Rugby Swimming Club
The Coventry and District Swimming Championships sound like a small local event, but with five of the eight teams being in the elite Premier Division of the Arena league, the standard is phenomenal.
Coupled with City of Coventry finishing second in the entire country last season, you can begin to see the task in hand for Rugby Swimming Club, especially competing in Coventry’s own 50m pool.
Rugby’s average finish last year was somewhere between 5th and 6th, this year it was a solid 4th.
The senior men’s team of Ross Turner, Simon Rigg, Gleb Popov, Rhys James, Devesh Chohan, Tom Parker, George Jarman and Adam Henderson, picked up two bronze medals in the A races and one in the B.
The boys 12-14 team of Jack Carey, Luke Anspokes, Matthew Seaton and Dan Carey also claimed a bronze in the freestyle relay, pushing the big clubs all the way.
This highlighted where Rugby are still at a disadvantage to the larger clubs, with 12 year old Dan swimming with big brother Jack 14, in this one, whereas the others have four 14s.
The other medallist were the extremely enthusiastic 9 and under girls B team, who against all expectations, claimed a fantastic second. The four were Isabelle Hobbs, Ava Rogerson, Yanna Vallasis and Grace Darcy.
There were several teams claiming fourth, always the worst place to finish, these being the boys 10/11 free team of Luie Gilroy, Lewis Cresswell, Max Green and James Phillips, with James Armeson switching into the medley team for another 4th.
The Boys 12/14 B team also in the free, Adam Wanless, Aaron Kirkaldy, Ben Jones and Toby Rigg, 2, 13 year olds and two 12s, only missing out on a medal by less than half a second.
The girls, 12-14 B medley team, of Jasmine Rigg, Eva Rath Juanola, Cerys Allen and Mairead Williams, again, 14, 13, 13, and 12, missing out by a yard or so and the senior men’s team just missing out on a double-double of medals.
They were all surpassed by the girl’s 10/11 team, this was the classic case of “no buses for ages, and then two come along at once”. The more senior members of the team, can recall a handful of victories dotted over the years, but to win the double is extremely rare, possibly only twice before in fact. The team was led by Junior Captain Jessica Mackenzie, who swam a superb last leg in the medley to overhaul the Coventry swimmer from several metres back. In the freestyle, Jess, Anna Farrow, Charlotte O’Brien, and Harriet Troup, led from start to finish, to win by nearly 2 seconds. All clocking huge personal bests. With Erin Moran coming in for the breaststroke leg in the Medley, Charlotte, Anna, and Jess this time were behind until the last few strokes, but sneaked it on the touch.
Much credit must go to Junior Head Coach Tony Hall who has had a massive impact on the younger end of the club, and to the rest of the coaching staff, who are all pitching in since the Club’s head coach had to step down due to family commitments. This has actually served to galvanise the club, who are going from strength to strength.
As Club Chairman I can say I was incredibly proud to see swimmers young and less so, taking on much larger clubs, and indeed larger opposition and performing so well. Especially to the 8 and 9 year olds who swam in a 50m pool for the first time, and to those who took on the butterfly leg, Josh Wanless, Libby O’Brien and Yanna, with trepidation, who frankly did something I would struggle to complete. Next year we will aim for more wins, and maybe ten or more medal finishes.