The Gloucestershire County Championships continued over the weekend of 2-3 March with 60 GCSC swimmers taking part. A fantastic weekend for GCSC swimmers with an impressive medal haul of 41 Gold, 23 Silver and 18 Bronze medals in just two days of competition to sit comfortably at the top of the County medal table. We now have a grand total of 87 Gold, 62 Silver and 49 Bronze medals! Our swimmers also secured another 2 County Competition Best records, 10 new Age Group Best Times (AGBT), 7 County Championships, 7 Senior County Championships, 5 Junior Championships, 5 top 3 place Stroke Awards and 4 Age Group short course (SC) National Qualification Times (NQTs). What a weekend full of fantastic fast swimming!! However it’s not just about the medals or the records, it’s just as important to appreciate the PB rate of our swimmers. At well over 90% across the board, from our inexperienced Swim Skills swimmers up to our older swimmers in Train to Compete squads, every swimmer taking part should be proud of their achievements at County level.

Alice Price (16) was back on fine form winning a total of 7 gold medals! On Saturday Alice clinched gold in her age group for the 100m free and the 100m breast. Alice stepped up the pace again in the 100m breast final to clinch gold in a time of 1:13.81 to become Overall and Senior County Champion. On Sunday she won gold in the 200m breast and 200IM heats setting a new AGBT in the 200IM of 2:25.28 previously held by Jenny Hobday of Bristol North in 2000. In the final of the 200IM Alice bettered her time and stormed to gold in a time of 2:22.15 to become the Overall and Senior County Champion. Alice saved the best until last with a superb performance in the 200m breaststroke final. She pulled out all the stops to swim a lifetime best of 2:37.53 and set a new Competition Best time previously held by Lynsey Rogers of Bristol North in 1993. Alice was crowned the Overall and Senior County Champion for the 200m breast. Congratulations Alice on becoming the fastest female 200m breaststroke swimmer to ever compete at the Gloucester County Championships!

Sophie Hall (14) enjoyed a fantastic weekend of competing in her favoured freestyle events. In the heat of the 100m free she didn’t hang around and came away with the gold, a SC NQT, a PB and also set a new County AGBT! In the championship final Sophie went even quicker in a time of 58:35 to take gold, the Overall and Junior County Championship titles. In the 400m free heat she swam another PB of 4:21.98 to take the gold and also smashed the AGBT record previously held by Emily Pollard of Thornbury in 2005. From lane 4 Sophie stepped up her game again in the 400m free final to take Gold in a blistering time of 4:18.35 which is 9 seconds inside the 14 year old SC NQT!! The icing on the top was to claim a new Competition Best Time previously set by Philippa Davies of Hereford in 2004. Congratulations Sophie, a fabulous achievement at just 14 years old!

Craig Munden (15) swam a total of 11 events (heats and finals) during the weekend winning 5 gold, 3 silver and 3 bronze medals. In the 400m free he won gold setting a new AGBT of 4:11.16 previously held by Grant Sage of Thornbury in 2007. In the championship final he dug deep and swam another PB of 4:07.59 to win silver and take the Junior Championship title. In the 200IM and the 200m back he won gold in his age group and then went onto to win silver in the final of the 200IM and bronze in the 200m back to take the Junior Championship in both events. Craig surprised himself by winning gold in the 200m breast heat and went onto win bronze in the final in a time of 2:33.26 representing an 8 second PB. Craig’s best performance of the weekend came in the 100m free. He won gold in the heat in a very quick time of 53.44 and clocked a new AGBT in the process previously held by Grant Sage of Thornbury in 2007. In the final he blasted from the blocks to win bronze in a very quick time of 52.97 to claim the Junior County Championship. Craig also won a 1st place stroke award for the Individual Medleys in the 15 year old age group (combined points for 100IM, 200IM and 400IM) and 2nd place stroke award for Breaststroke (50m, 100m and 200m breast).

Sophie Brown (17) continued her winning form in the 200m backstroke taking gold in her age group and then gold again in the final in a time of 2:18.94. Sophie was crowned Overall and Senior County Champion for this event. In the 100m free Sophie won gold in the heats in a time of 58.80 and then swam the exact same time in the championship final to win silver and the Senior County Championship.

It was great to see Dan Woodward (20) home from Cardiff for the weekend to take part in the County Championships. In the 400m free heats he swam at a steady pace which was good enough to take the gold. In the final he stepped it up a few gears and led the race from the outset to secure gold in a time of 4:01.36. Dan took the Overall and Senior Championship in this event. In the 100m free he won gold in the heats and then a SC PB of 52.50 to take silver in the final. Dan also won bronze in the 200IM.

We also welcomed Aimee Carter (18) home from Swansea to compete for GCSC. Aimee added to her County medal haul by winning gold in 3 events, the 100m free, the 200m breaststroke and the 200IM. Aimee went on to win bronze in the 200IM final in a time of 2:24.69 and was also presented with a 1st place Stroke Award for the IM events (combination of points for 100IM, 200IM and 400IM).

Chris Malone (12) has enjoyed a fantastic Counties and he didn’t disappoint during the weekend winning a total of 6 golds in the 400m free, 100m breast, 100m fly, 200m fly, 100m back and 100IM and a silver in the 50m back! In the 100IM Chris claimed a new AGBT record in a time of 1:10.81 previously set by Ben Martin of Soundwell in 2001. One of Chris’s favourite events is the 400m free and he swam a cracking time of 4:31.01 and an 8.97 sec PB to claim another AGBT previously set by team mate Matthew Munden in 2012.

Matthew Munden (13) won 4 golds over the weekend in the 100m free, 400m free, 200m back and the 200IM. In the 400m free and the 200IM he was agonisingly close to the 13 year old SC NQT just one second outside for both events. However Matthew did go on to achieve a SC NQT in the 200m backstroke in an excellent time of 2:16.23 and also set a new AGBT previously set by older brother Craig in 2012.

Bethan Tomlinson (17) added to her medal haul with a total of 2 golds in the 400m free and 200IM, and 3 silvers in the 100m free, 200m breast and 200m backstroke heats. Bethan also qualified for the Championship finals in the 100m free , 400m free and the 200IM. She won bronze in the 100m and 400m free where she was also crowned the Senior County Champion. Bethan was also presented with a 1st place Stroke Award for the IM events.

Eddie Maddocks (11) won gold in the 400m free and 3 silvers in the 200m fly, 50m back and the 100IM during the weekend. Of note was his performance in the 400m free where he knocked some 14 seconds off his PB and claimed a new AGBT previously set by our very own Chris Malone in 2012.

Ruby Forbes (11) won 2 golds in her age group in the 100m breast and the 100IM both in PB times. She also excelled in the 400m free with a fabulous 22 second PB in a time of 5:30.46 to finish in 7th place.

Abbie Giles (12) has certainly made her mark at the Counties this year particularly in the longer distance events where she is gaining confidence each time she races. In the 400m free Abbie swam a superb race to take the gold in a time 5:04.51 which represented an 18 second PB!

Will Carter (14) is taking great chunks off all his times at these Championships. He won 3 silvers in the 400m free, the 200m back and the 200IM and 2 bronze medals in the 100m free and 200m breast. His biggest PB of the weekend was 15.56 seconds off his 400m free time since Oct 12!

Alex Seymour (13) was happy to swim life time bests in all his events over the weekend. He won 3 silvers in the 400m free, 200m back and 200IM. He was also delighted to secure a SC NQT in the 200m back in a cracking time of 2:16.92 which was also a 9 second PB!

Emma Hatton (12) stepped up her game in some of the longer distance events over the weekend. In the 400m free she swam a 8 second PB to take silver, in the 200m back a 13 second PB to take another silver and in the 100m free she was on her PB to take the bronze.

Sam Gaskins (17) continues to lower his PB’s every time he competes which at 17 takes some doing! It is a testament to his hard work and his excellent attendance rate at training. During the weekend he swam life time bests in all 8 of his events. Of note was his performance in the 400m free heats in a time of 4:18.69 with a 10 second PB to take the silver medal. He was also happy to qualify for the Championship final in this event to finish in 5th place. Sam also won bronze in the 200m breast with another 4 second PB.

Jordan Lee (15) had a busy weekend competing in a total of 7 events. In his favourite event of 200m back he swam a life time best of 2:15.05 to take the silver and qualify for the Championship final as the youngest swimmer in the race. Jordan also qualified for the 400m free final where he swam a cracking 7 second PB in a time of 4:22.45 to finish in 5th place.

Adam Hall (11) put in a fine performance in the 400m free to take the silver in a fabulous time of 5:07.82 representing an 8 second PB.

Other medal winners during the weekend were Bethan Blakelock (13) and Alex Chantler-Mayne (15) with a bronze each in the 400m free, Georgia Fuller (17) bronze in the 100m free, Izzy Hewson-Barsellotti (12) bronze in the 200m back, Kieran Naylor (16) and Ashling Keeble (14) a bronze each in the 200m breast and Kaspar Wickens-Shaw (11) bronze in the 200m fly. Kieran Naylor also won a 3rd place Stroke Award in the breaststroke events.

Once again congratulations to each and every GCSC swimmer who competed and apologies I can’t mention everyone personally by name in this report. The GCSC coaches do spend a significant amount of time digesting and analysing every result for every swimmer at these championships.

The final weekend of the County Championships will take place on 23-24 March. On Saturday it will be the last of the individual events. On Sunday its Relay Day!! Everyone is welcome and if your swimmer has been selected to swim as part of a relay team please make every effort for them to compete for their team and club. The colour for GCSC swimmers (and supporters) on relay day will be Orange (anything goes!) and the most important thing is that everyone has FUN!!!! There will also be a social pot luck buffet in the Function room at GL1 afterwards for GCSC swimmers and supporters to celebrate our achievements at the Gloucester County Championships 2013.