Swim Wales West continued their form from last year, pushing themselves to the top of the Division Two table at the ASA National County Team Championships 2015 at Ponds Forge in Sheffield.
Swim Wales West claimed 467 points, just ahead of Swim Wales East who finished on 452 overall. Essex and Nottinghamshire managed to fight to be promoted once again into Division One for next year, scoring 447 and 445 respectively.
Mari Davies handed the winners the perfect start to the day, touching just 0.48 seconds shy of the Welsh senior record as she clocked the fastest 100m Freestyle time of the day to take maximum points with a PB 55.69.
Swim Wales West landed their second decisive victory in the boys’ 14/15yrs 100m Butterfly, in which Lewis Fraser took the top points score with a time of 56.91. Northamptonshire’s Danny Savage followed up in second on 57.85 and Kane Murcott of Staffordshire was third (59.02).
Fraser completed the second half of an individual double shortly after, taking the 100m Breaststroke title in a PB 1:06.74 before back-to-back individual race victories for Ioan Evans (12/13 Yrs 100m Backstroke) and Rebecca Sutton (14/15 Yrs 100m Freestyle) left Swim Wales West with one hand on the trophy as the final relays loomed large.
During the girls’ 16/17yrs 4x50m Medley Team relays, Essex’s Martha Dudley, Holly Hildrew, Amrita Robertson and Holly Taylor took the 20 points with a time of 1:59.71, followed closely by the team from Cambridgeshire (1:59.89), and Swim Wales West (1:59.95).
Finally, in the mixed 6x50m Freestyle Team event, Swim Wales West clinched the overall top spot on 2:35.12 with Cambridgeshire following up with a close second in 2:36.83 and Essex taking 18 points for third with 2:37.71.
“It feels really good, it’s great to be back up in the top division again,” said Swim Wales West team captains. “We’re one of those teams which is a bit of a yo-yo team, so we perform well some years and not so well others.
“A lot of our swimmers have really improved, and really you just have to come here and try your best, which is what we did today.
“It’s a good team environment, the atmosphere is really great. Everyone just gets behind each other and it’s just really nice to be part of it.”
While the Welsh regions, Essex and Notts were toasting their promotion, there was also reason to celebrate for Northamptonshire, who ended a seven-year hiatus without a County Team Championships race win as Matthew Richmond, Archie Plowman, Danny Savage and Nathan Jones led them to maximum points in the 14/15 Yrs Medley Relay.
Less than 20 minutes later, Savage doubled Northants‘ win tally for the day with a PB 52.83 for individual victory in the 14/15 Yrs 100m Freestyle.
Commentator Jo Jackson said: “I think it’s really important in swimming for it to be fun, I know that competition is really important, going to nationals and Commonwealth and Olympic trials, but it does get really serious.
“I think sometimes the younger swimmers can forget that it is all about enjoying yourself, I think events like County Team Championships and other events like the Arena League, even though they have a serious aspect to them, there’s’ a fun team aspect which I think is essential.”
- Click here for full the results from Division Two of the 2015 ASA National County Team Championships