The Bridon Shield is the annual Doncaster Metropolitan Amateur Swimming Association's (DMASA) relay championships and is held at Adwick Leisure Centre. This year saw a big change in the format of the gala, with most age groups doubled up and the addition of a breaststroke of butterfly relay to the more traditional freestyle and medley relays. The gala was split into two sessions with the under 9, 11/12 years, 15/16 years and masters (over 25) swimming in the first session. The 10, 13/14 and 17/24 year old's had there chance to race in the second session. This new format was a real breath of fresh air and congratulations go out to the DMASA and the member clubs who supported it for being brave enough to implement these changes.
Armthorpe got off to a brilliant start in the first session, winning 14 out of 26 races, including clean sweeps in all their events for the dominant girls under 9 team as well as both men's and women's masters teams. The boys 11/12 years brought home 2 golds but halted there chances of a clean sweep in the butterfly relay through disqualification. In total there were 3 disqualifications in the first session for us, two of those were due to relay takeovers! This is something we have all worked really hard on and should not be doing - lets learn from this and get it right from here on.
Staying with the first session, the boys 9 years team managed to pick up a silver in the breaststroke and bronze in the freestyle relays which is a fantastic achievement as 3 of the team members have only recently moved from the clubs teaching scheme into the speed sessions - well done boys and all those who had a hand in getting them ready for the gala! A similar mention goes out to the 11 year old girls swimming in the 11/12 years age group. They swam their hearts out all session long and it's good to know that all 4 of this team will be in the same age band for next years gala. The final relay of the first session saw one boy and one girls from each age group come together and race the 'cannon'. We rounded off the session in style with a solid win.
The second session saw just one of our teams make a clean sweep, the boys 13/14 years. But if the first session was about blazing speed, dominating age groups and a hand full of DQ's then the second session was about consistency. Apart from the one disqualification that we had in this session Armthorpe did not finish outside the top three which was brilliant to see. Producing medal winning relays in every event shows how the clubs is starting the get the depth of swimmers back. We don't have to rely on one or two 'stand-out' swimmers in a given age group, we have 4 or 5 solid swimmers to rely - this trend will continue as the club is still growing at a steady pace!
The final scores saw Adwick crowned 2011 Champions, congratulations to their swimmers and coaches. Their placing statistics were very, very impressive - only getting disqualified twice and finishing in the top three in every other race so they were deserved winners. Armthorpe were 53 points behind in second place. So the 4 disqualifications were not the reason we finished second, we were just not able to place in the top 2 or 3 as often as Adwick, but as I pointed out above, we are still growing so our depth of swimmers will improve with that.
The great thing we should all take from this gala is that we swam fast!!! REALLY FAST!!! A lot of the things we have worked hard on in training came to the forefront in the gala and that is brilliant to see. Well done to all the swimmers and a big thank you to Maureen, Mandi, Alison, Pete and Lee for their help on poolside during the somewhat chaotic gala.