Well what a weekend! This report covers our journey to an awesome, well deserved promotion back into Division one!
24 of our best young swimmers aged 12-17 years took on the ambition with a vengeance.
Saturday saw us meeting for the sixth year running meeting at Wycombe Sports Centre at 11:00 on the Saturday before the event and heading for the Intensive Training Centre at Loughborough University to train. This year we were privileged to be taking Eileen Adams our Swim England South East Region President, along with Terry Norris, our County President and Peter Roycroft, one of our two travelling officials. After training in the pool adorned with the names of Loughborough's Olympians and world record holders we went to the Student Union building to stock up on water and snacks for tomorrow. Once at the hotel and having had dinner the team retired to Suite 5 to take on various team challenges before lights out at 21:30 to get ready for the next day's racing.
After an 08:00 rise, breakfast, team talk, face paints, fancy dress, photos by John Rowley and good luck chat by Eileen Adams, our South East Region President and our own President Terry Norris, the team walked to Ponds Forge accompanied by one of our travelling Officials - Peter Roycroft; Nigel Willis and Josh Atkins, our County Coach and Assistant County Coach respectively. Following the warm up, the Captains of Berkshire and South Bucks - Tom Dean and Sophie Lawrence, wearing full fancy dress with a stag's head, led the opening ceremony, cheered in by the rest of our team and then it was down to some serious swimming for every point. And swim for every point they did!
For these championships the goal was clear and simple. A swift return to Division One which required us to finish in the top four. That wasn't going to be good enough for this team. Winning was the bonus, and the bonus was what they wanted.
With 20 points on offer for each race, 55% of all our swims delivered 17 and above points, and our strength and depth was particularly evident in the performance of our medley relay teams and squadron relay. Our 12/13 years girls (Sadie Lucas, Rebecca McMemeny, Olivia Lee and Isobel Benster) and 16/17 years girls (Millie Sansome, Daria Poma Kostik, Sophie Lawrence and Beth Hunt) and our squadron (Jan Poulton, Isobel Benster, Charlotte Stevenson, James McClenn, Millie Sansome and Sam Phippen) all came home with a full 20 points for first place with stunning performances. 18 points for thirds places came from our 16/17year old boys (Sam Phippen, Timur Gulyiyen, George Mann and Tom Dean) and our 14/15 years girls Mirabelle Waters, Megan Daley, Ellie Cowan and Charlie Stevenson) who excelled. Our 14/15 years boys (James McClenn, Jamie Owen, Tom Sansome and Silas Mendez) came in with a very welcome 17 points which pushed us into the lead for the first time pulling us one point ahead of Cambridgeshire. After playing tag with first Cambridgeshire and then Northants, it was the 14 points gained by the 12/13 years boys (Kaleb Fox-Jones, Luca Staines, Sammy Tucker and Jan Poulton) that consolidated our lead and as we went into the final two events, assuming all went well, we knew we had won.
All swimmers were on their PB times for their individual swims with seven swimmers making new PBs including:
It is impossible to highlight any one swimmer above another. There was no doubt that Millie Sansome winning the first race of the day in the 16/17 years girls 100m freestyle set the tone with the full 20 points. The final squadron win sealed the day brilliantly and just in the way this young team deserved. They were professional, focussed and it was a privilege to support them over the weekend.
Thank you to Peter Roycroft and Charles Bagot for officiating - we couldn't have done what we did without you; Nigel Willis supported by Josh Atkins for creating the environment over the last two days that allowed all that happened to happen; and last but not least our County President, Terry Norris who courageously wore the jesters hat along with his presidential chain during the whole event. A final mention goes to Eileen and Ken Adams - we think you might just have been our lucky mascots!
Top four points
I wish you all the best for this coming year!
County Team Manager.
|George Mann||Wycombe||Bethany Hunt||Wycombe|
|Timur Gulyiyen||Wycombe||Charlotte Stevenson||Bracknell|
|James McClenn||Wycombe||Daria Poma Kostik||Maidenhead|
|Jamie Owen||Amersham||Eleanor Cowen||Wycombe|
|Jan Poulton||Wycombe||Emilia Sansome||Wycombe|
|Kaleb Fox Jones||Newbury||Isobel Benster||Maidenhead|
|Luca Staines||Wycombe||Megan Daley||Wycombe|
|Sam Phippen||Wycombe||Mirabelle Waters||Chesham|
|Sammy Tucker||Wycombe||Olivia Lee||Chalfont|
|Silas Mendez||Reading||Rebecca McMenemy||Reading|
|Thomas Dean||Maidenhead||Sadie Lucas||Chalfont|
|Thomas Sansome||Wycombe||Sophie Lawrence||Amersham|
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