It has been a very busy few weeks for the Loughborough University Swimming squads, with 4 key competitions being taken part in across the 3 training squads. These meets were the main focus of the first cycle of the 2017/18 swimming season with the last chance to qualify for the Commonwealth games in Gold Coast, April 2018 there was an unusual expectation to swim fast long course but the Loughborough swimmers were up for the challenge. Off shore we saw 3 Loughborough swimmers taking part in the European short course championships in Copenhagen, in which 2 medals were gained by French swimmer, Marie Wattel.
The first competition to commence was the Welsh Winter Nationals in Swansea where Harriet West aimed for the Welsh Commonwealth team gained a 1.1 second PB in the 100M butterfly swimming 58.88.
Also competing around the same time was James Brown at the Ulster Regional Championships which doubled as the Northern Ireland Commonwealth trials. James gave a valiant effort in both the heats and finals of the 200M IM but sadly fell short of the consideration time, there is still hope however that he will be picked for the team.
The third competition and the busiest was the Swim England Winter Nationals with the majority of swimmers competing here. Loughborough came away with 2 golds, 4 silvers and 9 bronzes. Notable performances were from Beth Aitchison in the 200M freestyle, an event which only she started to focus on in September, gaining a bronze in 2.00.40, edging closer to the sub 2.00.00 mark. On day 2 Emily Barclay won bronze in the 50M freestyle in 25.83 and Alice Dearing with 2nd in the 800M freestyle. Day 3 saw Kevin Wallbank in the 200M Butterfly get a PB and also edge closer to a 2 minute milestone in 2.00.45. Dan Cross in the 200M Backstroke on the final day also put in a bold effort for his Commonwealth bid, narrowly missing the time but getting a PB coming in second.
The fourth competition which Charlotte Atkinson, Jocelyn Ulyett and Marie Wattel competing for Great Britain and France respectively. Charlotte finished 5th twice in the 200M Butterfly and the 100M Butterfly a great result in her first international senior final. Jocelyn came 13th in the 100M Breaststroke and 7th in the 200M Breaststroke, both great results, gaining more international racing experience. Last but not least Marie Wattel was on form in Copenhagen coming away with a silver in the 100M Butterfly and a bronze in the 4×50 IM relay, fantastic results and performances.
All four competitions show progress over the past cycle which sets up the squads nicely for the next training phase leading into the next target meet and the Commonwealth games. As well as progress they have helped highlight goals and plans which can be put into action ready for further improvement.