The hard training sessions had been completed, the entry times met, starts, turns and finishes practiced, it was time for the swimmers of Great Yarmouth Swimming Club to put it all into action at the County Championships, held at the UEA over 2 consecutive weekends in January.
For many swimmers, these championships are the peak of their competitive year, and Head Coach Liam Harvey (along with his coaching team) had been working the swimmers hard in the lead up to the event to ensure their form peaked at just the right time.
The preparation paid off as the club had an extremely successful championship, with 12 swimmers, out of the 22 competing for the club, achieving medal placings: an impressive result. In addition to that, 5 swimmers (Grace Leech, Tommy Chandler, Kelsey Wilson, Finley Coman and Anna Duffield) gained regional qualification times, which means they are now entitled to compete at regional championships in Luton and the UEA, against swimmers from Norfolk, Suffolk, Beds, Herts and Essex: a real accomplishment.
The Club can also feel extra proud of the four swimmers, who came away as County Champions in their age groups. Sam Coman won the age 10/11 200m butterfly and the 400m freestyle, with gutsy swims in both races. He also earnt 2 silvers, 3 bronze medals and swam in 2 more finals, a real talent to watch for in the future. Grace Leech was emphatic in her strength over the sprint distances, winning the age 15 50m backstroke, 50m freestyle, 50m butterfly (in a time a that also meant she took the 16 and under 50m butterfly title breaking the 30 second barrier for the first time). She also took 3 bronze medals and a 6th place. Tommy Chandler has gone from strength to strength since returning to Great Yarmouth, and was champion in the 400m freestyle, the 100m IM and the 50m backstroke. In a closely fought age group, he also took 6 silvers and 4 bronzes, competing in a massive 13 races during the championships. Finley Coman continued his excellent streak of form by sweeping the board in his age 12 group, by winning all distances at freestyle: the 50m, 100m, 200m and 400m. He took silver in another 6 races and bronze in 2 more, showing his strength and talent over a variety of stokes and distance. This is shown in his achievement of gaining regional times in 11 events, an outstanding performance.
Other swimmers who had notable performances included: Harvey Larner, who showed amazing speed and talent whilst gaining silver in 50m butterfly and bronze in 100m freestyle and 50m freestyle, in the age 10/11s, in excellent new pb times. Kelsey Wilson’s 400m freestyle not only gained her a bronze, but also her first regional qualification time, which was well deserved. Her bronze, in the 200m freestyle, was also a determined swim, smashing her previous best time, and leaving her just short of a second regional qualification. Anna Duffield had to wait until the penultimate race of the whole day to achieve her regional time in the 50m butterfly, having just missed out in the heats, which tested her nerves (and her club mates and Head Coach’s nerves too). She swam well to gain her first top 3 placings at a County Championships taking 3 bronze medals, and 4 other finals placings. Jacob Zandbergen came back strongly after recent injury and illness to earn 2 bronze medals and 2 4th places, and Anna Pearce continued to show her stamina with particularly strong performances in the 400m IM and the 400m freestyle. Other medal winners were: Raul Hasmasan (100m backstroke), Ben Bedford (200m butterfly) and Summer Adair (100m freestyle).
Head Coach Liam Harvey was extremely proud of the swimmers who took part, how they represented the club, and how often Great Yarmouth was represented in the finals. He was positive about the performance of the swimmers, and the potential for the future. Well done to all the swimmers who worked so hard to achieve the qualification times that enabled them to compete at the Championships. If you are interested in joining Great Yarmouth Swimming club find out more information at www.gysc.org,uk or email head coach Liam Harvey at email@example.com
Photos show: Tommy, Finley, Sam and Grace - our County Champions; and Anna, Finley, Tommy, Kelsey and Grace who achieved regional qualification times.
Assuming the Phoenix is open on Friday, we would like to take a photo of all county swimmers for the Mercury report.
Please bring club top, shorts and medals for the 19:30 session.
Saturday 14th January saw Great Yarmouth Swimming Club host its 83rd annual presentation evening, dinner and dance. The evening was held at the Imperial Hotel in Great Yarmouth, and swimmers, coaching staff, parents and guests enjoyed a 3-course meal before the speeches and prize giving began.
Club chairman Nigel Utting opened the proceedings with a thoughtful and uplifting speech that reminded club members of the long history of the club throughout the last century, and the many links and historical connections to the families of the area. The club was delighted to welcome the Deputy Mayor of Great Yarmouth, Councillor Shirley Weymouth, who spoke of how happy she was to see so many children involved with the club and enjoying their evening. She also took the time to speak to many of the club members between courses of the meal, which was greatly appreciated.
Head coach Liam Harvey then thanked the swimmers for their effort, parents for their support but also the committee, who volunteer their time, and work so hard to ensure the club is able to run, with specific thanks going to Chair Nigel Utting, Secretary Jo Smith and Treasurers Adrian Pearce and Jo Gordon. He said he was proud of the way the club had put on its first open gala – the Winter Wipeout – and looked forward to the year ahead and the future achievements of the swimmers. After raising a toast to Great Yarmouth Swimming Club, he welcomed the President of the ASA, Jean Thompson, and also Chris Maloney who was to speak on her behalf. The guests also included Reverend Grant Bolton-Debbage, and all were warmly welcomed by the club.
The trophies that had been competed for at the club championships in November were then award to the swimmers, with a great team atmosphere and celebratory feeling being displayed by the whole squad, as each swimmer was presented. Whilst many swimmers came away with silverware a few of the most notable awards were: Finley Coman and Jenna Utting sharing the Hughes T.V. and Audio trophy, which is presented to the overall age group winner. This year, Jenna and Finley won every race in their age groups, and also both broke a club record, so the award was shared. Emma Gordon was presented with the Althorpe Starling Cup for outstanding service to the club, having competed for the club since the age of 8, currently being ladies captain and also regularly coaching younger squads and helping in the club. The Stadium Power trophies are awarded by the coaching team to the male and female swimmer who has shown the most consistently positive attitude and unquestioning effort throughout training during the year. This year they were awarded to Abbey Secker and Oliver Grimmer.
The celebrating then continued late into the evening, with a disco at which the DJ was head coach Liam Harvey, where the swimmers were able to put their stamina and endurance to good use on the dance floor! Huge thanks must go to the social and fundraising committee and the trophy officers for organizing such a successful and enjoyable evening.