Less than a week before Christmas, 5 intrepid GCSC swimmers pulled some fantastic times at the Welsh National Pool in Swansea.

The event started on Friday 19th December, with Morgan Davies achieving a PB in the 50m Backstroke, landing him a prime spot in the finals. This was followed by Beth Blakelock in the 100m Butterfly. Unfortunately Beth was unwell and had to withdraw from her remaining races. As an inclusive event, the Friday finished off with the 400m Freestyle, starting with Gareth Picken (S7) getting a PB, followed by Olivia Pickering (S9). Levana Hanson (S8) was due to swim but had also had to withdraw from the competition due to illness. The day finished as well as it had started, with Morgan improving again and securing a silver medal in the 50m Backstroke final.

On Saturday, Morgan led the team off with a PB in the 50m Breaststroke. The 100m Backstroke followed as a full event, started by Gareth achieving a PB and getting a place in the final, followed by Sallie Phillips (S8) also getting a PB as reserve finalist and concluding with Morgan achieving a PB and a final place. The morning closed with Morgan achieving a PB in the 200m Individual Medley. The evening session saw good attempts by Gareth and Morgan, both beating their original entry times, but no more PB. The team got together for a very enjoyable meal at TGI Friday on the Saturday night – plenty early enough for a good rest.

Morgan started Sunday’s session with a PB in the 50m Butterfly. Another full event followed starting with Gareth in the 100m Freestyle, then Sallie achieved a PB and a place in the final, finishing off with Morgan achieving a PB. With little time to rest, Morgan pulled out another PB in the 200m Backstroke, then wrapped up the morning with yet another PB in the 100m Individual Medley and a place in the final. After a quick trip back to the hotels to freshen up and relax, the team returned for the evening session, starting with Sallie improving on her heats time with a 2 sec PB in the 100m Freestyle final. Not to be outdone, Morgan nudged his 10th PB in the 100m IM final.

Fourth and final day on the Monday saw Gareth straight out of the gate with a finals place in the 50m Freestyle. Sallie followed straight away with a PB and a place in the finals. After a short respite, Gareth achieved second place with his PB in the HDW 100m Breaststroke, followed by Sallie achieving a PB and a place in the final. With renewed enthusiasm, the two swimmers returned for the evening session where Gareth achieved his 4th PB in the 50m Freestyle final and Sallie matched her heat time. The last event of the competition for GCSC saw Sallie improving on her heat time, gaining her 6th PB in the 100m Breaststroke final in 4th place.

It was a fantastic meet, made all the better by being fully inclusive, allowing a great representation from GCSC. 20 Personal Bests, 9 finals and 2 silver medals.

Massive thanks to Rich Davies for all his support and motivation throughout the weekend.

This was Gareth’s last swim, as he is focusing on his athletics career. A great way to go out and we wish him all the best for the future.

Gavin Phillips