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.

Saturday, 31 January 2015

Devon County Championships, 24-25 January 2015

Tom and Liam, Aliyah and Emily, Amelia and Charlotte
Following the huge medal haul a week previously, there was more success for the club's swimmers at the second weekend of the Devon County Championships.

The club's captain and vice-captain, D. J. Wooldridge and Liam White, led by example as they took gold and bronze respectively in the 400m freestyle. D. J. would later finish second in the championship final for 100m fly, with Tom Downs in 5th and Liam 6th. There were other impressive results in the men's championship finals, with James Wamsley 4th and Liam 7th for 100m breaststroke, and Liam 3rd in 200m freestyle. Tom took gold in the final of 16+ men's 200m freestyle.

Among the women, Aliyah-Mai Webb put in a terrific performance to qualify for the 200m fly championship final and finish with silver; she also came 7th in the 100m breaststroke, as did Katie Townsend in the 100m backstroke. Rhiannon Loveman finished 6th, from an outside lane, in 200m IM.

The women won medals throughout the age groups. At the younger end of the club, where a number of swimmers are showing potential and maturity well beyond their years, it was fantastic to see Keely Ware (10) hold off her rivals to win gold in 200m IM. The event proved popular with Exeter swimmers, as Megan Kennedy-Bruyneels (11) claimed the first of three victories, and Aliyah won gold in her age group (14). Charlotte Emery (12) was beaten to gold on the touch in the same event.

As well as Aliyah's silver in the championship final, there were 7 medals for Exeter swimmers over 200m fly. Charlotte, Emily Eveling (13) and Rebecca Gibbins (14) won their races, while there were bronzes for Jolie Sellek (10), Lauren Ramsay (11), Amelia Ashelford (12) Grace James (13) and Sarah Downs (15).

The 200m freestyle was almost as successful, with silvers for Megan, Charlotte and Emily, and bronzes for Milly Kendall (11), Rebecca and Katie.

The 100m backstroke and 100m breaststroke tested the club's sprinting prowess. In breaststroke, Emily and Megan won gold, with Charlotte taking silver. Backstroke was better still, with yet another gold for Megan as well as for Emily and Aliyah, and with Olivia Annunziata (14) putting in a brilliant swim not just to win her first medal but to become county champion. There were bronze medals for Amelia, Charlotte, and Katya Zossimova (16+).

This was a immense showing by the club against the best swimmers that the county can offer. Head Coach Jo John was particularly pleased at the depth of the squad, which won medals in every event and every age group: ‘The future of the club looks extremely strong, with such good performances by younger swimmers as well as their older and more experienced teammates.’

Full results are here.

Tuesday, 20 January 2015

Devon County Championships, First Weekend: 17-18 January 2015

The County Championships, which got underway at the Plymouth Life Centre last weekend, brought considerable success for Exeter swimmers.

The first event was 100m freestyle, which saw golds won by Liam White (16+) and Milly Kendall (12), with silvers for Charlotte Emery (12) and Lauren Ramsay (11), and a bronze for Aliyah-Mai Webb (15). More gold arrived via the men's 200m breaststroke, in which the 16+ category produced a win for D. J. Wooldridge with Tom Downs not far behind in bronze.

It was the women's 200m backstroke, late on Saturday, which proved the most lucrative for Exeter. Rosie Kendall (10) took bronze in her first Devons, while Megan Kennedy-Bruyneels (11) and Aliyah dominated their races to win comfortably. Emily Eveling (13) was just edged out into silver, and Rhiannon Loveman (16+) went home with bronze. Best of all was the 12-year-old category, which resulted in one of the closest and most exciting races of the day as Amelia Ashelford touched the wall a fraction before Charlotte, with Milly in bronze ensuring a clean sweep of medals for the club.

Golds also came courtesy of the women's 400m freestyle on Sunday. Megan added to her tally with another win, while Charlotte, having lost by just two-tenths to Milly in the 100m free, beat her by less than a second over 400m. Rebecca Gibbins (14) secured bronze with a strong PB, and Aliyah also won bronze in the 15-year-old age group.

Keiran Tellem (16+) won gold for his category (S9) in two sprints: 50m back and 50m breast. Rebecca took her second bronze of the day for her 50m back; and in 50m breast Charlie Kendall (15) also won bronze, while Warren Barrett (16+) claimed silver. James Wamsley (16+) qualified for the championship final, where he swam strongly to finish 4th.

There was more success in the men's 200m fly, as Luca Riezzo (12) finished third, and Joseph Day (14) second, while in the championship final D. J. won gold and Tom bronze. Having finished the 200m fly not long before, D. J. was back in action for the championship final of the 200m IM, in which he finished third.

Other championship finalists were: Liam for 50m back and 200m IM; Katie Townsend (15) for 50m back; and D. J. for 100m free.

With 30 medals --- including 11 golds --- won by Exeter, this was a strong showing by the club against the best swimmers that the county can offer.

Full results here.

Friday, 9 January 2015

Club Championships: Long Distance, 7 January 2015

The final races in the club championships were the long-distance events, which took place at Middlemoor on Wednesday 7 January. A select band of doughty swimmers competed in the 1500m (men) and 800m (women), pushing hard all the way and testing their endurance to the limits.

The lane draws created some fine rivalries. In the men's 1500m, Liam White, Tom Downs and Jack Pearson were together for a long period before Liam pulled away to win the 15 and over category, thirty seconds faster than his seed time. Other category winners were Archie Tyers --- an impressive performance in his first long-distance event --- Joseph Day (who had a great battle with Tim Western), Sam Criddle (more than 30 seconds faster than his seed time) and Charlie Kendall.

The women's 800m saw close racing between Grace James (12) and Milly Rawles (12), and between Milly Kendall (11) and Olivia Burrow (12): in each case, less than a second separated the swimmers. Milly Kendall beat the club's 800m record for 11-year-olds by 18 seconds, and Charlotte Emery, swimming a time trial in a different heat, went three seconds faster even than that. In the next age group down, Erin Throgmorton (10) swam superbly to win her category ahead of Georgina Broadhurst.

The battle of the 12-year-old Olivias saw Burrow triumph ahead of Passmore, knocking more than a minute off her seed time in the process. Rebecca Gibbins led the 13-year-olds with another personal best ahead of Eleanor Brandon and Florence Herbert, while Aliyah-Mai Webb took the next age group with Lily Collins-Board second, and Amy Linnington claimed gold for 15-year-olds.

Full results can be found here.