The highlight of the long course domestic calendar is the GB Nationals. June 2014 saw a romp of 24 Otters travel to Swansea to pit their swimming skill against the best of British. Despite some perplexing issues caused by new relay rules, which resulted in myriad consternation throughout the weekend, the meet was a roaring success.
There were several excellent Otter performances throughout the course of the Championships and, as ever, a number of national champions. The Otter team took a whopping 34 golds, 28 silvers and 10 bronze medals. However, a special mention must go to our very own Queen of Freestyle/Water Polo, Lex Higlett, who became national champion in the 50, 100, 200 and 400m events. Lex was later joined by team mates Olivia Reynolds, Laure Kearns and Gina Hobson, who put in tremendous legs to take the European record (and gold medal) in the 4 x 100m free relay (120+ age group).
Other stand-out performances came from the following:
Pip Bennett successfully transferred his skills from open water to the pool by winning the 1500m freestyle despite the ‘unacceptable’ number of turns, and put in a strong show in the 400free and 400IM.
Dave Warren once again showed his dominance by winning all nine of the races he entered in the 40-44 age group and set a new British record in the 200 IM.
Not to be shown up by the ‘young lad’, Derek Parr also claimed victory in his six events, a gruelling programme which included 200 fly, 400 free, 800 free and 400IM.
Golds also went to Cat Hasnain (50bk), James Stewart (200bk), Gina Hobson (200bk, 100bk), Laure Kearns(200IM), Mike Wake (200 free), Paul Goudie (200bk and 800free), Roger Lloyd-Mostyn (100bk, 50bk), the 120+ ladies’, 120+ and 240+ men’s 4x50 free, and 240+ 4x100 free relay teams.
As ever, our thanks go to Steve for his enthusiasm and coaching throughout the weekend, the coaching team for preparing us so well for the meet, Tony Ray for his invaluable contribution to the relays (henceforth dubbed the ‘third captain’), our lane mates who didn’t compete for their understanding during taper, and the attending team for their unbridled passion and enthusiasm throughout the weekend.
Otter 120+ 4x100m Free European Record breaking rely team: Gina Hobson. Lex Higlett, Olivia Reynolds & Laure Kearns.