Sheffield Ponds Forge 6th & 7th November 2021
The Swim England North-East Region Short Course Championships, commonly known as NERs, were held at Ponds Forge International Sports Centre in Sheffield on 6&7 November 2021. The 50m pool was split into two halves and the Open and Age Group events ran concurrently.
DASC had 19 swimmers from Top, A1 and A2 squads, who qualified in a total of 80 events. 17 of these took part in 64 different events over the course of the weekend. Head Coach Lucy Proctor and A2 squad coach Allison Matthias were poolside for the weekend, and Carol Bottomley represented the club as a technical official.
Because of the pandemic, the NER Championships have not been held since November 2019, so this is the first opportunity to compete at this level for 2 years.
It was great to see so many PB swims achieved during the weekend, especially given that many of these swimmers have just competed in several recent local galas, setting PBs in them.
NER Open Championships
This year the Open Championships were for Boys age 15&Over and Girls age 14&Over. It is a big step up from the age group to the open competition just to make the qualifying times. Heats of events were swum in the morning sessions and finals in the afternoon sessions, except for 800m and 1500m Freestyle.
6 Top Squad swimmers competed in 20 events and recorded a great total of 14 PB swims.
Laura Burgess at age 15 qualified for the final of the 50m Freestyle, finishing 9th, with the fastest 15&Under time in this event at the Championships. She also did PB swims in 200m Freestyle and 50m Butterfly. Laura has qualified to swim in the Winter National Championships in December on 50m and 100m Freestyle, and we wish her well as she steps up to competing at National level.
Harvey Matthias (17) had a busy weekend with 6 events in 2 sessions, producing PBs in 4 of them, breaking the 30 second barrier for 50m Backstroke for the first time. James McLeary (16) did his best ever times in 200m and 400m Individual Medley and 100m Breaststroke. Emily Burrell (15) continued her recent run of improvements to her 50m Freestyle time.14-year-olds Niamh Kay and Ruby Diment coped well in the Open events for the first time, competing against some swimmers many years older than them. Niamh swam PBs on 50m and 100m Breaststroke, finishing as the 3rd fastest 14-year-old on the 50m. Ruby swam all the Backstroke events, finishing 2nd fastest and 3rd fastest 14-year-old on the 100m and 50m events respectively.
See SENER Open Championships (25m) 2021 for full results.
NER Age Group Championships
All the Age Group events were HDW (Heat Declared Winner), enabling swimmers to compete in multiple events over the weekend. DASC was represented by 11 youngsters in 45 events, recording 32 PB swims. They also won 4 medals and there were 11 other Top Ten placings. This was the first time that several of them had been eligible to compete at NER level, either because they have just reached the minimum age (11) to compete in it, or because they have just made the breakthrough to achieve the required qualifying times, or because the pandemic has denied them previous opportunities.
Lucy Oliver (12) had a very busy and successful weekend with 7 PBs in her 8 swims. She began with a bronze in the 200m Freestyle which was a very tight race, won silver on 100m Freestyle, and saved the best to near the end of the last session with a gold medal to become the 50m Freestyle NER Champion. She narrowly missed out on a medal in the 400m Freestyle and gained 3 other Top Ten finishes on Backstroke and Butterfly events. It was a fantastic weekend’s swimming for Lucy.
Our other medallist was Alex Boyer (14) in the 1500m Freestyle event where he came 3rd; he also produced a PB swim on 200m Freestyle.
DASC had a trio of 11-year-olds making their NER debut. Harry Whitfield was another busy and successful DASC swimmer – 7 PBs in 7 events, on all strokes except Breaststroke, with 6 Top Ten placings, including two 4th places. What a great start to competing at NER level. Ben Burrell did very well to swim 3 PBs on 3 50m sprint events and April Mansfield also produced 3 excellent PBs in her 4 events.
Our more experienced NER competitors know what to expect at this level. Hugo Douglas-Reeves (13) produced PBs in all 3 Breaststroke events powering under the 3-minute barrier on 200m and gaining a Top Ten place on 100m. Ben Matthias (13) swam a PB on 50m Backstroke, Alex Morton (13) swam PBs in both his events, and Lewis Kestle(14) swam in 6 events with 3 PBs to show for his hard work.
Our older first-time NER qualifiers gained great experience at this level. Zara Jones (13) swam PBs on 200m Freestyle and Backstroke and Chiara Valgolio (13) came close to recently set PBs on her 2 events.
See SENER Age Group Championships (25m) 2021 for full results
“It was great to see our swimmers represent DASC so well across the two Championships. We had experienced athletes and first-timers who performed at their best in such a high level meet. Overall, results were superb and an Open final and four Age Group medals topped off a fantastic weekend.”Head Coach Lucy Procter