Some of our swimmers have been in action over the last two weeks at the British Gas National Swimming Championship under the Dartes banner.
They were billed as the greatest Dartes National team ever and expectations were high. They did not disappoint over two full weeks of competition with plenty of thrills, highs, lows and yet more highs.
For those of you haven’t yet been to swim or watch at the Nationals it’s very different from any gala you’ve been to. There are banners, flags, screens, cameras and boarding all around the pool. Security guards on all the doors, officials who match perfectly appearing at the beginning of each session in a synchronised fashion to ‘Land of hope and Glory’ and rapturous applause. A professional announcer commentates on each event and the most embarrassing photos parents can find adorn the scoreboard. It’s quite a show!
The most exhilarating events are the teams and the finals. We had Armthorpe swimmers in three sets of teams and all swam exceptionally well. First up were Caitlin Dixon and Heidi Smith who swam in 3 team events and delivered pb swims in each. Their team amazed in their 4 x 100 Medley by moving from 40th spot (slotted in as 1st reserves) to 18th. Not bad when all of the team have just turned 15 in the 15-16 year age group, one of them on the last day of competition!
It’s a highlight as a parent to see swimmers deliver personal best swims for their teams regardless of how tired they may be after their individual swims which most of our swimmers did. Jamie Clarke and Torin Wilson were also in action in the teams producing PB swims. Our younger lads also made the final in 4 x 100m after a personal best in the heat. Alex Pollard and Jarvis Parkinson weren’t able to hold off the big boys though despite their efforts and finished 8th but fabulous swims all round.
Also in action in the individual swims was Jamie Clarke finishing 73rd in 100 Backstroke with a time of 1.02.16. Caitlin Dixon swam numerous pb’s, made two Semi-Finals (200m IM, 200m Freestyle) and a 13th place finish in 400m IM (no Semi-Finals for the big medley) marking a successful, if rather exhausting week. Nothing like 3,100m of racing (plus warm up, swim down, etc.) during a week to leave you wrecked. Her week competing as a 15 year old against 16 year olds included all 3 endurance events: 200 Fly, 400 IM and 800 Free.
Alex Pollard (Arm) managed to keep us on the edge of our seats for the week. He started strongly in 100 Back with a massive PB qualifying 3rd for the final. After a slip at the start he finished 6th in the final with a 2nd PB of the day but also managed to pick up a muscle strain trying to make up for the earlier slip resulting in him missing 200 Fly on day 2 of competition. Was that the end of his 2012 National campaign? Absolutely not, after an emergency visit to a sports physio to make sure the injury wasn’t serious and a supercharged sports massage he was back in action on Day 3 in 200 back qualifying 2nd fastest for the final. After a dramatic final where Alex was in 5th place at his last turn, Alex accelerated out of his last turn to finish 3rd by 100th of a second! Eagle eyed parents had already spotted that the British record holder in this event (Freddy Cornwell) had illegally turned at the 150m mark so despite winning the event by a considerable distance it was a nail biting wait for a confirmed result. Alex was promoted from bronze to silver. Unfortunate for Freddy after such a commanding swim and learning for all of us that top swimmers can still make simple mistakes. That’s where Alex’s luck ran out I’m afraid as he had the same fate on the final day of competition in his 400 Medley after a strong PB an eagle eyed official did not like his Fly turn. Never mind Alex, 1st Nationals, 1st final, 1st medal. Good job Alex!
I’ve saved the best till last. What can I say about Jarvis Parkinson? The word that springs to mind is AWESOME!!! From the start of the week to the end he was epic in all of his swims and his results speak for themselves:
5 medals – 2 golds, 2 silvers and 1 bronze
Jarvis was Mr Dependable all week swimming PB after PB and exceeding all expectations. He made us all very proud and so we now have an Age Group National Champion at the club once more!