Team Bath Open Meet
With half the team competing in London at ESSA Relays, over 60 pupils flew the Millfield flag at the Team Bath Aquae Sulis Open Meet over the weekend of 17th-18th November.
Good luck to swimmers at ESSA cheer video
Starting with the distance events on the Friday night, the Open Meet got off to a cracking start with massive personal bests from all the swimmers involved. Swimmers took ownership on their pre-pool and executed race plans to perfection. This was the theme of the weekend. Anthony D. started the racing off with an 11 second personal best (10:04.86), closely followed behind by Heidi D who smashed her personal best by (time). Further swims saw Solomon W. and Katie W. break their personal bests in the 1500m by (time) and (time) respectively. An awesome start to what was a positive weekend all around.
Day 2 on Saturday was an early start, however Coach Lawlor got everyone nice and awake with a very proactive dynamic pre-pool workout assisted by Alex. S. The group of swimmers came together and were ready to hit the day running. Warm-ups done and race costumes on, it was time to race. We started with the 200m Backstroke with all the boys swimming between 4 and 12 second personal bests, with Alex S just missing his Winter National qualifying time by half a second and Jonah P-J making the biggest drop to swim a 2:10.70. Next up was the turn of the girls in the 100m Butterfly producing multiple personal bests with exceptional skills on turns and on the underwater phase from both Ffion R (1:09.94) and Erin Vogler (1:09.43). Then it was the turn of the speed demons and all the Year 9 boys having a lot of fun both racing against each other and supporting one another. Three of the Year 9 boys were so competitive they ended up being split by just 4 one-hundredths of a second, it was awesome to watch how spirited they all were. It was soon again the turn of the boys, who showed that by building on a solid foundation of technique and aerobic work on Individual Medley would reap the benefits with impressive personal bests by all, most notably from Jacob W (2:22.50) and Jaime M (2:27.04).
After a short break the open meet got back underway with the girls 200m Freestyle and right away Heidi. D smashed her personal best by 7 seconds in a time of 2:18.47. Another Freestyle event came up next with the boys 400m and it was amazing to watch. Personal bests in this event ranged from 1 second to 25 seconds and Storm M. showing that hard work in training really pays off by swimming a 4:42.79. The girls got back on it with the 100 backstroke and Rahaf E showing her improvements with her underwater kick along with Polly P. who continues to get closer to the 1:00.00 mark with a 1:02.16. Finishing the session was the boys 50m backstroke and the girls 50 fly. All the boys were all on form by PB’ing, and the girls swam strong including big drops from Chichi O. (32.44).
After a stop for lunch we had the final session of the day starting with the boys 100m Freestyle. A storm was brewing as Mr. Munday got the biggest %Pb of the weekend with his 7 second drop of 1:02.12. Strong performances from Tom D and Alex B both with 4 second drops. Followed was the girls 400m IM and probably the swim of the day from Polly Painter going under the 5minute mark for the first time with a 4:51.88. The boys then continued with the 200m Fly with Sean-Patrick McG. Getting his Winter National qualifying time by swimming a 2:09.95. The day finished with the girls 50m Breaststroke and the boys 100m Breaststroke with commanding swims for Erin. V and George S who has been very resilient by finding his form again following an impressive 100m Breaststroke at the Inter Counties a few months previous. Day 2 complete, we rolled back to Street bypassing the Wells Carnival.
Day 3 started in similar fashion; early but with a boost of pre-pool energetics. This time the pre-pool was completely led by Alex. S, finishing off with a team cheer to get the day underway. Excellent examples were made by those who had raced the day before at ESSA’s, doubling up and racing the Sunday at the Bath Open Meet. These swimmers showed great toughness to race well after such a long day with plenty of travelling the day previous.
Imogen H. got things underway with a bang in the 200m Backstroke dropping a 5second best time. Imogen has been working really hard on improving her overall kick and stroke technique in training, combining to swim the event in 2:29.06. Next up was the boys 100m Butterfly, Maarten L continuing his positive form from Day 2 by dropping big time with a 1:08.22 and Simon S close to going under the 1minute mark. The 50m Freestyle which was electric the day before, was exactly the same with the girls and the Year 9 swimmers, with 5 swimmers split between 0.2 of a second. Rhiannon E performed excellently well dropping 2.6 seconds going super-fast with 27.61. Following the excitement of the splash and dash, the boys were up for the 200m Breaststroke trying to slowly increase stroke rate throughout the race, with Tom S doing so with ease by going under the 3-minute barrier for the first time. Straight after was the turn of the girls with 200IM and again an important one to see the development of technique over the four strokes. Ciara. V and Ffion R performing positively with 7 second drops.
Session 6 and the 200m Freestyle for the boys with impressive swims all around. Swimmers in form, Clement K and Wyatt W both making further best times with a 1:57.55 and 2:01.28 respectively. Both swimmers are massive advocates for the commitment needed to do well in the sport and their performances are reflective in the way they train. Having done a personal best at 400m in her 800m, Heidi D further dropped her 400m freestyle time in the actual event along with Gemma P and Katie W. Ahaan V who has come a long way with his swimming this term, led the way with his 100m backstroke, working on strong stroke rate and good use of his improved underwater kick. Ellie Kirkam was in fine form all weekend, but swam very positively in the next event, the girls 50m backstroke by going close to the 29 second mark.
The final session of the day and the weekend was a quieter one, but started strong with Rhiannon E going under the 1 minute barrier on the 100m Freestyle, with Jess P leading the way and showing good mid-season form by swimming a 57.75. David O’Loughlin then swam a new best of time by 15seconds in the boys 400IM securing him his 6th Winter National Qualifying time. The day concluded with the boys 50m Breaststroke and girls 100m Breaststroke. In the boy’s event, there was again nothing but personal bests. Lawrence M. who had 5 previous races, all with best times, rounded his day off with a 34.38 (-0.79) to secure his 100% PB rate. Finally, on the girl’s event, it was Laura J-W that produced the most dominant swim and biggest drop by swimming a 1:22.96. The strategy was simple go out hard and hold on. There were PB’s from 85% of the girls in the final event which was impressive given the duration and volume throughout the weekend. That concluded the competition and we made our way back to school with a lot of sleepy but happy swimmers on the bus.
Thank you to Team Bath Aquae Sulis for hosting a great open meet and to the officials and volunteers that made the meet run so smoothly. The hospitality for the coaches was also spot on as Coach Aldington pointed out “the official’s sandwiches beat the café’s paninis for flavour of both days. The selection was strong but, as usual, the Graze bars were popular with the swimmers”.
With each day of the meet running in three sessions, it was a really good chance for the swimmers to monitor themselves throughout a long day, taking into consideration: their warm-ups, swim downs, nutrition, and recovery. There were a lot of positive questions being asked when needed, but on the whole pupils were very proactive and got on with the execution of the days without a problem. Overall it was a successful weekend of racing, full of personal bests and a few more pupils qualifying for Winter Nationals. Here is what the coaches thought of the open meet and of the pupils:
Coach Aldington: It was great to see the resilience and an ability to take each race as a singularity. The ability to reflect rationally and refocus, saw an 85% PB rate in the final race of the day; amazing, particularly for those having taken on a full programme over the weekend.
Coach Lawlor: Swimmers were tasked to think about how they were going to swim their races technically and tactically then after the race whether they executed their plan and what they would do differently. This information was then carried forward into their next race allowing them to actively learn every time they raced. Across the weekend swimmers had a great opportunity to learn from their races, to learn from each other and to learn from themselves. Prep school swimmers achieved a 76% personal best percentage which was an amazing achievement.
Coach Clarke: The weekend was a chance for all the swimmers to put all their hard work into practise and over the 3 days, it was fantastic to see swimmers still doing personal bests in the last session. The swimmers managed themselves well, which is important as they develop into open aged athletes over the years. I loved to see the comradery from the boys, from pre-pool being led by older swimmers, to swimmers cheering and supporting one another, it was a joy to behold. Year 9 swimmers produced 56% of personal bests on both Saturday and Sunday, which was a funny fact that came from the weekend.
Various swimmers were also asked what they felt had gone well with the weekend and here are their comments to wrap up this article:
Waris M: “I was particularly impressed with Alex S leading pre-pool. He had everyone under control and was very professional. I also liked how Alex B. cheered on his peers from the side of the pool, it showed real team spirit and a connection with his friends.”
Maddie C-S: “You don’t have to get better times to progress. Changing technique will make you better in the long run”.
The last comment resonated as the whole article was about personal best times and achievements, however throughout the whole weekend there were plenty of people that didn’t achieve personal best times, but with the meet being very processed orientated, those that swam with good skills were equally impressive, including Maddie C-S. Swim meets we often look at the outcomes, however with swimming we are in it for the long haul. Improving technique and skills at younger ages are more important than the results.
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