Thursday, 5 May 2016

ASA South West Regional Championships, 30 April---2 May

There were 2 wins, 11 medals, and 33 top-10 finishes for Exeter swimmers at the Regional championships in Plymouth over bank holiday weekend. Impressive though these numbers are, they don't tell the whole story of competitive swimming against the best not only in the region, but often in the country and even the world. This was an international meet in all but name, with stars taking part like Olympic champion Ruta Meilutyte and national record-holder Ben Proud. Such illustrious company brought out the best in Exeter swimmers, who achieved countless personal bests as they battled against intense opposition.

Leading the way were Ella Farley (16), who took gold in the 200m fly, and club captain Dominic Wooldridge (17+) with gold in 100m fly. Fly proved to be the club's favourite stroke, with Tom Downs (17+) picking up silver and Joe Day (15) bronze over 200m fly, Ella bronze over 100m fly, and Alec White (15) silver in the 50m fly sprint.

After fly, backstroke proved popular with Exeter swimmers, as Katie Townsend (16) claimed bronze in 50m back and doubled up with bronze in 100m back, a fraction behind Aliyah-Mai Webb (16) in silver. Aliyah claimed two more medals in the medley: bronze over 200m, silver over 400m.

There were also top-10 finishes for Tom Price (15), Liam White (17+), Charlie Kendall (16), Andre Orchard (15), and Dayna Riordan (17+).

Attention now turns to the younger age-groups, who will be attempting to outdo their senior teammates at the regional championships in Hengrove and Millfield later this month. 

Friday, 12 February 2016

Devon County Championships: Third Weekend

The 2016 Devon County Championships ended, as they began, with a deluge of medals, PBs and regional qualifying times for Exeter swimmers.

Warren Barrett
The focus was on butterfly, which provided events over 50m and 100m. At the shorter distance, Warren Barrett won the super final, while the age groups saw silver for Enzo Robertson-Moro (11) and bronze for Keely Ware (10), Katie Townsend (16+) and Alec White (15). In 100m fly, Liam White and Tom Downs qualified for the super final, finishing 4th and 5th respectively, and Aliyah-Mai Webb finished 6th in her super final. Keely Ware and Charlotte Emery (13) took gold in their age groups, with Luca Riezzo (12) in silver.

The sprinters came out for the 50m freestyle. Jolie Sellek (11) surprised the middle lanes by winning her race. She was joined in gold by Katie Townsend (16+), and Milly Kendall (13) claimed bronze. Will Amey qualified for the super final, finishing 7th.

The 100m IM may be rarely swum, but Exeter swimmers showed their dominance with four gold medalists: Enzo Robertson-Moro, Olivia Burrow (14), Katie Townsend (16+), and Aliyah-Mai Webb (super final). Liam White finished second in his super final, and joining him with silver were Alec White (15), James Wamsley (16+), Keely Ware and Charlotte Emery; Luca Riezzo took bronze.

In the 100m breaststroke there was a convincing win for Alec White, with silvers for Keely Ware, Charlotte Emery and Liam Jordan (12). Ollie Palmer won bronze, and in the super final James  Wamsley finished a strong 4th.

Aliyah, Olivia, Emily, Rhiannon, Katie
The only middle-distance event of the weekend was 200m backstroke. Fittingly for Liam Tancock's first club, backstroke had already proven an Exeter specialism in previous weekends. This event continued the trend, with five of the eight swimmers in the women's super final from Exeter: Aliyah-Mai Webb came 2nd, closely followed by Olivia Burrow (3rd, and junior champion), Emily Eveling (4th), Rhiannon Loveman (7th) and Katie Townsend (8th). Amelia Ashelford (13) won her final by a country mile and Katya Zossimova (16+) finished with silver. Among the men, Liam White took bronze in his super final, as did Archie Tyers (12) in his age-group.

Actually, that wasn't quite the end. The long distance events still offer the promise of more medals for a dozen dauntless Exeter swimmers. But the results to date speak for themselves. Unlike several other clubs who prepared specifically for the county championships, Exeter swam through them with no reduction in training intensity; most of the senior swimmers, and many juniors, proved their commitment with a two-hour training session on Sunday morning before the races. Extremely impressive though the results have been, the training plan indicates that there is even better to come.

Thank you to coaches and volunteers, and congratulations to all our swimmers on a superb performance!

Olivia Burrow: 200m backstroke junior champion

Tuesday, 2 February 2016

Devon County Championships: Second Weekend

The second weekend of the Devon County Championships at Plymouth's Life Centre brought a hugely impressive --- and increasingly predictable --- haul of medals for Exeter swimmers. In some events, they dominated across the age groups. Their excellence was summed up by the super final of the women's 100m backstroke, in which Exeter provided five of the eight swimmers, and filled the podium.

That final was won by Aliyah-Mai Webb, with Olivia Burrow and Emily Eveling 2nd and 3rd. Rhiannon Loveman and Katya Zossimova finished 6th and 7th. In the men's super final, Liam White took silver, while the age group competitions for 100m backstroke also saw medals for Exeter swimmers: silver for Amelia Ashelford (13), and bronze for Archie Tyers (12), Alec White (15) and Milly Rawles (14).

The breaststroke races delivered even more success, with Exeter swimmers claiming six golds: Charlotte Emery (13) and Alec White (15) doubled up in the 50m and the 200m races, while Charlie Kendall (16+) and Keely Ware (11) took gold in the 200m and the 50m respectively. Dayna Riordan qualified for the 200m super final, in which she finished 3rd, and followed this with 7th in the 50m super final, while James Wamsley, coming back from injury, took 5th in his 200m super final. Other medals in 200m breaststroke went to Amelia Ashelford (2nd behind Charlotte), Keely Ware (2nd), and Liam Jordan and Archie Tyers (2nd and 3rd in a close final). Liam Jordan (12) took bronze in 50m breaststroke, as did Liam White (16+) and Annabel Courtney (13).

Club captain Dominic Wooldridge won the super final of the 200m freestyle, with Liam White 4th. In the age groups, there were golds for Enzo Robertson-Moro (11), Archie Tyers (12), Katie Townsend (16+) and Olivia Burrow (14), with silvers for Keely Ware and Charlotte Emery, and a bronze for Tom Downs (16+).

The 400m IM attracts a certain kind of swimmer, requiring good technique in all four strokes as well as extraordinary strength and willpower. The swim of the weekend went to Emily Eveling (14), who amply demonstrated those qualities to win not just her age group but the senior and junior championship. Liam White came runner-up in his senior championship. Charlotte Emery and Milly Kendall (13) won gold and silver for their age group, while Luca Riezzo (13) and Rebecca Gibbins (15) took silver and bronze.

Thursday, 21 January 2016

The First Weekend of Devon County Championships, 2016

Competing against the best in the county, 25
Exeter swimmers won medals during the first weekend of the Devon Championships. With five more days of swimming ahead, the club already looks set to surpass last year's impressive total.

Medals came in all age groups, distances and strokes. In the first final of the competition, Keely Ware (11) took gold in the 200m IM, and later added gold in 200m fly along with silver in 400m free and bronze in 100m free. Her friend Jolie Sellek helped to ensure that Exeter dominated that age-group by finishing with two silvers, in 100m free and 50m back.

The 13-year-old girls' category proved just as productive. Charlotte Emery led the way, with gold in 200m IM and 400m free, silver in 100m free, and a time so fast in 200m fly that she qualified for the super final, where she finished 7th. Milly Kendall won two silvers (200m fly, 50m back) and two bronzes (100m free, 200m fly), while Amelia Ashelford picked up bronze in 50m back.

There were three medalists, as well, among the 14-year-old girls. Emily Eveling took silver in 100m free and bronze in 400m free, while also qualifying for two super finals, where she came 2nd (200m IM) and 4th (400m free). Another super finalist was Olivia Burrow in the 50m back, where she finished 4th, and she took silver in the age-group final for 200m IM. Grace James knocked 6 seconds off her heat time as she claimed bronze in 200m fly.

The older girls shared the glory. Aliyah-Mai Webb (16) swam brilliantly all weekend to win the super final of 200m IM (just ahead of Emily), and to finish second and third in the super finals of 200m fly and 50m back respectively. Aliyah was joined as a championship winner by Katie Townsend (16), who took what seemed (at least to the spectators!) like a fairly comfortable gold in the 50m back super final, and came 7th in the 200m IM super final; she was also 2nd in her age group for 100m free. Rebecca Gibbins (15) wasn't far away from gold as she took silvers in her age-group finals for 200m fly and 50m back.

The boys matched the girls medal for medal. Enzo Robertson-Moro, in the youngest age category, swam consistently well to take gold in 200m IM and 400m free, as well as bronze in 50m back. In the next age group, Archie Tyers also won the 400m free, with silvers in 50m back and 100m free, while Liam Jordan came second in 200m IM. Luca Riezzo (13) swam an impressive personal best to win bronze in the 100m free.

One of the swims of the weekend came from Joe Day (15) in 200m fly, who finished so far ahead of his age-group rivals in the heats that he qualified for the super final, where he came 8th. That final was won by our club captain, DJ Wooldridge, with Tom Downs taking bronze. 200m fly was a strong event, as well, for Luke Owen (14), who claimed silver, and for Charlie Kendall and Adam Edwards, who took gold and bronze respectively in the 16-and-over final.

DJ and Tom also qualified for the 200m IM super final, where DJ finished 3rd and Tom 7th.Tom  took bronze in his age group for 50m back; while DJ was overall champion in 400m free, ahead of Liam White in silver. The Whites again demonstrated their backstroke excellence, with Liam finishing 2nd in the 50m back super final, and Alec sharing the junior championship trophy in the same event. Liam also touched the wall 4th in the 200m IM super final, and Alec claimed bronze with a big personal best in his 200m IM age-group final.

The wealth of talent among the older boys was demonstrated by Ollie Palmer, whose brilliant swim in the 200m IM age-group final very nearly took gold, while Will Amey came 7th in the 50m back super final and rounded off an amazingly successful weekend for the club with gold in 100m free.

Thursday, 13 August 2015

Exeter Success at the Nationals, 2015

While Liam Tancock was competing at the World Championships in Kazan, the next generation of Exeter swimmers was surpassing all expectations as they fought for medals at the national age group championships in Sheffield. Fifteen swimmers had qualified for the championships—a club record—and every one of them progressed from the heats to a national final, with seven achieving a podium finish, and one (Dominic Wooldridge) winning double gold. It was an extraordinary performance, which demonstrates that Exeter has established itself as one of the leading swimming clubs in the country.

Tom Downs (16) and James Wamsley (16) set the standard in the first week, qualifying for finals and beating previous personal bests by large margins. Tom finished 5th in the final of the 200m fly, showing impressive back end speed as he overtook several swimmers in the last 50 metres; James came 8th in the 100m breaststroke, and just missed a medal by two-tenths in 50m breaststroke, finishing 4th from an outside lane. 

The second week brought success after success, as Exeter swimmers supported and inspired each other to smash personal best times. The week couldn’t have started better.
DJ Wooldridge (DE Photos)
Club captain Dominic Wooldridge led by example to become national champion for his age group in the 100m fly, dominating his race from start to finish in a new best of 54.39. His 50m fly, later that week, was much closer, as he timed his race to perfection by taking the lead in the last stroke to win by 0.04 seconds.  On the last day of racing he produced another personal best to finish 4th in the 400m freestyle, beaten to bronze on the touch. 

Not to be outdone by the men, Exeter’s women swimmers had an astonishing week. Emily Eveling (13) took two bronze medals (200m and 400m individual medley), an 8th (100m backstroke) and a 5th (200m backstroke). Her ability to push herself to even faster times 
Emily Eveling
in the final was copied by Aliyah- Mai Webb (15), who swam strongly all week to reach three finals, coming 8th (200m individual medley), 7th (200m backstroke) and 7th again (400m IM). Millie Price (17) showed all her racing experience, pacing her 200m breaststroke final perfectly to overhaul several swimmers in the final stages and finish 4th with a brilliant swim. In her first national championships, Katie Townsend (15) achieved a personal best of 31.98 in the heats of 50m backstroke, and went four-tenths quicker in the final to take 7th from an outside lane. Olivia Burrow (13), another first-timer, qualified 10th for the 50m backstroke and finished 6th with a huge personal best. 

Liam White (DE Photos)
In the same week that Exeter’s Matt Ramsay (14) was coming 8th in the 50m freestyle of the Welsh nationals, back in Sheffield the club’s vice-captain, Liam White (17), reached two finals, and took a fantastic bronze in a tight finish to the 50m backstroke. He and Dominic Wooldridge were joined by teammates Will Amey and Jack Pearson for the men’s 17 and over relays; they missed the final by a fraction in the 4x100m medley, but came back to qualify in 7th, and finish 6th, for the 4x200m freestyle. That depth of talent was shown again in 14-16 year-old men’s team, as the squad of Tom Downs, James Wamsley, Ollie Palmer, Matty Seabrook and Charlie Kendall qualified for three finals, smashing their seed times in the process. In the 4x100m freestyle they came 6th, and 9th in the 4x200m freestyle. Saving the best until last, and having qualified in 6th place for the 4x100m medley relay, they snatched a surprise silver with massive personal bests. It was a suitably breathtaking end to what had been an amazing fortnight for Exeter City Swimming Club.  

Head coach Jo John was delighted: ‘These are fantastic results, with each swimmer giving that bit extra to improve on their times.  They have already created an ambition around the club for more swimmers to qualify for the national championships next year.  The achievement is all the more impressive considering the standard of facilities available to us in the city. Exeter deserves a 50-metre pool, so that we have the same training opportunities as our competitors.’
4x100m medley team: James Wamsley, Tom Downs, Ollie Palmer, Charlie Kendall. (DE Photos)

Monday, 27 July 2015

Best Visiting Club at Plymouth Gala, July 2015

Swimmers and coaches with the trophy for Best Visiting Club
Exeter took the trophy for Best Visiting Club after a terrific performance at Plymouth's end of season gala.

For some of our younger swimmers, this was a first experience of competitive racing, while  more senior teammates used the event for some last-minute practice as they prepare for the National Championships in Sheffield next week.

Exeter's dominance began on Friday evening, with eight medals in the long-distance events. Full days of swimming on Saturday and Sunday produced golds across every age group, distance and stroke, as swimmers achieved countless personal best times.

The club's 31 gold medals were won by: Joe Day (1500m free, 200m fly), Will Amey (50m back), Rosie Kendall (800m free), Guy Wilson (400m free), Jack Pearson (400m IM), Milly Rawles (100m back), Katie Townsend (200m free, 400m free), Olivia Burrow (400m IM), Tim Western (50m breast, 200m back), Amelia Ashelford (50m back, 100m back, 200m fly), Milly Kendall (800m free, 400m free), Charlotte Emery (100m fly, 50m breast, 200m fly, 100m free), Emily Eveling (50m fly, 100m breast, 100m fly, 50m back), Aliyah-Mai Webb (400m free, 100m fly), Alec White (100m back, 50m fly, 100m breast, 100m fly).

There were too many silvers and bronzes to list!

Many thanks to all coaches and volunteers, and best of luck to the swimmers competing in the nationals over the next fortnight.

Monday, 2 February 2015

Three Swimmers Qualify for British Championships

The Olympic Park venue in Stratford, London

Following an excellent weekend of swimming in the London Aquatics Centre at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, Exeter City Swimming Club now have three swimmers who have qualified at the highest national level.  James Wamsley and Tom Downs had previously qualified to swim at the British Championships, and Dominic Wooldridge added to this group by gaining the qualifying standard in the 100m butterfly.

The British Championships are held in April and attract the best swimmers from England, Scotland and Wales. This year’s event will double as British selection trials for the World Championships in Kazan, Russia as well as the European Games in Baku, Azerbaijan and European Youth Olympic Festival in Tbilisi, Georgia.
The ASA South Zonal competition saw some of the best clubs from London, the South East and the South West racing to achieve some early season goals.  It was a successful weekend with personal best times, finalists and medallists.  On the way to attaining the championship qualifying time, Dominic won the gold medal in the 100m butterfly, having previously won the 50m butterfly.  Liam White added to the medal tally with a bronze in the 50m backstroke, having also qualified for the 100m backstroke final. Other finalists were James Wamsley in 100m breaststroke, Tom Downs in 100m and 200m butterfly, Warren Barrett in 50m butterfly,  and Katie Townsend in 50m backstroke.  It was also great to see Jack Pearson competing at this level after an illness toward the end of last year affected his training for a few months.

The next national qualifying opportunity for Exeter City Swimmers will be at Portsmouth over the Easter weekend, where they will hope to post fast times in a bid to qualify for British and English nationals in the summer.