill in all four strokes of the 100m IM; Rebecca attained a new Personal Best time, Dahlia was only half a second off. They both took on tough 200m freestyle heats in the afternoon.

Day 2 – Sunday
Representing Portland girls in breaststroke, Emma swam 50m and Dahlia 200m. Portland boys, Connor and Andrew, made their entrance at the Championships in the 100m IM: Connor got a PB then repeated the success, PB’ing in the 50m butterfly. Michael T joined the boys for a forceful and energetic 50m fly; Andrew flew to within 3 tenths of a second of his best time in the same event.

Second weekend - 28th February & 1st March

Day 3 - Saturday
Esther, Dahlia and Emma swam hard in 50m butterfly and Rebecca in 100m backstroke. Standout performance was by Gaby, who went under 35 seconds in the 50m fly to place her 4th in the County’s 11/12 years age group rankings. Congratulations Gaby!

Day 4 - Sunday
Another early morning start and fine 100m freestyle from Dahlia and Rebecca. Andrew swam an impressive 50m breaststroke to notch up a PB. He then went on to complete 100m freestyle only 2 tenths outside his best time. Fantastic.

In 50m backstroke, Chloe and Rebecca made determined efforts and Gaby, still buzzing from the previous day’s success, recorded her second PB of the Championships.

Last weekend – 14th & 15th March

The final weekend of Counties proved to be an adrenaline-pumping couple of days with the last of the Championship’s individual events on Saturday and all the relays on Sunday.

Day 5 - Saturday

Portland families were treated to impressive power-racing by Alice, Esther, Dahlia, Emma, Gaby, Rebecca, Hannah, Madeleine, Samuel, Connor and Andrew, who all competed in 50m freestyle.

Alice and Sam set new Personal Bests with thrilling swims.

Gaby also swam 50m free faster than ever before, making a hat-trick of PBs in all her County events!

Other Portland swimmers were within a fraction of beating best times: Esther (0.05 seconds!), Hannah, Dahlia, Maddie and Andrew who, having arrived in the nick of time for his race following an unexpectedly scenic bus journey to the pool, was only a whisker off his PB!

Two-event swimmers on this Day 5 of Counties were Dahlia, Esther and Emma, who swam 100m breaststroke and Rebecca, in the 200m IM.

Day 6 – Sunday

NCC2015 progThe final day of Counties felt like a celebration of competition. Portland parents and swimmers, new to County relays, were struck by the almost carnival atmosphere – the hats, the flags, the face-paint and tattoos and, oh, the noise – drums, cheering, screaming. Not for the faint-hearted.

What better way to spend Mother’s Day?!

Portland entered relays in age groups from 12/u through to Open, all 4 x 50m except for the Open category at 4 x 100m. Team members experienced the whole gamut of emotions from nerves and frustration to excitement and exhilaration.

Seizing the chance to give their teams the best possible start, as first leg of the freestyle relays, Isabel (12/u) and Stan (swimming as a 12 year old for the 14/u team) achieved 50m freestyle PBs in the process, knocking 1s and 2s off previous records respectively. Tilly only just missed out on setting a new PB with a great backstroke leg in the 12/u medley.

Gaby produced a truly inspiring butterfly leg in 12/u medley, swam-up for the fly leg of the 14/u medley, then took part in her 3rd relay of the day – 12/u freestyle.

Rebecca also swam 3 relays, the first leg in each: backstroke in 16/u and Open medleys, then 16/u freestyle.

Esther competed in the same 3 events, swimming breaststroke in 16/u medley and (100m!!) butterfly in the Open medley. Amazing!

Chloe demonstrated her powerful pull on the backstroke leg of the 14/u medley to turn in synch with the rest of the field and had a good swim in the freestyle relay.

Bethan swam a storming 50m breaststroke leg of 14/u medley relay and equally vigorous freestyle.

Fabulous freestylers - Mia gave a passionate performance in her leg of the 14/u freestyle relay.

Angelina (14/u), Hannah (16/u) and Connor (Open) were our front crawl specialists for the day, participating in both the freestyle relays and as anchor in the medleys; Fran too - she managed to swim on admirably with dislodged goggles causing drag the whole way in the 12/u freestyle!

Andrew and Dahlia, as usual a credit to their teams, had convincing swims in freestyle relays and medleys; Andrew - Open breaststroke and Dahlia - 16/u butterfly.

Edward was Superman for the day, racing in 4 relays – 2 in 14/u, then up 2 age groups(!) at double the distance (to 100m) for another 2 races as part of the Open relay team. He competed alongside some Mark Foster-esque men! Incredible!

The 16/u girls (Hannah, Dahlia, Esther and Rebecca) were the closest to reaching finals, finishing 8th in medley & 9th in the freestyle relays. However, everyone was a joy to watch – they all swam brilliantly for their team-mates.

Swimmers – you made your Mums AND Dads proud on this special day!

A big thank-you to Dan for looking after everyone over the 2 days and for taking part in the boys’ Open relays, particularly with regard to the 100m butterfly leg of the medley(!!).

Log in and go to Swimmers’ Corner Gala News to view photos from the last day.

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