National Inter-counties Championships
Three Rugby swimmers were selected to try to help Warwickshire retain their National Inter-counties Championships, the Midland region being held at the QDJC here in Rugby. Warwickshire have won this title for eight out of the last 10 years, and look like doing so again, with the help of Elaine Bromwich, Ross Turner and Simon Rigg.
Elaine was selected, as she has been on numerous occasions and was probably the most decorated swimmer on show, Ross was making his fifth appearance and Simon his third. This competition is split into the 25+, 35+, 45+, 55+, 65+ age groups, for individual and relays swims, in a gruelling 68-event schedule. The logistics of getting four nine-year-old girls from the same club into a medley relay team is nothing compared to having a team of 260+ combined age, mixed relay, with swimmers from four different clubs, to ensure the best time. This requires a huge amount of research and team spirit, as swimmers may be added age as well as their speed, to ensure a relay team meet all the criteria, as well as a fast combined time. This does mean a few odd combinations, swimmers not necessarily swimming their best stroke, for the good of the team, a bit like a high handicap golfer in a team event.
Warwickshire easily won the Midlands regional title, by over 100 points in 500, winning more than half the events across the evening. Lack of availability in the younger age groups in the men’s team meant both Simon and Ross had to swim down and age group, (swimming down, means swimming against much younger swimmers, which is the same as children swimming up an age-group) on more than one occasion, with Ross swimming the breaststroke leg in 4 medley relays for good measure.
Simon helped the men’s 72+ relay team to victory, despite the team actually having a combined age of 151.
Elaine, as ever romped home in her 65+ breaststroke, ignoring the fact that she has a year or two extra experience on her competition, shall we say, swimming for the first time at the QDJC.
Simon was second in the 35+ age group, but would have won his own 45+age group by 2 seconds, Ross won the 18+ age group, so all in all a decent result in their specialist events. Ross also swam backstroke in the same age group finishing second, not bad as he was giving away 15 years and not his best event.
We all have to wait for the full National results, as the times for each race are ranked over all regions to then be awarded points. Warwickshire were only 13 seconds slower over all 68 races combined, so are hopeful it will be enough.