Swim Wales National Long Course Meet 2024

Swim Wales hosted the National long course championships, the event referred to as “the Easter Nationals” were held over 4 days, starting on Friday the 22nd of March and the final day being Monday the 25th of March.

Holywell Swimming Club had 12 qualify for the Easters, from the 12 only a small team of 4 travelled the 320 miles round trip to Swansea, but it was a trip worth taking, we came away with many PBs, a double bronze medallist and a Welsh National Champion, let’s just say it was a good day at the office.

The events for the Easters had the preliminaries for 16/Over swimmers in the morning, the 12 – 15 age group swimmers in the afternoon and the finals were held in the evening.

The Team:-  Georgia Wade-Jones – Jay Jones – Poppy Johnson – Reggie Park.

Huge thank you to Emma Park, Zoe Jones, Kerry Johnson, and Nicky Jones who worked tirelessly on poolside as Marshals, on the withdrawal table and as information runners on pool deck. Jack Brown the event’s organiser said it was great to see our parents helping at the event. On the weekend Jack let everyone know he would be standing down as Events organiser and moving on to pastures new in the events industry and we all wish him well.

Day One:- Up first in the morning session was boys team captain Jay Jones in the Men’s 50m Breaststroke, Jay had a good swim in the morning session and was just  0.66 off his PB time. Girls captain Georgia Wade-Jones was up next in the Women’s 100m Backstroke another strong morning swim with Georgia being fractionally under her PB time by 0.29 of a second.

Reggie Park arrived for the afternoon session looking ready to race 200m Freestyle, Reggie had a good start to the meet achieving a small PB of 0.9 of a second, it was good enough to put Reggie first reserve for the final. Head coach, Terry Boardman was happy with the swim considering Reggie was in the lower age of the 14 – 15 age group. A quick swim down and Reggie was back in the pool for his 2nd swim of the meet, the 100m Fly, just off his time by 0.22 of a second, this was another strong swim.

Day Two:- Seniors back in for the morning session and this time Georgia was up in the 50m Backstroke, another solid swim by Georgie finishing 12th just off her PB by 0.76 of a second.

The afternoon session had Poppy Johnson up next in the 200m breaststroke, Poppy had a great swim smashing her long course PB time by 13 seconds and making first reserve for the final from a strong field of 21 swimmers.

Reggie was up next in the 100m Freestyle, Reggie gave a good account of himself with a time of 1:00.04, so close to breaking the minute for long course, but fast enough to get Reggie into the final.

In the final Reggie hit a similar time of 1:00.98 finishing 8th (3rd fastest 14 year old) Reggie is looking good for a medal next year. Reggie then took on the 800m Freestyle, His split times were very good with Reggie hitting 36/37 for each 50m of the 800m giving Reggie an 8.19 seconds PB and gaining him a 3rd place Bronze Medal. Won done Reggie, Welsh National Medallist.

Day Three:- First up on day 3 was Jay in the 100m Breaststroke, Jay pushed really hard on the first 50m turning in line with the other swimmers, every swimmer in the heat splitting 35 seconds for the first 50, a tough second 50m saw Jay drop off the pace. Jay’s second race of the morning was the 50m Freestyle and a much better race for Jay, being only 0.22 of his long course best time it was a solid swim with good underwater phase, he looked very strong.

The afternoon session saw two races each for Poppy and Reggie, the 400m Freestyle first for Reggie and a good swim in this Heat Declared Winner (HDW) category finishing 7th. Poppy was looking forward to her 100m Breaststroke after her fantastic swim on day 1 in the 200m Breaststroke and Poppy didn’t disappoint, another great swim and another PB. Her Breaststroke looked great all week.

Reggie up again in one of his favourite strokes, the 50m Freestyle, Reggie exploded out from the breakout to PB in 27.62 seconds putting him himself first reserve for the final.

Poppy’s second swim was also the 50m Freestyle, a powerful dive and some supper fast kicking gave Poppy another great race and another PB, going a second faster than she did a month ago at the Regional Long Course meet in February.

Day Four:-  (Holywell save the best until last)

An early morning start for Georgie, she arrived at 7:30am, did her pre-pool with some of the Northern Celts girls in preparation for her 200m Backstroke, this went well as Georgie had a very strong swim and made the final. In her previous 50m and 100m backstroke events Georgie finished the races very strong and this was the plan for the final, build to a strong fast finish.

Georgie came back in the evening session for the final of the 200m backstroke, pre-pool stretching, a warmup in the pool and ready to race. A great start and strong underwater phase, Georgie turned at the 100m mark in joint second in 1:12. 86 and looked super strong, in the final part of the race, Georgie built the speed all the way to the end finishing 3rd to take the Bronze medal – Well done Georgia Wade-Jones Welsh National Bronze Medallist.

First up in the afternoon session was Poppy in the 200IM, not Poppy’s favourite swim, but you wouldn’t think that as she powered down the first length doing fly, turning in 33.53, almost 2 seconds faster than her 50m fly PB time, Poppy carried this through into the backstroke/breaststroke legs and finished well on the front crawl, this gave Poppy her fourth PB of the meet.

Reggie also in for the 200IM. The time was off, but Reggie had to use the 200IM as a preparation race for his 1500m swim; The 1500m is another (HDW) race. Reggie was up against a strong field of swimmers all who swim for their County Performance teams. Reggie kept the team in suspense, all the finalists were members of performance squads. In the race he had two main rivals: one a 15-year-old performance swimmer from Pembrokeshire County Performance, and the other form Swim Conwy Performance. Reggie started well and was going stroke for stroke with the boy from Pembrokeshire. At 400m Reggie started to pull away increasing his lead, he was then challenged by the Conwy swimmer but kept between 2 and 3 seconds ahead. Reggie finished the final 50m the fastest of the 6 swimmers. Reggie touched the wall first in a time of 18:13.32 giving Reggie a 26.68 PB.

Reggie is now No1 in Wales by 40 seconds and 29th in Britain for the 1500m Freestyle. Well done Reggie Park, you are now a 2024 Welsh National 1500m Freestyle Champion.

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