ONB County Championships Jan – Feb 2019
What an awesome Counties TSC had this year – the highest number of accepted entries by individual swimmers in the Club’s history, with 24 swimmers qualifying for numerous events, plus all our wonderful relay teams; Team TSC is going from strength to strength!
ONB Counties kicked off with the 1500m events on Saturday 5th January whilst most of us were still digesting turkey and Christmas pudding! Sam White and Lucy Block qualified for this event; the first time it has been run as a mixed gala – in previous years the boys only swam the 1500m and the girls the 800m. The pair swam brilliantly, Sam coming 17th with a 9 second PB in the Mens Open and Lucy 10th in the Ladies Open both amongst tough opposition, for those who aren’t aware there are no age categories in the ONB County long-distance events.
The following weekend was the 800m event – again being run as a mixed swim. Every TSC swimmer who took part in this event PB’d with no exceptions – what an achievement – so well done to all the girls who swam: Abi Hard, Hazel Randall, Tally Simms, Lucy B and Lizi Humphreys; Tally knocked 9 seconds off her entry time, whilst Lizi was our highest placed girl in a time of 9.39.21 coming 11th overall – well done to Lizi.
The boys were also on fire in the 800s – those who qualified were Sam White, Ben Mould, George Pearson and Jacob North; Jacob knocked a whopping 41 seconds off his entry time and Ben Mould was not far behind him taking 24 seconds of his PB – fantastic swimming.
Next up were the 400s, both freestyle and IM were swum on Sunday 20th January – the third weekend in a row for some of our county qualifiers. Congratulations to all our swimmers – some really impressive PBs, too many to mention individually as Team TSC were there en-mass – but big shout outs to:
George Pearson, who took 7 seconds off his PB in the 400 Free to come in 1st and become County Champion in the 13 Year Age Group at this stroke and then cracked it again in the 400 IM by taking a further 19 seconds of his PB to finish 5th in his age group – absolutely amazing swimming!!!
Jacob Pillinger, who also PB’d in the 400 free – 13 year old age group and got a finalist medal for coming 5th.
Jo Hewett knocked an impressive 15 seconds off her PB in the 400 free and won Gold in the multi-disability category – very impressive Jo!
Lucy Block, managed a 14 second PB in the 400 IM to take 3rd in the 15 year old girls category – her backstroke definitely gave her a huge lead in this competitive field.
Abi Hard who despite major surgery on her shoulder last summer has come back fighting and had an amazing Counties – she got an impressive 6 second PB in her 400 Free – fantastic determination!
… and well done to our older boys, Sam White, Murray Wakefield, Josh Greig, Ben Rose and Elliot Riley-Brown who all took large chunks off of their 400 times too.
Counties then took a rest for a couple of weeks until the main Championships which are held over two weekends in February – 9th/10th and 16th/17th at the Aqua Vale in Aylesbury. All the 50s, 100s and 200s are held over these weekends, so the galas are very busy and very exciting!!
For those who are unfamiliar with Counties, the 200 events are HDW (Heat Declared Winner) as at most galas, however the top 8 swimmers only from all age groups then swim in one final later in the day to ascertain who is crowned Open Champion of that stroke and who takes the title of Junior Champion (16 years and under). All the 100s and 50s have finals for the top 8 swimmers in each age group – which are amazingly exciting, and again the top placed 3 swimmers over all the age groups can be crowned Open/Junior Champion as well. All 8 swimmers in every final get a finalist medal, so well worth qualifying!
The main championships got off to a really strong start on day one for Team TSC with Jack Allman, George Pearson and Murray Wakefield all making it through to the 100 Fly final. Jack through his sheer determination managed to pick up a bronze in the final … Jack also made it through to the 50 free final – not bad for his first individual County Championship!!!
Also at her first individual Counties was Hattie Jolly, who made it comfortably through to the 50 fly final with a second off her PB. She eventually ended up 7th in the final, knocking yet another half second off her qualifying time – fantastic swimming Hattie!
The Afternoon session saw the girls take on the 200 IM, TSC’s Hattie, Honey and Lucy B all shaved seconds off their entry times with good strong swims. Not to be out-done the boys came out strong in the 200 Free – PBs were smashed by Sam Williams, Jack A, George Pearson – who also notched a brilliant 2nd place in the 13 year old boys, Jacob – who got an 8th place in his age group and Elliot R-B – who got a 2 second PB.
Jack did it again the next day making the 100 Back final, whilst Hattie Jolly, Lucy D and Lucy B enjoyed their 50 Back splash and dash all with PBs, and Hattie and Lucy B making it through to the finals later in the day. George Pearson showed the crowd who’s the 13 year old king of 200 Fly by taking 1st place with Jack finishing 4th, and Murray also taking 4th in the 15 year old age group.
To round off the day Lucy B managed to get gold in the 200 Back, so is now first in the County for 15 year olds at this distance, along with qualifying for a place in the Open Final, whilst Matt Evans and Sam White swam an impressive 200 Breaststroke against very strong competition, with Sam ending up 6th in his age group.
So to Finals on day 2 of the main champs and Team TSC are again very well represented for such a small club against the other 15 Clubs. Jack did himself proud in the 100 Back, got yet another small PB, and another finalist medal and so did Hattie in the 50 Back. Lucy B managed to get bronze in her 50 Back final in the 15 year category, along with getting 6th in the Open Age Group 200 Back Final, which meant that she ended up with 3rd in the Junior County Championship and a place on the podium – a first for the Club.
The final weekend of the Championship and Thame were still going strong! Emily Evans swum her favourite event the 100 fly and qualified for a place in the final. After being DQ’d in her 100 fly, Hattie J bounced back like a trooper to get to the 50 free final – showing real determination, and Jack A got to yet another final – this time the 50 fly.
In the afternoon Josh Boddy swam a very strong 200 IM getting an impressive 4 second PB, followed by the dynamic duo, George P and Jack A who were at it again, finishing 5th and 8th in the boys 13 years 200 IM. Is this success something to do with eating frozen peas – which apparently George likes to chomp on during a gala! Maybe we should all try it?!
Jo Hewett was back on top form again getting 2nd in the 50 Free and an 11 second PB in her 200 Free, winning her gold and another very well deserved place on the podium.
The finals are electrifying and this penultimate day was no exception – each swimmer gets to walk on with their age group finalists and be announced to the crowd – all our finalists swam amazingly, but the most exciting moment was Jack in the 50 fly, who was unfortunately pipped into 2nd place by a City of Oxford swimmer who won by a mere finger tip – an awesome swim Jack and a well deserved silver medal.
So to the last day of Counties Competition – the girls opened the proceedings with Jo Hewett in the 100 Back, and another convincing win for Jo, another podium finish and trophy – brilliant stuff! Lucy B also swam well in her heat of the 100 Back with a new PB and qualified in 1st place for her final. George and Jack both swum convincingly in the 100 Free heats coming in 3rd and 5th consecutively and making it comfortably to the finals, but the morning was owned by Murray Wakefield who went an impressive 59.28 in his 100 Free – the first time under a minute over that distance – congratulations Murray on an awesome swim! But not to be outdone Jack then did it again 😊 got yet another PB and qualified for the 50 Back Final – what a Championship this lad has had!
The afternoon was also full of success; Emily Evans picked up a bronze in her 200 Fly in a new PB of 2.41.74, five seconds ahead of the swimmer in 4th place – well done Emily. Sam Williams, who was also competing at his first Counties finished his weekend’s swimming on a high note with a 6 second PB on his 200 Back. We say goodbye and good luck to Sam who is now off to pastures new. Jack A and Elliot R-B also picked up finalist medals for their age group 200 Back events.
The final evening session saw our three finalists do themselves proud. George came 6th in his 100 free age group final having shaved over 4 seconds off his entry time, Lucy B was in a thrilling 100 back final, but like Jack the day before was beaten by a mere finger tip into second place in the 15 year age category, but she did also get a third in the Junior Championship, so a podium finish to end the Counties. Finally, to our Jack, who has won more bling than most, and tonight was no exception as he came in third in the 50 Back to win his final bronze of the meet.
Our commiserations go to Esme Young, who due to injury wasn’t able to attend Counties this year having qualified for 50 and 200 Back. We wish you a speedy recovery and look forward to seeing you next year!
It truly was a fantastic meet for Team Thame, loads of Club Records were broken, lots of Regional Times were achieved, but most of all Team TSC united to cheer each other on, give praise when it was due and hugs in moments of disappointment and basically just be there for each other. It was truly magical.
Huge thanks to Head Coach, Ian Blyth, who was there from dawn to dusk on every day of the County Championships, also big thanks to the rest of the coaching squad, Damian Wakefield and Mark Simms who coached and cheered all our swimmers on. Thank you also to all our officials, who pitched up in their whites to work poolside, and also to all the volunteers who gave up their time to help with all our ONB designated jobs from marshalling to entry desk, to drinks monitor and medal table – we couldn’t have done it without you.
And finally a word on those wonderful relay teams ….. well done to all our relay squads, who competed in the Medley and Freestyle relays throughout the County Championships. All the teams beat their entry times, some by huge margins, so new PBs were flying around (although unfortunately they don’t officially count in personal terms!). The relays are great fun, very noisy, water everywhere with lots of cheering from the crowd – a real sight to behold! Our best placing was the boys 13-14 Freestyle Relay team who came 5th in their age group and the Girls Open Freestyle Relay team who came 9th – well done to you all. Below is a list of relay squads who competed – congratulations to you all:
Boys – 10/12 Age Group: Sam Williams, Joe White, Hugo Pearson, Thomas Sackett
Girls – 10/12 Age Group: Ruthie Galloway, Katie Croft-Baker, Alessandra Charlton, Hattie Jolly, Jessica Tawsley, Crystal Bogaki,
Boys – 13/14 Age Group: Ben Mould, Jack Allman, Jacob North, George Pearson
Girls – 13/14 Age Group: Isabel Day, Isabella Johnston, Emily Evans, Honey Valdiserri, Olivia Bradley, Ellie Weeks-Pearson.
Boys – U16 Age Group: Jacob North, Sam White, Murray Wakefield, George Nelson, Jack Allman
Girls – U16 Age Group: Lucy Day, Abi Hard, Emily Evans, Lucy Block, Alex Smith
Boys Open – Matt Evans, Ben Rose, Elliot Riley-Brown, Arran Parmar
Girls Open – Lizi Humphreys, Lucy Block, Abi Hard, Lucy Day, Emily Evans
WOW what a brilliant Counties Team Thame had – we came 10th overall as a Club, which is amazing against such huge competition. I hope this inspires YOUR swimmer to train hard, compete hard and get those all important PBs to qualify for next year’s Championships!