Young English swimmers show promise at Best Fest 2016

Nathan Hughes and Rose Foden won gold medals as the England Programmes Swimming open water squad impressed at their recent training camp and competition in Mallorca.

In a joint venture with British, Scottish and Welsh Swimming, the group trained and competed in three races in the space of four days at the Best Fest open water festival.

The first of the Colonia Classic race series was the 5km Town to Town race, which unfortunately had to be cancelled at the last minute due to adverse sea conditions. Instead, athletes swam a 5.6km training course in the harbour.

The second race was the 1.5km Sprint, which took place on the Es Dolc Loop. As always, this was an exciting event to watch, with the action easily observed from the walkway beside the sea course.

The race was fast paced right from the start and many athletes found the fast start hard to cope with as the race developed. Usually the race is a close pack race, and both senior and junior athletes race together, providing a chance for juniors a chance to mix it up with the senior athletes in the early stages of the race.

The final race was the 7.5km or 10km Es Trenc Beach Race, which is swum together, but the juniors swim 7.5km and the seniors swim the 10km Olympic distance.

In the final stages of the 10km race, it was hard to separate the top three with a full sprint to the finish. British Swimming athlete Caleb Hughes just managed to outpace his Loughborough University teammate Jack Burnell to finish in first place.

The junior race was equally hard-fought, with England’ Programmes’ Nathan Hughes getting the top spot over Hector Pardoe. Rose Foden finished first of the women’s junior swimmers ahead of Phoebe Griffiths and Leah Crisp with just 1.2 seconds separating them at the finish.

Between all of the races, every other day, the athletes completed 50m pool training in the morning and sea training in the late afternoon.

They also had a chance to take part in a Q&A session with Jack Burnell and Danielle Huskisson.

“Overall the camp was successful and achieved our objectives to expose junior and senior athletes to an open water training and competitive environment,” said ASA England Programmes Officer and Open Water Swimming Technical Lead Mike Parker.

“The process was the focus over performance outcomes, and although many of the athletes were apprehensice at the start of the week, by the end they were taking it in their stride showing renewed confidence from the experience they had gained over the week long camp.”

England Programmes Swimming open water squad 2016

  • George Barber (Grimsby Aquatics)
  • Jack Buswell (Northampton)
  • Jacob Butterfield (City of Leeds)
  • Samuel Dyer (Northampton)
  • Nathan Hughes (Hatfield)
  • Thomas Millburn (Cockermouth)
  • Hector Pardoe (Ellesmere College Titans)
  • Leah Crisp (City of Leeds)
  • Rose Foden (Northampton)
  • Phoebe Griffiths (Ellesmere College Titans)
  • Emilia Sansome (Wycombe District)
  • Philippa Shuttleworth (Loughborough University)