News Archive

Tigersharks Golden Oldies

shaun cornford

For the first time in over 10 years Tigersharks sent a team of swimmers to Wiltshire Masters competition. Round 1 at the Link centre saw swimmers from 18 to 83 years old compete over the shorter distances in the swimming programme. The balance of age switches in Masters as the swimmers mature, for the younger swimmers in the club being the oldest in your age group is a real advantage; it’s the opposite in masters swimming as the ‘youngsters’ in the older age groups have ‘youth on their side’ (it’s all relative!)

In the Women’s competition a very nervous Lucy Doughty donned her goggles for the first time in over 20 years taking a gold medal the 50m back in the 40-44 years old age group. Unfortunately, those goggles proved to be detrimental in the 100m FC as they came off and had to put back on. This cost Lucy well over 2 seconds and she ended up runner up, just over half a second off the winner with a time of 1:15.28.

Sophie Hawkins also struck gold in the 50m back in the 18-24 year old age group in an impressive display of sprinting as she clocked 32.59 to win in a new Age Group Best Time. Bethany Martin was just outside the medals in 4th place but stepped up the performance in the 100m Fly where she took a silver medal.

The men’s competition saw Gavin Doughty take the 25m breaststroke in the 45-49 year old age group despite a dodgy start. His time of 15.43 was a new Age Group Best Time. The 100m FC proved to be a big incentive to do some more training as he hung on down the last 25m to take gold just ahead of ex Tigersharks Nick Hudson.

Elliot Willoughby and Shaun Cornford also got their masters campaigns off to promising starts with Elliot taking the silver in the 18-24 year old 50m Back and Shaun matching him in the same age group in the 100m Fly.

Whilst it was only a small team, everyone came away with something out of the meet. The next round of the County Championships is at Trowbridge in June where we hope to add to our numbers and show that Tigersharks can compete at all distances across all ages.

Tigersharks go the distance

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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.

If only Tigersharks could sprint ………….


It has often been said that ‘Tigersharks don’t do sprinting’ so to many it would seem an odd choice for the club to enter the Wiltshire sprint competition, an event held over the unusual distance of 36 2/3 yards. After an absence of over 5 years from this competition the team set about putting the urban myth to the sword winning medals across a multitude of age groups.

The event for Tigersharks was aimed at providing an opportunity for some of our youngest swimmers to gain valuable experience in a county competition for the first time. This was particularly aimed at the 9 & 10 year age group and some new to swimming 11 year olds. It also provided a few of our older swimmers the opportunity to work on sprinting.

The first to get in amongst the medals was Ethan Nicolaas (10) winning a bronze medal in the 1L Backstroke. Ethan followed this up by winning more bronze medals in the 1L fly and Breaststroke. He capped off a fine day and went one better by winning a silver medal in the 1L FC.

Harriet Hillman who has just turned 9 years in January, was also in fine form taking a silver medal in her first county event, the 1L breaststroke. Harriet then went 1 better with lovely swim in the 1L FC to win her first county title. Harriet’s second title came soon after in the 1L Backstroke and she finished the day with another silver in the 1L Fly.

Although in the age group up Lavinia Morsani-Jones and Amelia Pirt (10) were getting their first taste of the county championships as well and both put in some fantastic swims.  Lavinia won the 10 year 1L breaststroke to claim her first county title and followed this up with a silver in the 1L FC. Amelia was close on Lavinia’s heels in the 1L FC taking the bronze medal and backed this up with another bronze medal in the 1L Fly.

It was great to see our youngest swimmers putting a real show of speed and determination over the course of the day. It bodes very well for their futures to see these swimmers performing at such a high level at their first big competition.

The older and more experienced swimmers were also out in force with Andrew Smith (12) winning all 4 events, Dina Nejkic (12) & Amelia Skitrall (11) took 2 county titles each and Gabriella Doughty (12), James Andrew (11) and Lisa Cowley (16) also adding sprint titles to their growing list of achievements.

Over the course of the day Tigersharks won 14 county titles, with 17 silver medals and 11 bronze. Not bad for a club that doesn’t sprint……..

Unfortunately the experience of a very long day with very little swimming (9 hours on poolside for 3 minutes or less swimming) has prompted Tigersharks to remember why this event is really not for us as a club. However we also acknowledge what a great event it is for other clubs.

Tigersharks Winter Meet: Big Performances from the Young Swimmers

Tigersharks hosted another successful open meet on the weekend of 17/18 January. This was the last chance for some swimmers to get their county times as well as another opportunity to post regional times early on in the qualification window. The meet falls in the middle of what is a period of hard training for the swimmers so personal best times are especially welcome as we build our preparations for the County championships in February and March.

Harvie Greenwood was in top form all weekend as he obliterated his previous best times in every event he entered. His biggest improvement came in the 400IM where he dropped his PB by a massive 17 seconds, following up with a 13 second improvement on his 100m fly time and a 10 second improvement on 400 FC where he won a well-deserved bronze medal.

Gabriella Doughty continues to grow in confidence as she pushes herself up the rankings. Competing in only 4 events in this meet, she achieved regional qualifying times in 3 of them and a personal best in the other. In her shortest event, the 50m FC she smashed her PB by 2.5 seconds and won the event from the bottom of the age group. Gabriella now has 9 regional times in the bag for 2015 already.

Sam Morgan was another swimmer who made dramatic progress over the weekend and laid claim to the biggest improvement in a single swim with a jaw dropping 21 second PB in his 400m FC. Sam then backed up this with big improvements in both his 200m Fly and 200m Breaststroke. His fine performances throughout the meet gained him 1 gold, 1 silver and 2 bronze medals and the icing on the cake were his two Regional Consideration times.

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Ryan Lawrence has been improving steadily for a while now and continued this with a fantastic weekend, as he took on some 100m events for the first time. From his 8 swims he produced 8 PB’s and 8 medals to show for it, with 5 of them gold. He also notched up 4 more Regional Consideration times and came within 0.6 of his first Regional time. James Andrew joined him in also winning 5 gold medals over the weekend.

There were great performances throughout the weekend by so many of swimmers. Our 10 year old girl’s age group was dominated by Grace Osman, Amelia Skittrall, Ella Reindl and Juliet Durrant sharing 10 of the 16 gold medals on offer amongst themselves.

At this time of the year and with the current training programme the swimmers outperformed the expectations of the coaching team time and time again. We all now move on to the county championships where once again Tigersharks swimmers will have a lot to say in the outcome of the medals.

Finally, Tigersharks would like to thank everyone who supported us throughout the meet, ensuring that yet again the club put on a great weekend of swimming. Your support and enthusiasm is as ever, much appreciated.

2014 A great year for Tigersharks


As 2014 comes to close its worth reflecting on what we as a club have achieved over the last 12 months. It’s very easy to move from event to event looking forward to the next open meet or competition but it’s also worth remembering how well we have done in 2014.

January saw us hosting a very successful open meet where we had numerous swimmers gain qualification for the Regional Championships later in the year. As we moved into March the team achieved a creditable 3rd place in the Winter league.

In March both the senior and junior swimmers attended the county championships with Tigersharks retaining the Doreen Clark trophy. This is particularly significant as it compares the success of the all in clubs in Wiltshire at the BAGCAT county championships to the size of the club. Whilst other may have more winners than we do, relative to our size we are the most successful club in Wiltshire at these championships.

April was the last chance for our swimmers to get their regional times and as well as hosting another great meet we attended the Bristol Open meet with much success. Juliet Durrant scored more points than anyone else and was female swimmer of the meet.

We continued to perform at the Regional championships with Rebecca Cook winning bronze in the 200m Breaststroke, Dina Nejkic took silvers in 100m and 200m Breaststroke, Andrew Smith a silver and Bronze in the 400IM and 400m FC and Marshall Fitchett a sliver in the 400m FC.

In the BAGCAT points we were the only club in Wiltshire to have a swimmer in the top 3 in the West of England as Andrew Smith took second place in the 10/11 years age group.

Our success was not limited to the pool either as Tivvy Durrant and Luke Morgan both made the National Championships in open water swimming following their successes at the regional championships.

The summer also saw the SX3 junior team dominate the opening rounds of the Southern Junior league and finish second overall behind a very strong Bournemouth team.

There was also huge success for Jazz Carlin over the summer. The first Welsh woman in 40 years to win gold in the pool at the Commonwealth games was backed up by two superb victories in the 400m and 800m FC at the European championships. There are very few clubs in the country who have such talent amongst their membership.

Our club championships in October saw many fantastic swims with James Andrew going to 2nd place in the 9 years age group on the UK rankings (age as on day) in his 200m FC. Leia Griffiths smashed it in her 800m FC and at the time was also number 2 on the UK rankings for this event.

We returned to the Bristol open meet in November where we were top club overall and in December we hosted yet another fantastic open meet where we gained 35 regional times, 30 Regional Consideration times and too many county times to count.

As we close the year, we lead the Winter league after the first round and have 2 swimmers ranked in top 10 in the UK on their events. Leia Griffiths sits at number 9 in the 800m FC and Dina Nejkic sits at number 10 in the 100m Breaststroke.

This is a great set of achievements for a club of our size and we should be really proud of all that we have achieved this year.

The success this year is not just about the swimming we have a new website, a re-invigorated social committee who organised a summer BBQ, bike ride and 2 Christmas parties which were thoroughly enjoyed by all those who came.

As with every club across the UK, none of the above is possible without the support of all of our members. From officiating, coaching, squad admins, social committee, marshalling at our open meets or even getting swimmers to training before the sun gets up; we are grateful to everyone who has contributed towards another fantastic year. We are very lucky to have such a great bunch of people to work with.

And that just leave us to wish you all a very Merry Christmas & Happy New Year; we look forward to doing it all again in 2015……….


Tigersharks are always happy to hear from you.

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

For all ‘Learn to Swim’ enquiries
please contact Zoe Salmon on mobile 07849 393054

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