Time marches on here at Cranleigh Swimming Club, exactly as elsewhere in life. When I received the reminder to write this article, it was hard to believe that the year was another month older. Another month of swimming passed. And plenty to report.
To begin our round-up of the month, we were delighted to present the British Heart Foundation with a cheque for £1,104. This was the fantastic total raised by our swimmers doing the sponsored Swim the Channel event that we reported last month. Well done to everyone involved and a big thank you for everyone who supported us.
As inevitable as the passing of time is our swimmers competing in galas. The venue most recently was the Arun Leisure Centre in Bognor, for Littlehampton’s Easter Open Meet. Quite why we were in Bognor, for Littlehampton’s gala no-one was sure. It certainly wasn’t for the luxury of the facilities. As a relative newcomer to swimming galas, I have noticed a pattern. A very friendly and welcoming atmosphere. Extreme heat. And a chronic lack of space that breeds familiarity with other spectators!
In spite of the energy-sapping conditions, our fantastic swimmers performed brilliantly. Out of the 37 swims, the team achieved 20 new personal bests. Martha Horstead and Will O’Brien, taking part in their first galas, gave two great swims.
While all our swimmers deserve recognition, at the top end, club records were set by Lana Howells-Davies and Connie Emmett. Lana’s swim in the 200m Backstroke saw her qualify for the South East Regional Championships. This added to an impressive medal showing: 8 Gold medals (Callum Stevens, Lana and Connie), 4 Silver medals (Lucy Andrews, Lana and Connie) and 3 Bronze medals (Yasmina Voogd, Lucy and Lana).
For many swimmers, galas like Littlehampton are a huge highlight. When galas come around they provide a focal point. Somewhere for the swimmers to channel their energies towards doing the best they can. Somewhere where they can measure the results of the hard work in training.
When I tell people that my daughter swims, they are often surprised at the level of commitment involved. She is training at the pool 5 evenings a week, not even having reached the Senior training squads. It doesn’t start out like that. For our less experienced swimmers, they may swim once or twice a week. This gradually increases as they move up through the training squads.
The health benefits of swimming are obvious but other benefits are sometimes overlooked. For parents, fitting in the time commitment alongside school and other activities might seem daunting. In fact, it helps teach the children time-management and self-discipline. My experience is that nearly all the club’s swimmers want to swim more. Taking part in an activity so regularly fosters a real sense of belonging. A sense of community and team, something which is often missing in our society. It is also a feeling that cascades to parents and supporters as well. You only have to come to a gala to see that for yourself.
Looking ahead, before next month, the club will be hosting our second Open Meet of the year. I am sure we will see an equally impressive showing. A small number of our swimmers will also be competing in the South East Regional championships. Watch this space for news of how they get on!
If you are interested in joining Cranleigh ASC, please 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 wishing to see if they enjoy it.
If you are a local business who would like to sponsor our next Open Meet then please contact Paul Stevens of CASC on 07759 661949