Remembering the previous year’s out-the-door queue, the red-topped officials collecting entry money just ahead convinced us that we were near the front. Realising they were just working their way down a very long line of spectators, the envisaged stampede once they opened the doors to the pool dashed our hopes of getting good seats.
However, the beautiful weather had given parents, as well as the day, a sunny outlook. Everyone proceeded calmly to the seating under the barrel-vaulted ceiling of the amazing Art Deco room that is the Queen’s Leisure Centre pool. All was good.
The top 3 girls and boys of each event would win marble trophies, with 2 morning events and 2 afternoon events to be determined by Finals.
Our youngest swimmer to take part this weekend, Isabelle Day, was charged with kicking off proceedings in the first heat of the very first race of the Meet: 100m Individual Medley. Despite being her least favourite stroke, Isabelle stayed with the front runners on the first length of butterfly, advanced from 4th to 1st on the backstroke leg, created a huge gap with her breaststroke and maintained it with the freestyle to win the heat, chopping almost 13 seconds off her previous IM time. Fantastic start!
Alice Mulligan and Emma Horne also beat previous bests, Rebecca Horne knocked 5 seconds off hers and Lizzie Mulligan was only four hundredths of a second off her PB, swimming her fastest IM in over a year!
Though there were no record-breaking times in the 100m breaststroke, Jade Kennerell swam at PB pace to be awarded a silver trophy and Emma qualified for the Final, to be held at the end of the morning. Isabelle and Rebecca swam with gusto in 50m backstroke.
In the 200m freestyle Isabelle did some more PB bashing, slicing exactly 39 seconds off her former time, Rebecca took off 3 seconds, Emma 2 seconds and Lizzie proved she is back in PB-beating form, bettering a time which had stood for 14 months!
Emma rounded off the a.m. session by swimming faster in the 100m breaststroke Final than she did in her qualifying heat to take bronze.
After a one and a half hour lunch-break and the arrival of the Portland boy contingent, the lively music accompanying the Session 2 warm-up put everyone in a good mood. Swimmers danced Gangnam Style, parents sang along to One Direction’s `One Way or Another’, mumbling that the Blondie original was much better, and Isabelle was enjoying it so much she wanted to do her races all over again.
Hot on the heels of Portland girls’ morning success, it was the boys’ turn to compete in the 200IM. Guy Farnsworth, Mikey Pawluk and Ryan Pigott didn’t disappoint – three PBs on the trot!
The girls were still up to the task – in the 100m freestyle, Holly took almost 18 seconds and Emma nearly 8 seconds off their PBs. Ryan responded with a 3½ second drop in his 100m butterfly time to get through to the Final later on. And so it continued: in 200m backstroke, Isabelle knocked over 6 seconds off her PB, Alice 14 seconds – recent fast arm training most evident! Jade, with an excellent arched leap into the water, also PB’d.
Though Luke Farnsworth didn’t get a PB in his 50m freestyle (difficult to do once you’ve swum under 30 seconds!), he finished second in his age group. He’d have to take up the PB challenge again tomorrow ….
The last three individual events of the day produced a PB hat trick – Emma in her 50m butterfly, Guy and Mikey in their 200m breaststroke. Ryan celebrated with yet another PB in the 100m butterfly Final, taking silver in the process.
What a day!
Sunday 21st April
After a busy Day 1 it was back to work for Holly, Jade, Mikey, Luke, Guy, Ryan and Grant. This was another day of super swims, resulting in 7 PBs – Mikey (100m breast & 100m IM), Luke and Guy (200m free & 50m back), Ryan (100m free). However, as usual, the PBs do not tell the whole story so here are the other highlights that deserve a special mention:
Holly’s butterfly leg in the 200m IM, an amazing 2 second improvement on previous times.
Jade’s master class in the breaststroke leg of the 200m IM, as she sailed effortlessly past the rest of the field.
Guy’s huge 8 second improvement in the 200m freestyle.
Luke’s competitive spirit, especially in the first 50m of his 200m freestyle!
Mikey’s focus as he worked hard to concentrate on his personal goals.
Ryan’s example to all of how consistent hard work in training pays off every time he swims in competition.
With Jade finishing off the meet in victorious style by bringing home the silver trophy for second overall in her age group, it was a resounding job done on Day 2, with eleven top 6 places, including one 2nd (Jade) and three 3rds (Jade again, Mikey, Guy).
Well done to all the swimmers
and special thanks, as always, to Grant for his stamina over another 2 long days.