Venue: Ponds Forge. Date: 29-31 October 2021
A return to the water for national competition at Ponds Forge after two years out. The event was of course eagerly anticipated and followed on from the Regionals in early October. Both events were significantly changed from their previous incarnations.
Ponds Forge saw significant Covid regulations including mask wearing by officials, one-way poolside systems, participants and coaches obliged to sit in the balcony. These had a somewhat depressing impact and somewhat sterilized proceedings.
The number of older age swimmers in general was much reduced, possibly due to concerns over pandemic, travel difficulties etc.
The competition in the pool was dominated by very strong contingents of younger swimmers under 30 mainly with Loughborough University and Town absolutely dominating events. In some they had the top 8 swimmers in an event.
There were numerous records broken at that younger age especially in freestyle evets.
Spencer saw somewhat of a transition of the team. 18 Spencer swimmers participated with 7 debutants. We only had 4 swimmers over the age of 65, an unusual situation for Spencer.
We swam 11 relays and won medal in the 120+ mixed freestyle relay and 120+ women’s 400 freestyle relay
Top honours went to Fran Baker who won 5 medals including 3 golds, Peter Stephens with 4 including 2 golds, Di Ford with 2 golds and Georgie Quayle with 4 bronze medals. The relay team of Mel Thomas, Rebecca Pritchard, Olegas Petrikas and Oliver Lungley won bronze in the 120 years 200 mixed freestyle relay. The women’s 4 x 100 Freestyle team of Georgie Quayle, Sally Richie, Laura Kerrigan and Mel Thomas also brought back a bronze.
This meant we had 6 debutant medalists.
Agonizingly close results for Clive Benson who missed out on a medal in the 100 fly by 0.03 of a second and Anders Christenson by 0.1 second in the 50 free.
There was much to celebrate with numerous PBs within the team. Luca Milana moved up to 6th in the 400 IM.
Disappointingly we had to withdraw from numerous relays due to non-availability of key swimmers.
The event proved to be a strong bonding session with the traditional Friday and Saturday evenings out.
Stephen Baker, Club Coach
Women: Georgie Quayle, Fran Baker, Sally Richie, Emily Hayter, Mel Thomas, Rebecca Pritchard, Di Ford, Hajnalka Racj, Fiona Wiggins.
Men: Peter Stephens, Oliver Lungley, Ross Needham, Olivier Geleoc, Luca Milana, Clive Benson, Anders Christensen, Olegas Petrikas, Simon Berrey.