Sunday 8th Feb saw the Tigersharks team at Salisbury in the second tranche of the Wiltshire County Championships, racing over the longest distances in the pool of 800m for the girls and 1500m for the boys. This was in stark contrast to the previous weekend where the team had performed so well in the sprints and on the Saturday night where they dominated their round of the Winter League. The longer distances are a real challenge in terms of mental strength and the ability to judge the pace in earlier parts of the race. Go out too fast and you will know about very quickly but if you ease back too much then the rest of the swimmers will be long gone. It’s a fine balance between swimming your own race whilst staying competitive with those around you.
The girls really laid down some spectacular performances in the 800m. In the 12 year old age group Tigersharks took 4 of the top 5 places with Dina Nejkic taking gold and Gabriella Doughty the silver in personal best and regional qualifying times. They were backed up by Sophie Walker and Matilda Hart who also achieved PB’s and regional qualifying times; particularly pleasing for Matilda to get her first regional time after only 18 months in the sport. Poppy Turner achieved the regional consideration time and Erika Mawer took a massive 49 seconds off her previous best as she closes in on her regional consideration time.
In the 13 year old girls Mia Smith took over 20 seconds off her PB to finish just outside the medals in 4th. The 14 year old age group was a very close race with Jasmin Poole and Eloise Sutton from Trowbridge battling it out for the title. Fortunately for Tigersharks, Jasmin had the edge as she took the title by just 4 one hundredths of a second (about 3cm) getting a new PB and regional time to boot. It got even better for Jasmin as her swim also saw her crowned overall Junior Champion. In the same age group Laura Edwards and Abi Cook both got their regional consideration times as Tigersharks showed great strength in depth. Jessica Lawrence and Amy Jackson rounded the age group off, giving Tigersharks 5 swimmers in the top 10.
Rebecca Cook had a much larger margin of victory as she won the 16 years age group by over a minute and took the overall Wiltshire County 800m title well inside the Regional qualifying time and to make things better Jasmin was second giving Tigersharks their second 1-2 of the afternoon.
The boys have to swim almost twice as far but that didn’t bother Andrew Smith one bit. Having won all 4 of the sprints last week Andrew set his sights on his preferred distance as he took the 12 year old boys title in the 1500m FC by over 50 seconds, securing his regional time in the process. Despite being in the youngest age group he also finished 4th in the Junior boys (under 15 years) and 6th in the overall championships – not bad for 12 year old.
Andrew was not alone in laying down the good swims, Alex Reeves smashed over a minute and a half off his PB in 5th place in the 12 years age group. Marshall Fitchett and Luke Morgan both showed steel and determination to get their regional qualifying times as they took silver in the 13 & 14 years age group respectively and Nathan Kennet also took silver in the 15 years with a regional consideration time. Harvie Greenwood continues to make huge improvements taking over 70 seconds off his PB, that was only 8 weeks old, as he earned a regional consideration time and just missed out on a medal in 4th place.
Overall Tigersharks had a fantastic start to the Wiltshire Championships. A senior and junior title as well as 4 age group titles from such a small group of swimmers is impressive but the level and commitment from all the swimmers this weekend was outstanding with nearly every swimmer achieving a PB and those that didn’t getting very close.
The coaching team were delighted with all the performances this weekend and are looking forward to the main championships where we hope to continue what has been a great start for Tigersharks to the 2015 campaign.