RSC held their Club Championships over three evenings last weekend at the new QDJC, probably the last time in their current format, moving to a league based system next year, with great success. There was some incredibly close racing in some events, and resounding victories in others. Good natured individual rivalries are pushing some of the younger swimmers to fantastic performances, and as the teenagers grow older they are really starting to challenge the “Old Guard”, with victories in some of the longer events. These events ranged from the 7/8/9s doing 25m, to those of us who ought to know better doing 400m, with some swimmers competing in a dozen different events over the 3 days. Most events are split into 9/10s, 11/12s, 13/14s, and 15 and over, with the 7/8s just doing the 25ms.
The longer events are split into 13/under and 14/over creating some interesting heats of mixed ages and sizes. The new 8 lane pool meant a 12 or 11 year old, or on the odd occasion a 10 years old was in the last or fastest heat, as entries are ranked by time, with the fastest 8 into the last heat.
Generally once these swimmers had come to terms with swimming against the “big boys and girls”, it dragged them along to great times, even if they may have finished a little behind the winners. Families were not exempt from this is, as 10 year old Toby Rigg found himself in the final heat of the 50m breaststroke, against Ross Turner , 20 odd years older, 2 feet taller and several stone heavier, not to mention his dad Simon Rigg, racing in direct competition for the first time.
Ross won this event, along with 6 others, only usurped by the evergreen Karen Bates, who won 9, including the 400m free, 400 IM, 200 back, and 200 fly all in the space of Monday’s shorter session. Other multiple winners were, Tom Parker 7, including showing how the youth are taking on the older guys with victory in the 400m free. Megan Williams, 7, Rhys James 6, Anna Shepherd 5, Ellen Armeson 5 Harriet Troup 5, Matt Seaton 5, Dan Carey 5, Ella Mae Fereday, 4, Gleb Popov, Dave Hepworth, Viktoria Perzylo, Jack Carey, Eloise Harris, Cerys Jones, all won 3. Lewis Cresswell, Olivia Gyatt, Luke Harris, Cerys James, Toby Rigg, James Armeson, Lana Reese Wilson-Shrub, Luie Gilroy all won 2, and the following had a single victory, Ellen Harrington, Lucy House, Lucas Marshall, Regan Walker, Eva Rath Juanola, Anna Rath Juanola, Dam Wanless, Jake Louis, Kaitlyn Henden, and Abi Bolton. (I think)
Three or four races really stood out, the men’s 400 free, as Tom Parker stalked Dan Hartup to win by half a second, in 4;54.2 to 4;54.8, similarly in the 200m free, this time Gleb Popov pipped Dan by just over a tenth of a second. James Armeson and Charlie Aldridge were given the same time of 26.17 in the 8s 25m freestyle, and Karen just edging out Megan in the 100m fly, albeit in different age groups.
Generally keeping the whole thing moving and organised, are a host of officials, from the referees to the time keepers, most of which are regulars, to the other volunteers dragged on poolside to ensure things run smoothly. Not least the competitor’s stewards who have the unenviable task of rounding up the afore mentioned rabble and delivering them to the right place at the right time, and the ladies on the medal/ trophy table. Who ensured (mostly) that the right trophy and medal went to the right swimmer, and as this was knocking on 100 trophies and 300 medals, you can imagine this took some serious organising.
As part of the entertainment, the parents vs. coaches vs. teachers relays were interspersed into proceedings on the Sunday evening, partly to give the swimmers a break, and probably more importantly to show them how it should be done, or possibly how not to. A contentious technical take over infringement saw the parents team harshly Dq’d as the coaches came out on top, though drafting in the Club Captain into their team did smack of desperation.
Lastly the blue ribband events, the pinnacle of any sporting event, the ever popular and keenly contested, Mum’s and Dad’s dash. The Mum’s race was won by Terri Wilson-Shrubb, competing for the first time, and for the first time in living memory, there were enough dads for 2 heats, Simon Rigg retained the trophy for the 6th year running, (yes I do write this, but heh, nobody else volunteers).
All in all a great success, most events went to the favourites, some were surprises, some first time winners, and many PBs, and equally important one or two swimmers maybe won just a medal or two, of any colour, for the first time or maybe the first time in a while.