I am writing today’s article contemplating the strange times we are currently experiencing. For the vast majority of us, this is the first time we have lived through a truly global health pandemic. As humans, we see the world with all kinds of biases. We are not very good at anticipating the effects of things that fall outside of our usual experience. The situation right now certainly fits into that category.
Because these articles are written in arrears, I still have galas to report on that took place before the virus took hold. Given the seriousness of what is happening around us, it seems a little trite to focus on the achievements of a village swimming club. We do so without belittling what people are currently experiencing. Our words are shared not because they are important in this context, but because they offer a distraction. In spite of everything, it is still nice to be able to share and celebrate the successes of club members. With so many things affected by the coronavirus, at least this report poses no risk.
At the time of writing the last article, we were two weekends out of three through the Surrey Championships. The final weekend took place at the end of February, at the London Aquatic Centre. This was a fantastic event, made even more special knowing it was the London 2012 Olympic pool.
It is fair to say that the environment set the standard. Rather than being daunted by the occasion, our swimmers were inspired. Every team member swam well, with 36 personal bests achieved amongst the 44 swims. Of the 8 swims not resulting in PBs, several of these were finals swims, where the swimmer had only gone faster in the heat.
On the day, our swimmers reached 5 finals (Alice Bruce, Thomas Craig, Connie Emmett, Sophie Moore and Siena Reilly). Siena added to the medal tally in the Championships, with a great swim for a bronze medal in the 50m backstroke. The club also set 7 South East regional qualifying times (Thomas, Chris King, Sophie and Siena) and broke an astonishing 12 club records (Alice Bruce, Thomas, Connie, Lily Harding, Lana Howells-Davies, Chris, Sophie, Siena, Callum Stevens and Harry Wood).
It is fair to say, the weekend capped off what had been a very successful County Championships. Over the 3 weekends, 23 of our swimmers achieved a top 10 finish. Amongst these, they reached 9 finals, achieving one gold and three bronze medals. Over 83% of swims set a long course (50m) personal best. There were no disqualifications. Regional qualifying times were set in 16 events, with 5 of those being the highest level of automatic qualifying times. Looking at the numbers, the best idea of the trajectory of the club was the 39 club records that were broken (bringing the total to 189 in 3 years). Cranleigh Swimming Club is definitely a club on the up.
While not all of the club’s swimmers took part in the County Championships there was not long to wait to compete. The first weekend in March saw the Atlantis Spring Open Meet at K2 in Crawley, starting a new cycle. For some, inspired by the success in the Counties, it was the first chance to set qualifying times for the 2021 County Championships. For others, it was another opportunity to get a qualifying time for the upcoming Regional Championships. And for others too, it was the chance to get back in the water and compete, perhaps for the first time in a 50m pool.
Results here were excellent too. In a long but successful weekend, the swimmers achieved 12 gold medals (Lucy Andrews, Alice Collins, Thomas, Martha Horstead, Lana, Chris, Sophie and Will Stanley). There were also 7 silvers (including Connie Emmett and Juliette Small), 3 bronze medals, and 7 regional qualifying times. This was amongst a total of 43 top 6 placings, with 9 new club records set (Alice Collins, Emily Cook, Thomas, Martha, Lana, Sophie and Will).
So all in all, a great start to the first couple of months of 2020, at least from a swimming perspective. Next up is our own Cranleigh Open Meet, which we shall report on in the next issue. We hope that we are able to bring news of a positive day to cheer us all up. How things play out until then is anyone’s guess. Almost certainly, the club will not escape unaffected.
In the meantime, from all at Cranleigh Swimming Club, we wish you good health.
If you are interested in joining Cranleigh ASC, do come down and see us on a Sunday evening at Cranleigh Leisure Centre from 4.30pm onwards or visit our website www.cranleighsc.org.
We offer two free taster trial sessions, for children to see if they’d enjoy it.