Berks & South Bucks Inter-County Team
Ponds Forge, Sheffield
Sunday 23rd October 2016
A year ago the ASA chose to change the weekend of the National County Team Championship to the first weekend of the October half-term school holiday. In our area with 5 of our 11 Clubs already signed up for warm weather camps (Amersham, Bracknell, Chalfont, Chesham and Wycombe) and one signed up for an international meet (Tilehurst) in Jersey, we knew that we would be challenged.
So 24 of our best available young County swimmers aged 12-17 years participated in the British Gas National Team County Championship at Ponds Forge, Sheffield. With Ponds Forge split to create two 25 metre pools allowing two competitions to run in parallel (Division One and Division Two) just over 1000 swimmers in fancy dress with Coaches, Team Managers, Presidents and Officials from 37 counties including Scottish and Welsh Regions assembled ready to compete in 24 individual 100m sprint and 7 relay events.
This is the fifth year running that we've chosen to meet at Wycombe Sports Centre at 11:00 on the Saturday before the event and head for the Intensive Training Centre at Loughborough University to train. The Berkshire and South Buckinghamshire team hats were given to the swimmers by County Coach Paul Hurley as they got off to train in the pool adorned with the names of Loughborough's Olympians. We then walked to the Student Union to stock up on water and snacks for the next days racing.
Once at the hotel and having had dinner the team retired to Suite 7 to take on the "name game" challenge with the end objective of each person being able to remember the name of each of the 29 people in the circle. At the end of the game three swimmers, Margot Hoogers, Max Hoogers and Luke Hollingsworth successfully took on the challenge to name each of the team before then reconstructing the squad in the same order as previously in the day for a team photo. We then went onto play two more games before the team captains (Luke Hollingsworth and Bethany Hunt) gave out the team polo shirts. The final event was a team quiz before the swimmers had free time. 30 minutes later it was time to go to their own rooms to get ready for bed and the next day's racing.
After an 08:00 rise, breakfast, team talk, face paints, fancy dress and photos by John Rowley, our ex President and number 2 Team Manager, the team walked to Ponds Forge accompanied by Sarah Endersby, our travelling Official; Paul Hurley our County Coach and John Rowley himself. Following warm up, the Captains of Berkshire and South Bucks wearing full fancy dress with a stag's head, led the opening ceremony, cheered in by the rest of our team. The team spirit was high and it was down to some serious swimming for every point.
Division One has 20 teams and points are allocated with 20 points for a first and descending to 1 point for 20th. There are two seeded heats for each event with the faster swimmers racing in the second heat.
75% of the swimmers were new to Ponds Forge for the Inter counties Championships and so this was their first experience of an event like this. There were some excellent swims from Emily Miller, William Ellington, Daria Poma Kostik, Amy Hortop, Jack Endersby, Eliot Desforges, Bethany Hunt, Charlie Hazell, Shay Race, Georgina Bradley, Max Hoogers, Molly Dummett and Moritz Hoogers resulting in 50% of all individual swims being PBs - some small and some by nearly 4 seconds. Of the 50% who didn't PB most were very close to their PB. 11 of our total individual swims (46% ) were placed 10th and above. 2 of the swimmers who placed 20th, PB'd. What more can we ask?
Of the 7 relays, where we were seeded based on last year's times, the Boys 12/13 years medley and the Girls 14/15 years medley both PB'd finishing 16th and 5th overall respectively.
The team spirit was vibrant with many mentions by the commentators at our fancy dress and energy and the team bobbed between 11th and 18th place during most of the competition. We ended up 18th in Division one with a reputable 239 points. A disappointing end result, and we're already looking forward to being top of Division 2 next year.
Berkshire & South Bucks were promoted to Division One from Division Two in 2004 where we've bobbed between 9th and 16th place except for three outstanding years in 2009, 2010, and 2014 when we came 5th, 6th and 7th respectively.
Lancashire's hold of 14 years was finally broken by Yorkshire this year who won Division One for the first time.
PB or no PB, each member of the team were a credit to the County.
Thank you to Sarah Endersby for officiating - we couldn't have done what we did without her; Paul Hurley for creating the environment over the last two days that allowed all that happened to happen; and last but not least our ex County President, and Team Manager 2, John Rowley
So, after a 12 year stay in the top flight, B&SB will compete in Division 2 next year. The ASA, recognizing the issues with the timing this year have changed the date and announced that the event in 2017 will be run on October 8th to avoid any possible clashes with school holidays and club camps. We look forward to being back in the top flight again in 2018.
I wish you all the best for this coming year.
County Team Manager.
12/13 Year Boys
12/13 year Girls
14/15 Year Boys
14/15 Year Girls
Daria Poma Kostik
16/17 Year Boys
16/17 Year Girls
© Berks & South Bucks ASA 2008-2016