TEAM GAW SHOW THEIR STRENGTH AT REGIONALS
After honing racing skills in the last weekend of October with an entertaining and successful trip to Scotland, competing as the only English Team in the Carnegie Winter Open, Team GAW Performance Groups took on the best in the North East at the short course NER Championships.
The 30 strong team featuring both Age Group and Open swimmers performed fantastically well over the weekend (2-3 November), at Sheffield’s Ponds Forge Arena, returning with a hatful of medals as well as personal best performances galore.
Serial Age Group medallists Naomi Parker, Daniel Barrett and Anna Finlay were joined on the podium by new names, Natalia Langan and Faith Omoregbe, who both had breakthrough meets and can now be considered true players on the regional scene. In the Open pool, senior breaststroke specialist Zoe Price continued her excellent record of medalling at every regional competition for the last two years, adding 100m medal to her trademark 50m performances, a testament to her excellent strength and speed training.
Top of the tree in terms of Age Group medals won was again Daniel Barrett, who followed up excellent bronze medals in the 100m freestyle, 200m backstroke and 200m IM with silvers in the 50m free and 100m backstroke; crowning the meet with three tremendous Gold medals in the 50m backstroke, 100m fly and 100m IM. Age Group breaststroke queens Naomi Parker and Anna Finlay swept the board in terms of regional titles in the 50m and 100m breaststroke, picking up two gold medals each in the 13yrs and 12yrs age groups. Anna added 100m IM gold with a standout performance as well as taking the Silver medal in the 200m breastroke and a well-earned Bronze in the 200m freestyle. Naomi added to her medal haul with Silver medals in the 100m fly and 100 IM and Bronze awards in the 50m fly and 200m IM.
Performance Group 2 swimmers and top trainers, Faith Omoregbe and Natalia Langan, added their names to the growing list of Team GAW regiona
l medal winners with Natalia taking an excellent Bronze medal in the 11yrs 50m backstroke. Faith scored a hat-trick of medals in the 12yrs backstroke events adding to Bronze and Silver medal winning performances in the 200m and 50m events with a stunning Gold medal winning performance in the 100m backstroke, touching home in the 14th fastest time in Britain for her age group this year. All age group swimmers performed excellently with a multitude of top 10 (equivalent to finals) placings, but breaststroke Goliath George Lavery put in some particularly noteworthy lifetime best performances, just finishing outside the medals in 4th place in the 100m breaststroke.
Zoe Price was again the shining light in the Open section, winning a Silver medal in 50m Breaststroke with a new lifetime best performance. This achievement was arguably topped by a magnificent, gritty effort in her less favoured, 100m Breaststroke event, where Zoe claimed an excellent Bronze medal, her first regional medal at the longer distance. There were also final appearances for 15yr old Alex McGill in the backstroke events and excellent life-time bests for 15yr old Hannah Brown, 14yr old Elif Celikay and an excellent PB for 18yr old Thejes Sundar in the 50m Freestyle.
From a coaching perspective, the Short Course season is very skill focussed with turns and underwater work coming to the fore and it was fantastic to see how much success the swimmers had across the board in the 100m IM, perhaps the most technical of all the events. There was a noticeable advance in turn and underwater skills throughout the two Performance Groups.
Well done everyone who competed, you swam great and made your coaches very proud.