Report - Gloucester Blocks - 2nd weekend

County Championships 2014 - Weekend 2

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Older swimmers

Jessica Shaw is Gloucestershire County 200m backstroke champion.

Jess had already made several Open (all age group) finals during this meet and she finally stood atop the podium for the first time on Saturday evening. Jess’s entry time was the fastest on paper and she backed this up by qualifying quickest for the final and then winning the big one by over four seconds. Superb achievement as Jess is still only 14 years old! Her stroke is long and graceful, appearing almost effortless, yet propelling her through the water with incredible speed.

Jess also appeared in all the other finals over the course of the weekend, her next best result being third overall in the 100m breaststroke. In addition, she won a gold, two silvers and a bronze in the 15 year old age category. She lowered four of her own all-time club records in the process.

Jess was joined in the 100m Open freestyle final by Maria Jones who enjoyed great success in the 14 year age group with a silver and four bronze medals across the two days. Maria also added the 200m IM and 200m backstroke to her regional qualifying times.

The next step up from these County Championships is the South West Regional competition to be held in May and June. Several of our talented swimmers achieved times to ensure their entry into the Regionals to race against swimmers from much-vaunted clubs like Plymouth Leander and Millfield.

Two of Maria’s bronzes came in the breast stroke events where she was headed to the podium by double silver medallist Emily Locke, now the holder of a regional qualifying time in the 200m breaststroke.

Other notable achievements by our older swimmers included:

  • Matthew Harraway taking nearly two seconds of his 100m free PB to dip under a minute for the first time
  • Peter Gleed setting a new club record for 19 years and over in the 100m free
  • Ben Newman collecting a bronze for 15 year olds in the 100m breast
  • And Amy Wilkins winning three silvers and a bronze amongst the 17 year old girls

Intermediate age groups

Georgie Locke and Ben Rawlins achieved 100m breaststroke regional times, winning bronze and silver medals respectively in their 13 year old age category. Aidan Loughnane won the bronze medal just behind Ben with a new personal best. Ben went on to win silver again in the 200m breaststroke and added a regional time in the 200m IM to cap a very successful weekend and leave his grandparents beaming with pride.

Aside from Jess’s big win, the best Southwold race of the weekend was undoubtedly the 13 year old boys 200m IM with Henry Bennett, Ben and Aidan in three adjacent lanes in the same heat. All three were dead level after the breaststroke leg but Henry’s superior front crawl speed saw him edge Ben by just 0.36 seconds. What a relay team they’ll make in a couple of weeks’ time!

Henry is never far from the limelight and won a bronze medal in the 200m back as well as achieving further regional qualifying times in the 100m and 400m free plus 200IM. He also set two new club records, taking three seconds off the 200m back time and 6 seconds off Jon Lowther’s mark in the 400m free. Not to be outdone, Jon then set a new 400m free record by 5 seconds for 14 year olds.

The 400m free is almost as tough for parents and spectators as for the swimmers but they were all rewarded with some huge PBs. Beth Cox broke through the five-minute barrier to achieve a silver medal amongst the 13 year old girls. Morgan Creed and Georgie Lloyd were also among the minor medals over the weekend and saw major PBs in the 400m free and other events.

Our biggest PB machines of the weekend were Arno Turner and James Webb in the 12 year age category. Twelve races between them and twelve new best times, some improved by more than twenty seconds. The competition between them clearly spurred them both on, James just edging their personal duel but Arno claiming the spoils in both breaststroke races.

Younger swimmers

The 10 and 11 year olds swim a different programme to the older children. Daniel Harding was much in evidence, adding three more bronze medals to his haul for this meet. The highlight for Daniel was a 27 second PB in the 400m free to see him smash the mighty Peter Rogers’ all –time club record for 10 year olds by over 13 seconds.

Sam Fry and Josh Holloway again joined Daniel amongst the younger medallists, Sam in the 100m IM and Josh in his favourite 100m breaststroke.

Katie Pellow was delighted with a strong swim and big PB in the 400m free while Jess Swales recorded some very quick times in the 100m IM and 50m back.

Thanks again to all our volunteers (more fun than sitting in the hot spectator area!) including notably Steve Jones in the frenzied but air-conditioned atmosphere of the recorders’ room on Saturday and Juliet Jones, much in demand at the medals table all day Sunday.

Favourite moment of the weekend was a relieved Eleanor Aris exiting the pool after a fast final surge in the 200m back. “Well, I wasn’t going to let my little brother beat me!” she announced. One day, Ed, one day ….

Please note we are still waiting for the Hy-Tek file from the organisers before we can load all the weekend’s times into the database.

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