Exeter Swimmers Excel at Summer Championships
To virtually all Performance level swimmers, The Summer Championships are thekey events that culminate after 11 months of hard-training and racing with the desire to achieve ever-more elusive qualification times.
The British Championships and the English Championships were the first of these competitions with the best swimmers in Britain and England aiming to show their excellence in the pool. Exeter had fifteen swimmers competing in 46 races, returning with five gold medals having achieved 22 final places across the Championships.
Alec White competed in the 100m backstroke, 100m butterfly and 50m butterfly at the British Championships improving his time in all events and reaching the final in the 100m butterfly. The following week he was competing at the English Championships where he improved on the previous weeks performances, gaining a gold medal in the 50m and 100m freestyle and also the 50m backstroke.
Dominic Wooldridge joined Alec in pursuit of medals in the butterfly events, gaining 7thplace in the final at the British Championships, just missing the final of the 200m butterfly coming 11thand then picking up the gold medal for the 50m butterfly at the English Championships. Tom Downs was also trying to get in the mix with the butterfly events and was 10thin the 200m butterfly final at British and just missed the English 50m butterfly final, finishing 11th.
Dayna Riordan was another Exeter swimmer to return from the English Championships with a medal, again gold, in the 200m breaststroke, taking four seconds off her previous best time. Dayna was 5thin the 100m breaststroke and competed in the 50m breaststroke at British. Dayna’s team mate, Flora Perkin, was chasing medals at the British Championships in the breaststroke events making finals in the 50m, 100m and 200m breaststroke finishing 10th, 5thand 6threspectively. Perkin also swam the 200m Individual Medley and finished with a fourth place in the 400m Individual Medley at English champs a week later.
Aliyah Mai Webb qualified for five events at the British Championships, 50m, 100m and 200m backstroke as well as the 200m and 400m Individual Medley and after a strong week of racing, not content with that gruelling schedule of events, she competed in the 400m freestyle and 200m butterfly at the English Championships where she made the finals.
The last British qualifier from Exeter in the individual events was Olivia Burrow. Olivia swam in the 200m backstroke and also raced in the 50m and 100m backstroke at the English Championships, successfully making finals in both events.
Exeter also sported a girls relay team for the British Champs with Katie Townsend and Rebecca Gibbin joining Webb and Riordan in the 4 x 100m medley, 4 x 100m freestyle and 4 x 200m freestyle events. They narrowly missed the final of the 4 x 200m freestyle, achieving 11thplace.
The English Championships saw some first time national qualifiers for Exeter in Josephine Klein, Brhyer Shears, Milly Rawles, Sam Arrowsmith and Jack Aldridge. Klein was 7thin the final of the 50m butterfly and 10thin the 400m individual medley. Josephine also qualified for the 100m butterfly and the 400m freestyle. Rawles was 8thin the final of the 200m backstroke, Arrowsmith 6thin the final of 200m butterfly with Shears and Aldridge just missing finals having qualified for the 100m butterfly and 50m breaststroke respectively.
Joe Day qualified for the 400m, 800m and 1500m freestyle events and was 15th, 6thand 8threspectively.
Head Coach Jo John was very pleased with all the swimmer’s performances over the fortnight of racing. ‘We qualified in a wide range of events, showing that we provide a well-balanced individualised programme and our conversion from best times in heats and then improving again in finals improved from previous years. We have several swimmers moving on to new pastures this year with University beckoning and unfortunately, with the limited facilities Exeter offers, other cities understandably are more appealing to study in. All at Exeter wish them the very best as they continue their sporting career alongside academic achievements and we ourselves look forward to the new challenges that the year ahead will bring for us and our current team of up and coming swimmers’.