News Archive

Tigersharks Perform outstandingly at National Competitions!


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.

Tigersharks close their season on a high

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Tigersharks hosted their end of season meet that represented the finale of the competitive season for many of our swimmers. There are still the National championships to come for Rebecca Cook, Marshall Fitchett and Andrew Smith but for the rest of the squads this meet represented a final chance to post some PB’s for a few months.

Leia Griffiths was in fine form all weekend. Having missed a huge amount of training earlier in the year due to illness, Leia has fought her way back in last few months and now back to full strength continued from where she left off, pre-illness. Leia recorded 10 PB’s over the course of the weekend and has put herself right up there in the South West Rankings with a number of top 5 rankings across different events.

Another swimmer returning to form was Dina Nejkic. Dina has been training well over the last few months and put this training into action as she too collected PB after PB. Dina’s performance in her favoured breaststroke events saw her top the South West rankings in both the 100m and 200m and sit at number 2 in the 50m events.

The meet provided many more PB’s for Tigersharks swimmers with everyone stepping up and hitting their PB’s. It has been a strong summer season for Tigersharks and the team will be looking forward to their summer break.

For a couple of our swimmers, it’s not over yet. Rebecca Cook & Marshall Fitchett still have the National championships to contend with but in very different events. Marshall is in the open water while Becky goes in the 200m breaststroke. Tigersharks 3rd qualifier, Andrew Smith, has had to withdraw due to illness but he will not doubt be looking to make amends next year.  The whole club is right behind them and we are all looking forward to seeing how they perform. We are sure they will do us proud.

Tigersharks Club Together

1 7 year olds CCs

June saw Tigersharks host their club championships over a number of weekends. The new position for this competition in the calendar has been dictated by the changes to the British swimming competition structure and the way that shifts county qualifying period and championships.

The club champs is often the first step into competition for many swimmers as they seek to gain valuable racing experience in a welcoming and friendly atmosphere. Tigersharks have always had a good crop of young swimmers and this year was no exception.

Our 7 year old swimmers were out to make a splash and try events for the first time. There were some excellent swims throughout the whole weekend from Jayden Adams, Ryan Sheahan, Neve Porton and Freya Preston as they challenged themselves across an array of events.

Our 8 years were also in fine form with some looking for medals in the 9 years and under category. Charlie Griffiths continues to impress with a great 200m BR amongst other swims. George Reindl, Freddie Logan, Isabella Thomson, Rebekkah Mawer and Megan Penny all made great improvements over the course of the competition across a huge spectrum of events.

By the time the swimmers reach 9 years they can start to participate in a few more competitions so for many of them the club champs gives them their first chance to qualify for the county championships next year. Ethan Nicolaas, Lavinia Morsani Jones and Amelia Pirt were putting themselves in a great position to make the counties next year. Also getting amongst the medals with some great swims were Owen Jackson, Niamh Preston and Harriet Hillman.

It’s really encouraging for the club to see so many young swimmers make such positive first steps in their competitive career. Their development is key to the future success of the club but they have made a great start.

The club champs also provides the older swimmers another go short course swimming after the regionals which are held in the longer 50m pool.  There were a huge number of PB’s across a range of events.

A couple of the highlights were Andrew Smith’s 200m Fly where he dominated the filed in a fantastic time that takes him to the top of the UK rankings. His 100m Fly was another very strong performance as he broke 70 seconds for the first time and now sits at number 2 in the UK rankings on this event. Gabriella Doughty also broke 70 seconds for the first time, but in her case it was in the 100m Backstroke and her performance sits at number 5 on the UK rankings this year and number 1 in the South West.

Overall it was another very successful champs, with some great swimming all round, providing further evidence that the club continue to go from strength to strength.

Harriet takes Gold for Great Britain in Italy

Harriet Hillman

Tigersharks Harriet Hillman travelled to Cascina in Italy as part of the Great Britain team to take part in a Biathle event which was part of the world GB Biathle world tour.

I temperatures of 32 degrees, 9 year old Harriet embarked on her event which comprised of 500m run – 50m swim – 500m run - (with full transition included in the overall time). Harriet had a strong start to the race taking the lead almost immediately in the first run. After the first transition she was then first into the pool and maintained her lead in the swim. She had a very smooth second transition and lead the final 500m run for the girls streaking over the finish line with a time of 4mins 40secs (a new PB and 7 seconds ahead of the second place athlete).

An international event that also doubled up for the Italians as their National Championships, Harriet was competing against Italians, Hungarians, Germans and an Austrian (along with 3 other GB girls).Harriet was also one of the youngest in the group and still has another year competing in this age category.
Her next big event is the Biathle National Championships which will be held in Salford Quay, Manchester at the beginning of August, where she will be hoping to qualify for the World Championships and European Championships later this year...... Tigersharks wish Harriet the very best of luck.

Tigersharks ‘open’ all sorts …...


Swimming takes place in many guises, most swimmers will experience swimming in the comfort of an indoor heated pool but for some this is not challenging enough and they take their chances in the open waters of the lakes at South Cerney.

Swimming over longer distances a small team of Tigersharks swimmers tried their luck at the Wiltshire Open water championships. Whilst the strokes are the same there are additional skills required to swim open water as the swimmer has no sight of where they are going and the swimmers all start together so there can be a bit of rough and tumble if your unlucky as swimmers try to get the best position. The course is laid out around marker buoys and the swimmers have to lift their heads every few strokes to make sure they remain on course. A swimmer will often pick a tree or a land mark that is easily visible and aim for that as they navigate the course.

The distances vary from 750m for the younger swimmers up to 3,000m for the older ones. The first in the water was Leia Griffiths in the 11 years 750m event where she continued her good run of form in taking gold. James Andrew and Ryan Lawrence were not to be outdone by their team mate as they dominated their event with a gold and silver respectively in the boys 11 years 750m, finishing over a minute ahead of the rest of the field.

Jessica Lawrence was next up in the 1500m where a PB by over 3 minutes saw Jess take silver in both the 12-14 years age group and the overall Junior championships. Erika Mawer also put in a strong performance in finishing 2nd out of all the 12 year olds in the same age group.

In the boys 12- 14 years Tigersharks took 3 out of the top 4 places with Marshall Fitchett and Sam Dubarry taking gold and silver, with Alex Reeves just outside the medals in 4th. These performances saw Marshall and Sam take silver and bronze in the junior championship (15 & under) as well. Marshall also took the bronze medal in the overall championship to take a clean sweep of medals – and all for one swim!

Given the training programme at the club does not gear itself to this type of swimming, this was an impressive set of the results from the swimmers and should lead to the regional championships for many of them in 2 week’s time. Having got some good experience here they will no doubt do themselves and the club proud. We wish them well. 


Tigersharks are always happy to hear from you.

For all ‘Competitive Training’ enquiries
please contact Lesley Leffers on mobile 07707 470100

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