A bright, dry day saw the Kent Swimming Team meet firstly at Ashford and then Orpington on 18 October. The team was joined by the county’s two officials Jenny Londesbrough and Colin Booth, a requirement for taking a team to Sheffield. Julian Metcalf, County Coach and Matt Perkins, Assistant County Coach also travelled up with the team as well as Jean Scott, Swimming Manager.
It was a good journey with one stop up to the hotel, IBIS in Chesterfield, for an overnight stay before competition began in earnest the next day. Eventually, once I had sorted out the mess I had made of distributing room keys everyone had a bed to sleep in. A team talk was followed by an evening meal and all swimmers were in their ‘own ‘ room by 9.30 pm. The only exception was Jakob who had been swimming at the Lincoln Vulcans event that day and arrived some while after we had eaten. I did not think he would make his bed before midnight as the hotel staff had reserved very generous portions of the evening meal.
The next morning after breakfast it was back on the coach for the short journey into Sheffield. We are fortunate to have a regular driver, Graham, who knows the routine and dropped us off just outside the pool. Shock, horror there would be no scoreboard in operation!!!! Passes were distributed to all swimmers and team personnel. Our two officials went off to check in. We then went to our allocated seating area. The swimmers made themselves ready for their warm up. Once warm up was over then came the ritual of face paints and skin transfers. Had Matt bought the correct face paints, those that do not wash off as you immediately dive in – we can only wait and see?
Callum Ryan and Katie Latham were selected as Team Captains which gave them the dubious honour of carrying the county banner. Once the opening ceremony was over then the competition began. Katie had to quickly get back to the marshalling area as she would be in the 2nd race. Katie got Kent off to a good start with a 2nd place in the girls 16/17 years 100m freestyle. Yes the correct face paints were bought unlike another team when the water surrounding the swimmer went completely blue when he dived in – phew what a relief it was not us!!
I am sure this is one of the first teams that I have taken away that we did not achieve one 1st place but the professional (in this amateur sport) manner in which these swimmers conduct themselves is a credit to the county and their clubs – established county swimmers and ‘new’ recruits – thank you.. However, no 1st places ,this did not stop us from remaining in the 1st division with an excellent 11th place finish overall. Our progress, I expect with many other teams, was hampered by the blank scoreboard and in some respects was a bit of a damp squid but Matt and Julian was able to keep me grounded by getting results on their phones.
The Kent swimmers achieved some mind blowing times as a PB and/or within their submitted times. It was noticeable that young Michael Jacobs having already achieved earlier in the year 1:00.00 for 100m backstroke was not going to waste time doing 59 seconds but completed his swim in the boys 14/15 years 100m backstroke in 58.87 secs finishing in 3rd place.
Overall we had 10 swims in the first 6 places – Katie Latham 2nd 16/17 100m freestyle 55.51 and 2nd 16/17 100m backstroke 1.01.06; Alexander Ireland 2nd boys 12/13 100m breaststroke 1.08.94; Lily Snell 3rd 12/13 100m freestyle 58.99; boys 14/15 4x50 medley relay 5th 1.50.58; Jakob Goodman boys 12/13 100m backstroke 1.02.33; Henry Rennolls 14/15 100m freestyle 53.43; Savanna Jemmett girls 14/15 years 100m backstroke 1.03.85; Michael Jacobs 14/15 100m backstroke 58.87; boys 12/13 4x50 medley relay 2nd 1.57.74 and last but not least mixed 6x50 freestyle relay 3rd 2.33.89.
Competition over we made our way back to the coach and headed home – all heads present and correct. I have to repeat what was written last year and I hope to repeat for many years to come - the swimmers did a great job for the county. On behalf of the Kent Executive, Swimming Committee and the team management I take this opportunity to thank you all for the tremendous effort you put in at the weekend. We must not forget to thank all the coaches who have trained and coached you and to your parents, the unpaid taxi service that ensures you get to your training sessions.
|Maisie Macartney||Alexander Ireland|
|Lily Snell||Joshua Cowham|
|Daisy Anderson||Felix Haslam|
|Robyn Moon||Jakob Goodman|
|Annabel Guye-Johnson||Henry Rennolls|
|Isabella Woods||Simon Newton|
|Savanna Jemmett||Matthew Rogers|
|Sophie Lewis-Ward||Michael Jacobs|
|Katie Latham||Connor Lowry|
|Jessica Frankland||Ben Evans|
|Alice Latham||Theo Haslam|
|Natasha Sinha||Callum Ryan|
|County Officials||County Coaches||Swimming Team Manager|
|Jenny Londesbrough||Julian Metcalf||Jean Scott|
|Colin Booth||Matt Perkins|
You can see pictures here!