First Open Meet of the year, last chance to record a County qualifying time before the entry deadline. If that wasn’t nerve-wracking enough, now we had the weather to worry about. Would it be cancelled? Friday evening website notice: warm-up at 8.45am instead of 8am (hooray!) – check again from 6am.
The venue was the Arc Leisure Centre, Matlock in the Derbyshire Dales. There are a few hills over that way. More snow was forecast. No-one relished the thought of the drive.
6am, Saturday, computer booted …. IT’S ON! Swim bag, check, food, check, drinks, check, shovel, check. Let’s go.
Healthy trepidation and a few minor skids apart, all arrived safely. Veteran gala-goer, Jude, had managed to spread herself across a whole row of seats to save them for Portland parents, so everything was dandy.
Marble plaques and medals would be awarded to the top six in each age category of every event.
During the morning Portland swimmers won quite a haul, set new fastest times and qualified for the County Championships:
Alice Mulligan – 3rd 200m fly.
Andrew Tsolakis – 3rd 200m IM (12 second PB!).
Anthony Tsolakis – 1st 50m back; 2nd 100m back; 4th 50m breast; 5th 200m free.
Connor Cruickshank – 2nd 50m back; 3rd 200m free.
Edward Roberts – 1st 50m breast.
Emma Horne – 1st 100m breast; 4th 50m fly.
Guy Farnsworth – 1st 200m breast.
Jack Harmer – 1st 50m breast (PB) & 100m fly (PB); 2nd 200m breast (4 second PB) – all 3 County Times (CT)!
Jade Kennerell – 1st 100m breast; 2nd 50m breast (PB); 3rd 200m back (5 second PB & CT).
Lizzie Mulligan – 5th 200m back.
Olivia Wright – 6th 50m fly.
Rebecca Horne – 5th 50m breast.
Other morning PBs were swum by Andrew Tsolakis in 50m back, Olivia Misiuda in 50m breast, Rebecca Horne in 100m free and Olivia Wright in 100m free (also a County time). Ellen Roberts set a great new time for 100m breast.
Due to the delayed start there was no lunch break to speak of, not for Portland dads anyway: calls had to be made to let Club swimmers know that the evening Sports Centre League gala was off, Angry Birds had to be defeated and, at the sound of music, one dad felt compelled to practise dance moves he’d learnt on holiday for a production of Grease. Mums looked on, pondered over Jack’s eerily accurate race times predictions and concluded … it’s a boy thing.
Go, greased lightnin’! Back to business. The trophy hoard for the afternoon session amounted to –
Andrew Tsolakis – 2nd 50m fly (3 second PB & County Time).
Anthony Tsolakis – 4th 50m free.
Connor Cruickshank – 3rd 200m back (PB); 4th 50m free.
Edward Roberts – 4th 100m breast & 50m free (PB).
Ellen Roberts – 6th 200m breast.
Emma Horne – 2nd 200m breast; 6th 50m free.
Guy Farnsworth – 1st 200m back (10 second PB!) & 50m free (PB).
Holly McGarva – 6th 200m IM.
Jack Harmer – 1st 50m fly (PB) & 200m fly (14 second PB!); 2nd 100m breast.
Jade Kennerell – 1st 50m free; 3rd 50m back; 4th 100m back (PB).
Jaime Misiuda – 5th 100m back; 6th 50m back (PB).
Lizzie Mulligan – 3rd 50m free; 4th 200m free.
Luke Farnsworth – 4th 100m free (PB) & 50m free.
Olivia Misiuda – 6th 200m free (PB).
Olivia Wright – 4th 50m free (PB & County Time).
Rebecca Horne – 3rd 200m free (4 second PB); 6th 50m free.
Stan Toplass – 2nd 50m free (PB).
More fastest times were achieved by Olivia Misiuda in 50m free, Holly in 50m free (also a County Time) and Edward by 4 seconds in 100m free.
‘Thank you’ to Grant and Dom for the fantastic support and feedback you give to the swimmers, thanks to Portland swimmers for always making us proud and to the parents for making it an enjoyable day. Scott – you really were born to hand-jive. (Doesn’t everyone know the Grease soundtrack?!) Christmas party entertainment, check.
Nottingham Portland Swimming Club – we are hopelessly devoted to you.