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Nathan and Ella show potential in open water’s top moments of 2019

As 2019 draws to a close, Mike Parker, Swim England Open Water Talent Lead, looks back on his top open water moments during the last 12 months.

There can only be one place to start when looking back at the achievements of English and British open water swimmers in 2019.

Nathan Hughes has been a part of the Swim England Talent Pathway for a number of years and he made his mark with a determined display at the European Junior Championships in the Czech Republic back in August.

He was involved in a real tussle for the 10km gold medal with Hungary’s David Huszti and eventually touched home 1.2 seconds ahead in a time of 1:55.49.9.

Nathan showed great resilience throughout that race and his achievement was further recognised by winning the Swim England National Award Open Water Talent Athlete of the Year trophy.

The next 12 months could be huge for Nathan if he continues to show his true potential.

Impressive international debut

Nathan’s success wasn’t the only medal won at the European Junior Open Water Championships in Racice.

Wycombe District’s Ella Dyson marked her international debut with a silver in the 5km race.

She was always in the contention for a medal and swam a hard final 500m to ensure she took second spot by one tenth of a second in a time of 57:08.2 from Germany’s Marlene Blanke (57:08.3)

It was a determined effort from Ella to take the silver from the challenge of Blanke having been in the lead pack throughout.

Great development opportunity

The Mallorca and the BEST Fest continues to be a great development opportunity for our open water and distance athletes.

We took 10 English swimmers to the festival this year to help them hone their open water racing skills and tactics.

It provides an opportunity to race in open water sea competitions in one week at either distances of 1.5km, 5km, 7km or 10km.

As conditions vary from day to day, this adds to the knowledge and experiences of the Swim England Talent cohort and stands them in good stead for further international selections.

Valuable experience

The LEN Open Water Cup in Eilat, Isreal, gave some of the Swim England Performance Squad the opportunity to compete against the best open water swimmers in the world.

Attending events such as this is the ideal pathway into senior open water marathon swimming for our athletes.

It gives them valuable experience at the next level and helps prepare them for the challenges ahead.

An exciting 2020

Collaboration is high on the open water agenda for 2020 as we look to increase the opportunities for our young athletes.

We’ll be liaising closely with British Swimming Marathon Lead Bernie Dietzig in the lead up to the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

The Talent team will also be working on a number of open water projects alongside Sharon Lock, the Swim England National Masters and Open Water Development Officer.

It promises to be an exciting 2020. Watch this space!