Two of Tigersharks swimmers were in action at the ASA National championships last week. Unlike previous years qualification has been based on invites to the fastest Long Course swimmers from a very short qualifying window.
For Tigersharks Marshall Fitchett was first up in the open water swimming at the Rother Valley Lake. Unfortunately conditions were not great with a strong breeze making the water choppy and slowing the swimmers down. Open water swimming is a far more physical form of the sport as swimmers start en masse and unlike the pool where painted line help you swim straight, the swimmers have to lift their heads to get an sight of where they are going and keep them on track. Go ‘off-piste’ and you could end up swimming a lot further than you intended.
Marshall, however, is a hardened swimmer when it comes to this discipline and set about his task with great enthusiasm. Starting in the second wave of swimmers he worked hard and although his time was slightly down on his best (due to the conditions), he finished a fantastic 12th place in the 13 years age group.
In the pool Becky Cook found herself in the fastest heat overall but despite a delay in proceedings, which held up the heats, she held her nerve well. Finding herself in about 6th place at the first turn, she slowly moved through the field and at 100m was sitting in 3rd place; as the other began to tire Becky used her strength over the final 100m and was pulling away at the end twin the heat and qualify for the final in 2nd place with a massive new lifetime best of 2:42.54 seconds.
The final itself was a tough race with all the girls looking to raise their game. Becky had a solid start and produced another great swim, finishing strongly as always but in a very tight finish was just edged out of the medals in 5th place in a time of 2:43.05. It’s often the case that finals don’t produce fast times as the swimmers are naturally more tense going into them, but to get that close to her new PB was a brilliant swim and a fantastic performance from Becky.
To put this into context, as a personal achievement this cannot be under estimated. 18 months ago PB’s for Becky were few and far between, it’s at this point that the sport becomes very tough on the individual and many fall by the way side. To her credit hard work, determination and the right mind set has seen Becky start to win medals at Regional level and put her where she wants to be, at the National Championships. When you add GCSE’s this year into the mix and the disappointment of missing out on the British championships by 1 place, the performance in these championships is even more special.
Meanwhile 9 year old Harriet Hillman fresh from the world GB Biathle world tour travelled tothe National Biathle championships Salford Quays, Manchester. Swimming at the bottom of the U10 age group, the event consisted of a 500m run, 50m open water swim, and further 500m run. Harriet had a strong first 500m and led the race from the front, also coming out of the swim in first position. She then got passed in the transition, but pulled herself back into first place in the second run, crossing the line first and claiming gold! She has now qualified for the World Championships so will represent Great Britain at the World Biathle championships in Georgia in September.
Unfortunately Tigersharks Andrew Smith had been too ill in the weeks leading up to his National event to be able to compete. He will look forward to aiming just as high next year.
The club will now take a well-earned rest over the summer and come back in September and start to build towards next year’s National championships, where we hope that Marshall Becky and few more will also earn their place all over again.