For the Falcon Sprint at Hucknall Leisure Centre, swimmers would be based in the sports hall for the day, only proceeding to the pool just before each race. So, upon arrival, action was taken to mark territory – mats were moved, encircled by chairs and the shiny new Club banner affixed to the wall – this was the Portland Patch!
We were a bit concerned that, whilst setting up camp in the hall, all of the spectator seating may have been filled. There was no problem as it turned out, since everyone else had avoided the front row for fear of officials blocking their view or being sprayed by Lane 1 swimmers. We had no such worries. We were ready.
Today’s events were to consist of a 100m Individual Medley (IM) and 50m sprints in all 4 strokes. For each age group, the top 6 boys and 6 girls in the IM would receive a trophy; whereas the six fastest boys and girls from the heats of each 50m stroke would have to compete in finals to determine which trophy would be theirs.
We had 9 girls entering the 100m IM. First up was 9 year old Isabelle Day, getting us off to a fabulous start, knocking almost 9 seconds off her PB, earning herself a trophy by finishing 5th overall in her age group. Onto Lucy Toplass, who achieved a 7 second PB, and Ellen, slicing over 9 seconds off her PB. Holly McGarva, Alice Mulligan, Rebecca Horne, Emma Horne and Dahlia Brinklow also set new best times. Three more trophy winners in the team: Holly, Dahlia and Lizzie Mulligan, 3rd, 1st and 5th in their respective age groups.
Next up, Andrew Tsolakis and Stan Toplass in the 50m backstroke. Stan got a 3 second PB, entitling him to compete in the 2013 County Championships! Both he and Andrew qualified for their age group finals.
In the Girls 50m butterfly, Lucy, Rebecca Horne and Dahlia beat previous bests and Holly, Dahlia, Lizzie and Rebecca Phillips would have another chance at times in the finals later on!
Boys 50m breaststroke – Stan took a hefty 12 seconds off his PB! Andrew and Edward Roberts (another PB-er) got through to the finals.
Girls 50m freestyle – Erin Birney joined us for her first Open Meet and, along with Isabelle, set great new times. Emma PB-ed; so too Holly, Dahlia (also a County time!) and Lizzie, the three of whom reached the finals, along with Rebecca Phillips. They didn’t have much chance for a rest ….
The finals were announced, the swimmers’ names read out. Due to pronunciation difficulties, it took an age, unlike our finalists – almost all swam even faster times than in their heats. The results of the morning’s finals were as follows:
- Boys 50M BACK – Andrew 5th (PB), Stan 3rd (PB)
- Girls 50M FLY – Holly 4th, Dahlia 1st (PB), Rebecca Phillips 3rd
- Boys 50M BREAST – Andrew 5th, Edward 2nd (PB)
- Girls 50M FREE – Rebecca Phillips 3rd, Holly 3rd (PB), Dahlia 2nd (PB) and Lizzie 3rd (PB and County time!)
What a way to finish the morning session. Brilliant! Back to the hall for lunch and, though a few chairs had migrated, we were happy. We said goodbye to Team Captain, Rebecca, whose shift, checking swimmers’ race-readiness regarding goggles, hats, towels, etc., was over; and welcomed the arrival of Connor Cruickshank and Charlotte Taylor.
Could the boys match the quality produced in the Individual Medley by the girls earlier? Oh yes. Not only did all three swim PBs, Stan and Connor 5 seconds and 4 seconds respectively, with Andrew securing a County Time(!), but they all received trophies for their efforts, Andrew finishing 5th in his age group, Stan 4th and Connor 5th.
Highlights from the rest of the afternoon’s heats included Charlotte obtaining a 3 second PB and Holly and Lizzie reaching the finals in the 50m backstroke; Stan, Andrew and Connor (with a PB) qualified for the 50m fly finals; Lucy, Isabelle, Alice and Ellen set PBs in 50m breaststroke with Holly, Alice, Ellen, Emma and Dahlia all getting to the finals; finally, all 4 of our boys made the grade for 50m freestyle finals, Edward and Connor swimming best times ever to get there!
Afternoon Age Group Finals Results:
- Girls 50M BACK – Holly 4th, Lizzie 1st
- Boys 50M FLY – Andrew 6th, Stan 4th, Connor 5th
- Girls 50M BREAST – Holly 1st (PB), Alice 6th, Dahlia 1st, Ellen 5th, Emma 4th
- Boys 50M FREE – Andrew 6th, Stan 5th, Edward 2nd (PB), Connor 5th (PB)
Scrutinizing the statistics of the whole day, more PBs were achieved in the morning (in over half the races), but Portland swimmers remained strong, as the figures show that they actually reached a higher proportion of finals in the afternoon, from over half the heats, as against just over one third of the heats in the morning. They may have tired as the day wore on, but not as much as the opposition. The training sessions are obviously having an impact!
All in all, it was another very successful event for Nottingham Portland SC. Excellent performances by all the swimmers and great support and encouragement from Jo McGarva as poolside coach. Thank you!