We caught up with Somerset head coach Euan Dale to ask him about his expectations for this year’s County Team Champs and his memories of competing at the event as an age group swimmer.
Are you looking forward to the 2014 ASA National County Team Champs?
Yeah, I can’t wait for the County Team Champs now. We’ve got a strong team. It’s always tough to beat the Northern teams like Lancashire but we’ll give it a good go.
What are your aims for the competition?
It will be my fifth year and we’ve been lucky to have some really good swimmers like James Guy and Siobhan-Marie O’Connor in the past few seasons.
But we’re looking strong again. We came fifth last year and hopefully we can get in the top three this year. It will be my first year as head coach of Somerset as well which is obviously an honour and a privilege for me.
What do you like about CTC?
I like that it’s a different style of meet to everything else in the calendar. I’d say it’s one of two of it’s kind, the other being the Arena league, where you’re really competing for the team rather than individually.
Swimming is generally about your own performance but when you’re getting points for the team, the atmosphere and the style of racing can bring the best out in some people.
Will you be expecting the Somerset swimmers to set PBs in Sheffield?
I think it depends on where swimmers are on their training cycle. The older swimmers tend not to be at that stage where they will be setting PBs at this point in the season but I’d expect the younger members of the team to be around their best times.
How different will it be on the poolside as head coach of the county rather than your club?
Somerset is quite a small county so generally the team is made up of swimmers from a few clubs and we all know each other quite well.
Everyone gets on well and of course it’s good to see and work with swimmers you don’t work with very often but in general, no, it’s not too different to travelling to a competition with Millfield.
What are your memories of competing yourself at County Team Champs in years gone by?
I’m proud to say I was a member of the most successful Somerset team so far at this competition when we came second in 2002 and it’s one of my ambitions to go better as a coach.
It’s always going to be tough to beat the Northern counties but we’ll get up there and see what we can do.