History makersThe first Devonport team to claim a junior county title since 1976
Added 6 February 2017
On Sunday 5 February a little bit of club history was made in Exeter when our Under 15 water polo team beat Newton Abbot 13-6 in the final of the Devon KO competition; a Devonport junior team claimed a county title for the first time since 1976. Devonport went into the game as slight underdogs against the county league champions, but played with skill and confidence throughout, outscoring the opposition in every quarter.
This was truly a team effort, the team knew that everyone had to play to their maximum to have a chance of winning, and several of our players had their best games to date. Tom Will was a commanding presence in goal and made some great saves. Charlie Pitt, Megan Symons, Rhys King, Tom Chilton and Ben Harding were immense in defence, not allowing their opponents any space. Our two playmakers, captain Dominic Dodds and Jessica Garrad, were outstanding, controlled the game and contributed two goals apiece. Up front Jasmin and James Coleman, benefiting from their teammates' excellent approach work, kept the opposition defence busy, with James scoring five and Jasmin four.
Due to the high standard of the opposition, this was the most impressive performance and result this team has achieved to date, and the trophy is just reward for a season in which they have at times played some excellent water polo.
Later in the day our ladies were in action against Exeter. They contributed fully to a close and entertaining match, eventually losing 11-8.
Best comeback storyJames Coleman claimed the 100m breaststroke title after 2 DQs
2 February 2017
By Iain Chalmers, Head Coach
With a motherlode of PBs, finals and medals from team mates Jess Manning and James Coleman starred in the concluding day of the 2017 Devon Championships to match Tia and join her in the 2017 Devon County Champion club. In the final four days following the last report, Day 1 was a 100% final rate with many converting to medal wins. Day 2 was just as productive, and while day 3 was equally populated with finals and medals, the concluding day became a conveyer belt of DRSA achievement which left Iain, Tony, Karen and John on poolside simply shaking their heads in amazement.
Jess Manning's success came in the 100 IM super final where she went from second fastest seed to fastest qualifier. Taking lane 4, she swam a fantastically measured race, staying in touch with leaders on the first 50 before breezing past everyone on the breaststroke to build a lead that was unassailable for the freestyle. A fantastic achievement from a young lady we hope to see more of in the pool.
James is perhaps the best comeback story of the championships, qualifying fastest for the 50 breaststroke in weekend 2, James false started under nerves and was disqualified. He took it hard, and then came back the next day to make amends in the 200, a good heat swim and a big PB was marred by another DQ and the week between was spent correcting, learning and preparing. In the 100 James fired a warning shot through the heats, qualifying fastest for the final. While initially challenged in the final, the second fifty saw James stretch his lead further and further and won at a canter to complete an awesome turn around.
We had far more super finals this season and Jess Manning, Fin Bowden, Harry Noble and Jack Lakeman all became familiar with them. Harry super finalled in the 200 back, 100 back, 50 back and 200 freestyle. Jack the 50 & 100 and the 50 free. Jess super finalled in the 50 fly, 50 and 100 breaststroke and the 100IM, while Finley took super final spots in the 50 and 100 breaststroke.
There were a huge number of pbs, medals and finals. Aiden Symons Brown completed his 28 race challenge having qualified for the final of all 14 events he entered. Tia Crews entered 11, and finalled in 10 to race a hugely respectable 21 times over the three weekends. Both swimmers took a variety of bronze and silver medals, Aiden just unlucky not to take the top step, whereas Tia got a gold and broke a county record to register her name in the record books.
Many swimmers made their debuts, or long-awaited returns at this level. Jess Stewart took two finals in the 50 free and the 100IM, while Danny White was a Devon finalist for the first time, coming fourth in the 50 fly. Pheobe Stentiford, Kate Rainford, Evie Hughes, Sophia King, Emma Chilton and Georgia English all PB'd on their start at this level. Alongside the debutants, PBs (and a few near misses) flowed through the group as many of them set new marks. Izzy Abernethy, Mia Steele, Jasmin Coleman and Joe Brady also continued to compete and compete well, all four of them registering PBs while beginning to identify areas for future improvement. Charlie Pitt was somewhat resurgent, taking three finals, three PBs and three regional times while hopefully beginning to realise just what he is capable of.
The biggest gold medal winner of all was Andrew Keeler, taking 5 gold medals in the multi-class category alongside numerous PBs to highlight his status as Devon's best S14.
As ever, a huge thank you to everyone who assisted with the Team. John Chilton is a huge help on poolside all the time, so massive thanks to him. Karen Crews and Tony Symons Brown are also due huge gratitude for team managing and their support. Onwards and upwards!
Medal winners100m IM winner Jessica Manning flanked by Jack Lakeman and Harry Noble
Looking back at 2016, Devonport won 3 medals total. I think we can say that this was probably the best ever:
1 County Record (T Crews)
1 Super Championship (J Manning)
2 Age Championships (T Crews, J,Coleman)
13 Super Finals (J Manning, H Noble, J Lakeman, F Bowden)
35 Age Finals (J Coleman, T Crews, A Symons-Brown, C Pitt, D White, H Noble, J Lakeman, J Stewart)
19 Top 3 Age group medals (J Coleman, T Crews, A Symons-Brown, H Noble)
5 Multi-Class Titles (A Keeler)
Devon's number oneOur new Devon County Champion and record holder
16 January 2017
By Iain Chalmers, Head Coach
What a team we have this year! Day 2 picked up and then exceeded day 1s highs.
The boys team started the day, James Coleman, Aiden Symons Brown and Finley Bowden kicked things off with PBs and final qualifications in the 200IM.
Aiden and Fin then joined Andrew, debutant Jack Lakeman and Harry for the 100 freestyle. Andrew went first, taking a 2 second PB, Aiden then followed suit qualifying fastest for his age group final. Finley, looking tired just missed a PB before Harry and Jack went head to head in a fantastic race that split them by 0.01 and earned them both age group finals.
James was the only one of the three IM finalists to PB, improving his position in the process. Aiden battled to third but slightly slower than the heat, while Finley's fatigue caught up with him.
Aiden was then next up for his 100 free final, and after a fantastic battle and a close finish settled for third with another PB. 4 events, 3 medals for Aiden so far.
Harry and Jack went head to head again in their 100 free final, Harry winning the dual, and the race, but losing out to a DQ for a start infringement. Jack finished 5th in the end to complete a promising debut.
The girls had a hard act to follow in the afternoon, with the boys getting more finals in one morning than we managed as a club in the whole gala last season. In the 50m backstroke, Sophia King, Georgia English and Kate Rainford all made Devon debuts with good PBs, while Emma Chilton debuted slightly off her best from 2016 but with lots to come in the next events. Mia Steele returned to county competition and also Pb'd by a second, and Tia Crews set a county record time and got a place in the final before Jess Stewart joined her in the later rounds with a PB and a place in her age final.
The girls experienced mixed fortunes, Jess put everything she had into it but was beaten into sixth and just shy of her heat swim. Tia, with a lot of pressure of being fastest seed and the new county record holder stepped up, and after a blistering race against her closest competitor set a new championship best time, faster than the heat and became Devon County Champion and record holder.
How on earth does next week improve on that!?
16 January 2017
By Iain Chalmers, Head Coach
Welcome to the series of DRSA Devons reports.
Day 1 saw 6 of the 22 competitors entered in action and started successfully with Tia Crews taking a regional consideration time and a berth in the final of the 12 years 200IM final. Tia went in as 7th fastest but came out 6th in a great race. She followed up with a reserve place for the 100 freestyle.
Aiden overcame a case of the 'I don't like 200 fly' to take a final, PB, medal and regional consideration time in the 13 years event. He then Pb'd and finalled, finishing fourth in the 50 backstroke in the later session.
Joe Brady missed a PB in the 200 fly, but qualified for the final. Deciding not to contest the next round of that event he then concentrated on the 50 back, taking a second off his PB in a very pleasing race.
Danny White and James Coleman made their Devon debuts in the 50 backstroke, both taking PBs and dipping under the 40 second barrier for the first time with only a tenth of a second to separate them.
Harry Noble also contested the 50 back, slashing almost half a second off his PB and qualifying for the super final, where he finished 6th in a fantastic open age group event.
Roll on day 2!
Introducing our Arena League TeamWell placed to have a real go at promotion next season
13 December 2016
By Iain Chalmers, Head Coach
With Round 3 the 2016 Arena League Campaign, one of the highlights of the swimming year, came to a close and Devonport Royal have had a fantastic venture into this year's National League.
We started at Hutton Moor in Weston Super Mare where we faced fierce competition in the recently rejoined Mount Kelly and Dinnaton Swimming clubs. While Mount Kelly ran away with it, Devonport did win the second highest number of races, but the consistency of Dinnaton's regular second places made us settle for third place but a hugely promising start. Danny White was completely unbeaten in round one, winning both his individual efforts as well as the two under 11 relay races to win the Male swimmer of the day award, indeed the boys under 11 team of James, Danny, Henry and Ed lost only a single race across the six in the age category. Tia Crews won the female swimmer of the day award, after a great performance and her first appearance in an open cannon relay team. TIa did not put a foot wrong all day and with two race wins and three huge contributions in relays, she was a just winner.
The second round took us to Bristol Horfield, and we faced a Devon Derby with Tiverton, recently relegated from Division 1, and Dawlish our opponents from last year. I think many will agree this was THE round of the 2016 league, the noise was incredible, the performances close, and all three clubs gave a great account of themselves. Dawlish ultimately won out, and Tiverton settled for third but the noise, the banter and the fun carried on way into the coach journey home. Jessica Stewart was awarded the female swimmer of the day, having had an injury in the weeks leading to the competition, and a crisis of confidence she stepped up to take on two events and she swam them brilliantly despite not believing in herself as much as she should. Jess Manning was another notable performance in the girls ranks, winning three out of three events against the same opponent to kick off a small friendly rivalry. Tia Crews probably would be the best remembered race as she surged to a great PB in her 50 freestyle to deny an opponent in one of the closest, and most commanding races of the day. Ed Ayers was awarded male swimmer of the day. Originally travelling for a single event, Ed was asked to swim the 100m Butterfly in the 13 and under age group (he is 10!) due to injury to another swimmer and he stepped up to the plate. While he didn't win it was a hell of an effort, and he secured us a point we otherwise would not have had. Other notable male performers, Harry Noble was his usual dominant self, winning all of his individuals in style, while James Coleman took two wins from two. Finley Bowden was also imperious, winning the 100 breaststroke and the 200IM with time in hand.
Our first two performances booked us a place in the Regional Division 2 final, and so we travelled back to Weston Super Mare and Hutton Moor. With Dawlish and Tiverton joining us, alongside Dinnaton and Mount Kelly creating a real Devon feel to the final. This was the first final we have been in since 2010 and the swimmers, despite illness, injuries and tiredness in a lot of cases rose to the occasion. We quickly settled into 5th place, behind Dinnaton, Kelly, Dawlish and United Bristol, and held off Tiverton for the remainder of the gala to secure a very commendable result. With Dinnaton, Kelly and Dawlish rising into the next division, we are well placed to have a real go at promotion ourselves next season. Izzy Abernethy, girls captain was voted female swimmer of the day. Izzy was given a tough tough day, as injuries and illness left her as the best option to take on the 200IM and the 100 fly. She did fantastically at both, getting us valuable points and then swam her relays wonderfully to help the team to a great finish. Jessica Stewart again starred, and she stepped up for the team to do an additional individual in a higher age group in order to help out her team mates. Emma Chilton also deserves a mention having trained so hard recently, before slicing two seconds from her 50 freestyle PB. Hard work pays off! The male swimmer of the day was, for the first time a joint award between Harry Noble, Joe Brady and Finley Bowden as they all shared the votes. Harry was his normal fantastic self, and he attracted a lot of attention from the opposition. He took it all in his stride and delivered as he normally does. Joe will hopefully now have his swagger back, after his 100 fly he then stepped up to cover an unwell Finley, taking on the 100 freestyle. I like to see swimmers supporting each other like this and it is a testament to the team work between them all. Fin himself raced despite illness, and secured some valuable points before swimming the fastest leg of the mens cannon team in a 25.5. He goes from strength to strength each race.
To so many people who helped with the team and the organisation of the team leading into this campaign. John Chilton was an ever present for all three rounds, helping coach on poolside and recording times and splits so that I could talk with swimmers and manage the other side of coaching. He was a huge help and one that should not be underestimated. Karen and Tony, who travelled to two rounds to team manage were again a great and welcome help across the board and I greatly appreciate their help as well.
Extremely importantly, to Alan Stoneman, Sue Butler and Jan Daly who officiated for us throughout the gala. The trio gave up their time for the swimmers, and so huge thanks to them.
It's been a great three months, and we have seen some awesome displays of teamwork and support, some new emerging club stars in Danny White and Emma Chilton in particular, and the promise of stars of the next few years in Ed Ayers, Alfie McSweeney and Sophia King. And while we have many more to look forward to joining those five waiting for their chance, we also have seen our established swimmers such as Harry, Tia, Aiden, Joe, Jess x 2, Finn, Izzy and Jodi all perform brilliantly. But a final thank you to those swimmers who travelled a long way to swim individual events. Sophia, Evie, Hannah, Ed and Alfie in particular though I'm sure I have missed others.
Well done all, roll on 2017!
Introducing our 12&U Devon and Cornwall PlayersFrom left to right: Asa, Ben, Shay, James, Rhys, Charlie, Izaac and Adam
12 December 2016
Sunday's Inter-County Water Polo Championshps saw Devonport contribute players to both the Devon and Cornwall 12&U teams. Devon, captained by Devonport's James Coleman, won the 12&U tournament, with Cornwall, entering the competition for the first time in many a year, proving stubborn opposition and finishing a very respectable fourth.
Also in action for Devon on Sunday were Rebecca Dyer and Jordan Parsons in the Senior Female team, Ella Jones (captain), Jasmin Coleman and Lois Phillips in the 16&U Female team, and Toby Marks, Liam Ward and Zane Ridge in the 16&U Male team. All came away with silver medals.
Tournament WinnersJessica and Jasmin with the tournament shield
5 December 2016
Devonport water polo players Jasmin Coleman and Jessica Garrad enjoyed success representing the South West at the U14 Inter-Regional Championships this weekend. Both players played key roles as the South West won all of their matches and the tournament.
In the group stages the South West beat the East 14-6, the North West 9-0 and the North East 13-3. In the semi final our girls went goal crazy as the South West beat Scotland 15-1, with Jessica scoring 5 and Jasmin 2 of the first 7 goals. In a keenly contested final, the South West beat the Midlands 13-7, with our girls again featuring prominently among the goals.
Both Jasmin and Jessica impressed throughout, and Jasmin was awarded the Most Valuable Player award for both the South West team and the tournament.
Wales v EnglandRebecca and Jordan in their national costumes.
20 October 2016
Two members of our Ladies water polo team found themselves on opposite sides at the recent North Sea Cup event held in Aberdeen, with Rebecca Dyer representing Wales and Jordan Parsons representing England U17. Both ladies scored one goal apiece, with England winning 14-7.
2016 Winners of the Paignton Festival
Back row, from left: Adam, Evie, Sam and James. Front row, from left: Millie, Poppy and Max.
17 October 2016
By Robert Coleman
Water Polo Secretary
I would like to place on record my thanks to everyone who contributed to the running of the water polo events held over the weekend of Saturday 15 / Sunday 16 October.With our resources spread all over the county and indeed the country, we faced quite a challenge.
On the Saturday our volunteers were up at 9am running the Saturday morning mini polo session.
On the Sunday we had three teams involved in the Paignton Festival of Junior Water Polo, each team chaperoned by mums and coached by dads of the teams. Thank you to all for your efforts on the day. A hugely enjoyable tournament was won the for the fourth year in a row.
On Sunday four of our youngsters also attended trials for the Cornwall 12&U team. This is the first time we have sent anyone to trial for the Cornwall team - congratulations to Rhys, Izaac, Asa and Shay who were all successful. And thank you to Penzance for looking after them and their mums for taking them.
From left, Jasmin, Jessica and Mia.
Meanwhile, in Manchester I was busy acting as chauffeur to Jasmin, Jessica and Mia as they competed in the U15 National Age Group Championships for Newton Abbot. The girls all performed to their maximum as the team achieved impressive victories against Otter Futura, Manchester, 2015 finalists Liverpool and 2010 champions Tyldesley before losing in the final to worthy winners Otter. The highlight was the thrilling semi final victory against Tyldesley. With the scores tied at 5-5 and all 3 of our girls involved when it counted, the team secured victory with 2 late goals. And a huge thank you to Newton Abbot for looking after our girls.
It should also be noted that we also had young ladies training away with GB on Sunday - congratulations to Ella Louise Jones on attending her first GB session.
Back home in Plymouth we still had to host one training session and two Bristol and West league matches. Thank you to all of the coaches, all who helped with the pool setup and clearance, and finally to those who helped run the match table, pay the referee expenses etc.
A lot of time and effort went into ensuring the smooth running of these events - Thank You.
17 October 2016
By Jan Daly
2 DRSA swimmers, Abi Daly and Lewis Matti, were part of the Special Olympic Plymouth and District team at the regional gala at the Life centre on Saturday 15 October.
The other teams competing were the Swansea Stingrays, The Bristol Marlins, Special Olympics Cornwall, Special Olympics Exeter and Special Olympics North Devon.
Abi secured a Silver in the 50m Freestyle against a very fast 16 year old from Bristol. Lewis then stepped up and gained a 4th place just missing the 3rd spot in the 50m Freestyle.
Next up Abi secured another silver in the 50m backstroke against the same Bristol swimmer. Lewis recovered from the disappointment of his 4th place with a Silver.
Abi secured the only gold of her competition in the 25m freestyle.
Then came the unplanned race of 25m Fly; this was a closely fought race with not much between all 3 medal places. Abi lost out to a silver by a second.
Lewis then competed in this event and again there was not much in it for the medal places. Lewis did one better than Abi and secured a silver.
A very good medal haul for the duo.
Many thanks to John Wright for coming to the pool to coach them both and help out. Also a big thank you to Alan and Jeanette Stoneman for also helping out with timekeeping and starting referee.Also thank you to the staff at Everyone Active for helping with the running of the event.
Robyn Greenslade - Netherlands boundRobyn has been selected to represent GB U19s in the European Championships.
4 September 2016
Do you need some inspiration and something to aim for? Devonport's Robyn Greenslade has been selected for Great Britain U19s for the European Championships in the Netherlands.
Robyn, who is only 15 and has been playing water polo for just 4 years, has demonstrated what can be achieved with determination, coaching and hard work.
Internationally, in addition to being selected for GB, Robyn has this year represented England in U17, U19 and Senior Women's Tournaments and been selected to represent England Schools. This means that Robyn will play water polo this year alone in Hungary, Croatia, Serbia, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, the Netherlands and Malta.
Domestically Robyn has represented the South West of England, who won the Inter Regional Competition for the first time ever in 2016, represented Devon and of course has played for Devonport Ladies and U17s, playing with and against some of the best water polo players in the UK including Olympians and Commonwealth Gold medallists!
Meet DRSA's competitors at the National ChampionshipsAndrew and Harry
21 August 2016
By Iain Chalmers, Head Coach
The first weekend of August proved to be the final weekend of the 15/16 season for two Devonport Royal athletes who made the long trip to Ponds Forge, Sheffield for the ASA Summer Championships. Formerly, and commonly known as English Nationals the competition is an invite only event whereby competitors who have qualified from 25th to 48th on the British Swimming rankings, and are registered members of English ranked clubs are invited to compete. This is regarded as the second tier of national competition, and held in the week following the British Swimming Summer Championships which invites 1st to 24th on the rankings from across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.Harry Noble qualified for the 15 years 50m Backstroke, 50m Freestyle and the 100m Backstroke, while Andrew Keeler qualified for the Multi Class 100m Breaststroke, 50m Freestyle, 100m Butterfly and 100m Freestyle.
The first day of the four we had the boys racing in was Andrew's morning. Taking on the 100 freestyle and 100 Breaststroke in the same session. The freestyle started well, slightly off his PB but a good time at his debut at this level. After a swim down, he took on the 100 breaststroke and was disappointed to miss out on a final as the excitement, nerves and adrenaline of the occasion combined with his favourite race got the better of him. All a learning curve, and Andrew returned to the hotel to get ready for day 2, while Harry arrived at the pool to train in the break between sessions and crucially learn how to use the new backstroke start steps (huge thanks to the lady from the ASA whose name escaped me who allowed us to learn them!).
Both boys competing in the morning session in their respective 50 freestyles . Harry was up first, and having raced the week before in the PL End of season meet and being stuck on a 26.1 (for months!) we didn't know what to expect. The occasion, the new racing skins, the bullet hat, the pool, the swimmer and all the hard work came together and Harry annihilated his PB taking a second off to record a 25.16 and qualified fastest for the final on the Tuesday evening. Andrew, following Harry's lead went next and smashed his own PB and ducked under 30 seconds to take an outside lane in the final. After Monday's disappointment, Andrew was thrilled and both boys went to relax for a few hours before being due back.Harry's final was first, and he stepped up to huge pressure, putting in a further PB of 24.81 and just being piped to gold by 0.06 of a second, having to settle for silver. This was a huge result, having never had a national qualifier at Devonport Royal, to have a finalist and now a medallist was a huge achievement. And let's not forget we had two finalists, with Andrew Keeler going next. Having identified that he was breathing too much in the heats, Andrew kept his head down and didn't breathe for the entire race, putting in another PB to go with the one in the morning. While not currently in medal contention due to how Multi class swimming works, Andrew was still thrilled with the swim.
Watch a great moment in the club's historyHarry Noble strikes gold at ASA National Championships
Andrew had a day off on the third day of competition, so Harry was the clubs sole representative racing in the 50m backstroke. Having PB'd the week before in the PL end of season gala, we were expecting him to do well. But, taking another huge PB of 28.28 and the fastest qualifier berth again was beyond expectations. Harry went and relaxed again, and this time game back with a vengeance dominating the final with an incredible start and fantastic underwater work to seize the lead instantly, and he would never surrender it, securing another PB of 28.06 and the gold medal to become ASA Champion. The race, was truly one of the greatest moments in Devonport Royal's history, and the huge wave of support from members at home on Facebook, emails and Twitter was fantastic.
After spending Tuesday and Wednesday on 50s, both boys had respective 100m events to contest on the Thursday. Harry was up first with his heat for the 100 backstroke, and as per normal destroyed the field to win his heat with another huge PB of 1.00.92. However this time, Harry was pushed into second fastest qualifier, and so had to settle for lane 5 rather than the now familiar lane 4. Andrew was next with the 100 fly, and promptly squeezed into the final with another PB in the multiclass event. Both boys warmed up, and Harry was up first. Preparation wasn't quite as good as the day before, and with the final up as the second race of the session, Harry struggled to get his head into the same zone. All swimmers in the final went slower, and Harry dropped two tenths on his heat time and took a bronze medal to complete the colour collection. While disappointed, had he won bronze on day 1, silver on day 2 and gold on day 3 he would have been over the moon, and to compete at this level was fantastic. Andrew had a longer wait, but again rose to the occasion gaining a position and PBing again to finish 8th in his final. A great week for Andrew, who had never raced at this level before and caught the attention of the Para swimming powers that be. He has big dreams, a big heart and a lot of courage to continue improving and massive credit to John Wright, Tony Davies and Alan Stoneman who handle the majority of his coaching.
Who will be next?
While Andrew has put us on the map for Para Swimming, Harry has put us on the map for regular age groups. He has validated the belief that commitment, hard work and talent can be maximised to great effect in smaller programmes such as our own, and despite this being English nationals, his times have placed him into the top positions in the GB for his events (4th in 50 free, 7th in 50 back and 13th for 100 back). I hope many of our other swimmers will be inspired to follow in his footsteps, and join him on the journey that he is leading the club on. Harry is the first swimmer to achieve this standard in 153 years of the clubs history, who will be next?
Gold medallistFour silvers and a gold for Tia Crews at PL National Qualifiers
17 August 2016
By Iain Chalmers, Head Coach
Sorry everyone, it's been a while since I last did a proper report. With the huge number of galas, a full-time job and coaching, it's been hard to find the hours in the day so I hope you won't mind me compressing what's been a really busy few months into a single report.
Plymouth Leander National Qualifiers
The final month of May, (yes it's been that long since I did a report!) saw Harry, Joseph, Beth, Tia and Mia compete in the final chance to register a qualifying time for this summers National competitions. The competition was varied in terms of what each swimmer was aiming for. For Mia and Joseph, this was about PBs and experience, and competing a meet where there was such a high level of competition. For Tia, it was similar, looking for experience as well as medals in a high level meet. Beth wanted to have a single attempt at getting a national place in a single event, while Harry was looking to secure his qualification.By and large this was an exceedingly successful gala. Joseph and Mia both got the required PBs, and Mia's back ended 100 back was one of the highlight races of the weekend. Beth had a great attempt, but a lack of long course experience held her back and she suffered in her final 15 metres, but a long course PB nonetheless. Tia walked away with four silver medals, and a gold medal, while Harry secured his place in three events for the ASA Summer Championships that were held in August.
Cornwall and Devon League Round 2
What a frantic, hectic and all round good day this was! Both DRSA teams competed at the same time, and we had a huge following of parents in the stands roaring the teams on. HS2 had a tough gala, but a great battle with Exmouth and a few DQs towards the end cost us a first scalp, but some highlight swims - Alex Christie's 100 backstroke was a special moment and Liam Chant swam his heart out in multiple 50 fly's, and above all swimmers gave the club some great representation. Great swims came from Mia Steele, Rhiannon Davies, Jacob Hingston, Chloe Stanley, Sophia King, Georgia English, Emma Chilton, Henry McDonald, Ben Harding and so many others that this list is all but endless. HS1 had a great battle as well with Paignton, St Austell/TR1, Newton Abbott and Launceston, eventually finishing second behind winners Paignton. Again some fantastic racing, Harry in his usual sparkling form, Joseph Brady and Louise Lecointe's 100 butterfly's, with further great races coming from Jasmin Coleman, James Coleman, Aiden Symons-Brown, Tia Crews, Alfie Mcsweeney, Jess Manning, Jess Stewart, Bethany Ward, Jodi Le Page, Lauren Howard the list goes on and on. HS2 Male Swimmer of the Day was Liam Chant, HS2 Female Swimmer of the day was Sophia King.HS1 Male Swimmer of the Day was Finley Bowden HS1 Female Swimmer of the day was Ella Louise Jones.
Developments team90% plus PB rate
This was also a great three days for the club, a number of swimmers returned to racing, others debuted for the first time as a great blend of junior and senior swimmers tackled this meet at the Life Centre. Medals throughout the three days (and they were numerous so I apologise if I miss anyone!) came from James Coleman, Finley Bowden, Jasmin Coleman, Stanley Langmead, Alex Christie, Jon Paul Davis, Izzy Abernethy, Lois Phillips, Mia Steele, Hannah Smith, Maya Ivey and Ethan Symons-Brown.Finley, Lois and Izzy all contested the Medley Skins final at the end of the three days, Finley winning the final round and the Medley Skins title, while Lois was knocked out in round 1, being unlucky to get her least favourite stroke, while Izzy followed a round later after tiring following a strong start.Big mentions go to Kate Rainford for being by far the busiest swimmer, and even contesting the mammoth 800m freestyle for the first time. All the medal winners for fantastic swims, and for the rest of the team for a 90% plus PB rate over the weekend.
Well done to all who entered as well, we had the largest number of entries for a gala for a long time, and great to see more and more swimmers getting involved in competition. Keep it up!!
18 Devonport Royal swimmers contested the annual Devon Interclub competition against 11 other teams from across the county. It was the first time we competed in this event since 2012 where on that occasion we finished 11th out of 15 teams. Getting a team of 18 swimmers sorted for this one was much more difficult than getting 64 for the Cornwall and Devon league but once all was sorted we had a fantastic gala and a fantastic time. The Interclub is quite interesting as it allows some strategy via mixed relays, two boys and two girls from each age group compete across the medley relays. We also had a series of individual swims, as well as a good old fashioned mixed cannon relay at the end.By and large we gave a great account of ourselves finishing seventh out of 11 teams. Many swimmers swam up an age group to fill spaces and did brilliantly. Many PBs were recorded, some cracking races against other clubs and we picked up two event wins, which is the first time that has happened for a long time. Swimmers of the day, on account of their race wins go to Harry Noble and Tia Crews for the 100 freestyle and 50 freestyle wins respectively. Special mentions to Joseph Brady and Jodi Le Page for waiting so long for their races, and Jasmin Coleman, Lauren Howard and Aiden Symons-Brown for swimming out of age group.
The final regional competition of the season was held at the GL1 facility in Gloucester, with five DRSA swimmers who qualified for the main championships, but not for Nationals taking part. Andrew Keeler, Aiden Symons-Brown, Joseph Brady, Tia Crews and Jessica Stewart all raced, and raced well. The competition is a little different, each swimmer has to swim all four 50m events and the 100 IM, which then wins them points that tally up at the end for an overall winner.By the time the gala finished, there were PBs across a number of events for Tia, Jess, Joseph and Andrew, with one or two exceptions where times were missed by fractions. Aiden had a huge huge test of character, after his first ever DQ, which was more a result of not concentrating than anything else, he got straight back in determined to make amends and was unlucky to be DQ'd again. Double the test! He did however rise to it, skimming his PB on the 50 free before taking two seconds off his 100 IM. Big day for the guy, and a big and well performed response. Huge credit to Jess who hit a PB in everything, and Joseph Brady as well who carted home a number of them and both are starting to demonstrate more maturity in their racing and preparation. Tia was her normal self, and it's easy to not realise how well she is doing when she's constantly in heats with girls who are years older than her, but despite one slip on the 50 backstroke, she didn't put a hand or foot wrong all day.Andrew warmed up for the English Para Championships with a good day across all events, while he competes in the S14 category, it's tough for him to compete in regular age groups as he did for this event, but ignoring positions he was a fantastic competitor all day long, and beat a number of his PBs.
Cornwall and Devon League Round 3
We wrapped up the Cornwall and Devon League campaign with two galas one for each team. HS2 went first, competing against Penzance and Okehampton with North Cornwall a no show. This was a gala that was made for our second team, and we had a great time racing the other clubs. Charlie Pitt took a little piece of history home with him becoming the first swimmer to win a race for HS2, and his relay team backed that up by adding more wins themselves. We eventually finished second to Penzance, but by beating out Okehampton was its own small piece of club history as our second team claimed its first scalp. Eventually HS2 finished 16th out of 18 teams on the league table, quite an achievement for the team, and the club to be one of only two clubs fielding two sides. Well done everyone!Male swimmer for HS2 Was Charlie Pitt for claiming the team's first win, and female swimmer was Chloe Stanley after she endured a long and difficult day with a lot of races! Well done both! Honourable mentions to Lois Phillips who also had a hugely cramped programme, and masters swimmer Rochelle Hughes who made her debut for the club. Liam Ward, Jon Christie, Nathan Gallagher, Harrison Carrick and Alex Christie were also fantastic.What a gala for HS1. Competing against perennial rivals Tavistock, who brought a number of surprises along to mix it up as well as St Austell/TR1, Paignton and Carn Brea. It was a cracking gala, and we eventually finishes third behind Paignton and St Austell. Huge credit again goes to our big hitters who were in phenomenal form, Harry, Joseph, Finley, Aiden and James ruled their age groups, while in the girls Tia, Jess, Lauren, Jodi and Beth all did the job. HS1 finished 8th out of 16 teams in the final standings, and that's a great bar to try and beat next year. Well done everyone! HS1 male swimmer of the day was Joseph Brady for swimming through the pain of injury for the team. And HS1 female swimmer of the day was Rhiannon Davies, who jumped in to race the girls 100 freestyle without a warm up or racing suit on short notice. You were great! Honourable mentions to the Stewart sisters who were fantastic, Pheobe, Harry, Finley, Chris and Charlotte.
Plymouth Leander End of Season Meet
The season's final event for a number of our swimmers came in the form of the Leander end of season long course meet. Pheobe Stentiford kicked off the weekend with the 800 Freestyle on the Friday night, the first time she has undertaken this event. She swam amazingly well, paced exceptionally for someone who has never done the event before and learnt a lot leading into the rest of the weekend.Day 2, or day 1 for all but Pheobe and the PB and medal rush began. All swimmers took home at least one PB and medals flowed for Finley, Leighton, Aiden, Ella Louise, Stan Langmead, Tia, Charlie (with an incredible 100 Brs it has to be said!) and Ethan. But the gala was more than medals and PBs and some of the stories and laughs were the best part of it. Attempting to sign a GB flag by each member of the team resulted in a nasty permenant marker stain on the PLC tiles (we cleaned them before anyone noticed), Tia almost getting DQ'd but somehow not getting DQ'd on the 200 IM, Stan Langmead swimming in the wrong heat, Finley Bowden beating Jo Brady by 0.01 of a second in the 100 free to steal a bronze medal from him, before both boys swam identical 50 freestyles the next day to sum up the definition of close racing, Pheobe, Emma, Abi and Georgia all racing in the same heat in lanes right next to each other in the race of the weekend, and Sophia King blowing us all away with two incredible races and huge PBs that puts her right back amongst the other girls in the age group again. What was most pleasing is what the medal table won't show, and the swimmers who a few months ago were finishing 16th/17th/18th were now beginning to hit 6th, 5th, 4th and just miss the medals. It's a improvement and I'm convinced that with time those 4ths, 5ths, 6ths will become 1st, 2nd and 3rds. Keep it up, great season!
A Huge Number of Thank Yous!
Through these galas there have been a number of people behind the scenes and on poolside helping with the smooth running of the events and the team. I'd like to thank Alan Stoneman for his frequent officiating at galas for the club, John Chilton and Jan Daly for volunteering as warm up marshalls and swimmers marshalls at galas, Tony Symons-Brown for team managing at Cornwall and Devon league, Tony Davies and Jacqi Chalmers for assistant coaching at the Cornwall and Devon League. Louise, Izzy and Rhiannon who always help out where they can at every gala. Rebecca Hingston and Joseph Brady for their help on poolside during the Development gala, as well as Aiden Symons-Brown who filmed a lot of races for us. Huge thanks go to Karen Crews who continues to go above and beyond in her role as competition secretary, team managing, booking hotels for the team, filming races, assisting with other clubs running of events and generally being on hand to assist with anything we need. Thank you to John Chilton and Harry who both assisted on poolside at the PL open, and everyone behind the scenes who continues to coach, teach and push the club forward. What a season!
4 June 2016
By Iain Chalmers, Head Coach
Seven days of racing, across two different events in three of the South West region's most impressive 50m racing facilities, and seven Devonport Royal swimmers competing against the best the West has to offer. I'll break down swimmer by swimmer how the gala went rather than a chronological report for this one:
Andrew is Devonport Royal's leading S14 category athlete and competed in the Youth Championships at the end of April, beginning of May event. Competing across a huge number of events, Andrew took PBs, qualifying times for the National Summer Para Championships and a bronze medal in his 100m Breaststroke. The highlight for Andrew and for me one of the most beautiful stories to come from a sport that creates so many was his meeting of his hero, Plymouth Leander and Team GB's Ben Proud. Ben was kind enough to spend some time talking with Andrew, and gave him one of his named Team GB hats as well. Nothing that Ben ever does in the pool will impress me more than what he does outside of it, and I'm sure the rest of Devonport Royal will join me in wishing Ben every success at the Olympics this summer. Andrew will definitely be cheering you on! Next step for Mr Keeler is the Regional Fast 5 gala in July and then National Para championships in August!
Among the Best in the WestSix of our magnificent seven who have been competing at regional level
Jess Stewart is one of the newer swimmers to the club this year, and qualified to race in the 50 fly and 50 backstroke at the Devon Sprint Championships. Without much long course training Jess competed on the first day of the Youth Championships in Plymouth (I believe shopping was happening on the other two days!) and swam brilliantly. At this level, it is hard to final and even harder to medal and so position is irrelevant. The clock on both swims showed Jess had recorded new Personal best times in both events, underlining her continued improvement. Next up for Jess is a trip to Gloucester and the Regional Fast 5 gala. Wish her luck!
Joseph is an interesting one for me. I met him as a six year old at swimming lessons at Plymouth Pavilions, and he then spent some time in a pre squad group at Swimcats swim school with me. He then vanished to Belgium of all places for two years and I vanished to Australia and that was that. Rock up in August as the new coach and Jo Brady is at DRSA. At Plymouth Cities, he raced properly for the first time and if you haven't heard of his famous 100 fly yet - let him know, it's funny now. But, he went from strength to strength and has grown from city level, to county level and now regional level. And for me to see that transition from a six year old who couldn't swim horizontally to where he is now is great to see. He achieved two PB's in the 50 fly and 50 freestyle at the Plymouth Gala, the highest level of competition he has done, and that with nerves that seem to shake so much they could cause earthquakes it's not half bad. Josephs next step is the Fast 5 gala as well, and with his rapid rise, who could write him off?
Harry, Harry, Harry... It's easy to forget that Harry has only been back in swimming for 8 months after having two years out. We are so used to him winning races, medals, and steadily but surely improving that the step to this level was one he would have to make at some point. And what a learning experience. Competing in 50 free and back, and the 100 free and back Harry took four big PB's to move himself into contention for a place at the nationals this summer. He also took a place in the final of the 50 freestyle, finishing 6th overall. He also qualified as a reserve for the other three events, and was unlucky to miss out on final berths. But small things make a difference and he will have plenty to work on as he goes forward.
It is now confirmed that Harry will be competing at the ASA Summer Championships in August, his nationals goal realised - two months of solid training and then the red hat is at the National level. Good luck Harry!
Like Joseph I have coached Lauren for years now and so have seen the highs and the lows. She worked incredibly hard to qualify for this championships, going away to Ealing and Bournemouth to race in the 200 Breaststroke in order to qualify, and deservedly she did so. Racing across all three distances of Breaststroke she started in the first weekend at Bristol Hengrove in the 200, but was off her PB. After a rest, and a reset she raced the 50 in Millfield. It was at this point we worked out that Lauren's knee injuries have led to some changes in her kick, and that explained the loss of performance. Another rest, reset, chat and a long warm up of rebuilding the kick technique and Lauren delivered a much more controlled and measured performance in the 100 Breaststroke. She worked hard to get here, deserved to be and was unlucky with injuries. But she again proved her versatility and ability to adapt to find improvement and I couldn't be happier with her. Sometimes you have bad weekends, injuries and other circumstances happen and you just need to get up, brush yourself down and get ready for the next one and Lauren has proven a fine example of this. Well done Howard!
Some time out of open meets now for Lauren, as she hasn't entered the Fast 5, but we will look to race possibly at the end of July and then a good break to get ready to do it all again next September.
Two weeks before this gala, Tia didn't know she was racing in it. We entered her somewhat secretly and once confirmed the Tuesday night group signed a card to congratulate and tell her she was racing in regionals. It was a nice moment, and a very embarrassed Tia! But, roll on Bristol Hengrove and Tia competed in the 50 fly and 50 freestyle both on the same day. Despite nerves, no team mates on poolside with her and being a ten year old in an 11/12 age group, Tia PB'd straight off the blocks in her 50 fly despite a somewhat dodgy start! The real story came in the afternoon however, taking a mammoth two seconds off her 50 freestyle time. Tia finished 18th overall, beating a huge number of 12 year olds and every other 11 year old in the region. She won't get a medal for it, but she now sits at the top of the West in her age group - not bad really? Decent day's work. Good job!
Fast 5 next for Tia, wish her luck!
Aiden became a very busy boy. Doing his best Harry impersonation he qualified for the 50 and 100 back and freestyle, and duly PB'd in all four. Then qualified in all four finals, and then competed in them, going faster than his heat time in three of them. Aiden has been unlucky to not get the silverware this season to recognise how well he has done. He was an eleven year old in the Exeter gala, in a twelve year old age group so couldn't medal despite being quicker than the other 11 year olds, and he was desperate to make the podium in regionals. Unluckily he didn't, but his swims became increasingly mature, increasingly impressive and he appeared to learn a lot through both weekends. There's more to come from him, he won many fans from other clubs and there will be a lot of eyes on what he does in the future.
Next up as well is the Fast 5 - could he get his long-awaited medal there?
Thank you to everyone who raced, the parents who support their swimmers, Tony Symons-Brown and Liz Howard for helping me to and from some of the venues, and Karen for dealing with a thoroughly confusing entry system and her support throughout the competition.
Let's go DRSA!
Competing at Inter-Regional levelElla, Lois and Jasmin
31 May 2016
On Saturday 28 and Sunday 29 May three of our young ladies competed in the Inter-Regional U16 water polo championships in Liverpool. Ella-Louise Jones and Jasmin Coleman made their debuts for the South West, while Lois Phillips represented the land of her fathers, Wales. All three gained their first taste for water polo through the club's mini polo programme and put in some fine individual performances.
Both teams enjoyed mixed fortunes. The South West lost their first two matches before recovering to win their next five, losing out on a semi-final place on goal difference and having to settle for fifth place. Lois's Wales won four, drew one and lost two.
Efforts rewardedDenise Ward and David Manning receiving their awards
9 May 2016
At the Devon County ASA AGM held on Saturday 7 May, Denise Ward received the Volunteer Award for her role as League Administrator. Denise, who is a member of our Ladies water polo team, also collected the 2015/2016 League winner's trophy on behalf of the team.
David Manning was rewarded for his efforts with the award for Coach of the Year. David was unable to collect his award in person at the AGM because he was coaching our U17 team away in Newport and received it the next day at training.
Bronze for England internationalMini Polo coach Jordan with her Bronze medal
22 April 2016
Jordan Parsons recently competed with the England U17 girls' water polo team in the EU Nations Cup in Odense, Denmark, and returned home with a Bronze medal.
Jordan, who is a member of our National League team and also coaches our Mini Polo players on Wednesday evenings, "literally had the time of my life!" Jordan, who plays on the wing and pit defence for England, contributed eight goals as England qualified from their group with victories over Wales and hosts Denmark, before losing out to eventual winners South Africa in the semi final.In the third place playoff England were able to finish the competition on a high with an impressive 11-6 victory over Malta, who had beaten England in their opening group match.A Bronze medal is a fantastic achievement for Jordan, who only started playing water polo two and a half years ago, and just reward for the dedication she has shown. Jordan meets up to train with the England team once a month and also attends the occasional training camp.It is thought that Jordan might be the first Devonport member to win a medal representing their country. If you know otherwise, we would love to hear from you.
Far from home comfortsOur swimmers at the Exeter Level 1 Easter Meet in Millfield
30 March 2016
Far from the home comforts of the Plymouth Life Centre, and the nice afternoon gala starts a group of 8 DRSA swimmers picked themselves out of their hotel beds and made their way to the 50m pool at Millfield school for the Exeter City level 1 Easter meet, at the ungodly time of 7am!
The first of three sessions as a successful one. Aiden Symons-Brown was up first taking a PB and his regional qualifying time in the 50 freestyle. Jo Brady took a PB and a Regional consideration time in the same event, while Harry Noble took a PB as well as beginning his quest to become Devonport's first National swimmer in many a year.
The girls were next, Tia Crews taking a PB in the 50 backstroke despite a slip on her start. Mia Steele copied, taking a PB for herself and Izzy Abernethy followed suit with a PB of her own. Izzy finished her session with the 100 freestyle, recording a PB over her previous long course bench mark.
Harry stepped up first for the men's 200 freestyle, and the 50m pool took its toll. Swimming a strong, controlled first hundred, Harry tired in the second half of the race. After a reset, a swim down and a chat with mum, he reset and has got good experience of the event for Regionals in a couple of months time. Next, Tia, Mia, Louise an Izzy went in for their 50 fly, Mia and Louise competing in the first DRSA Vs DRSA race of the gala by swimming in lanes next to each other and both taking personal best times in the process. Izzy then did the same, but was just shy of her regional qualifying time but as a swimmer who has suffered injury problems all season it was a great effort.
As she has started to do so often now though Tia Crews stole the show, recording a four second personal best and taking a silver medal in her age group. As this is a gala that we are looking for times and experience, a medal is a huge bonus and very well won by Tia who didn't take it off all day!
With the day getting longer we reached the final one for day 1. Lauren Howard arrived having not been involved for the first two sessions, and promptly set about the women's 100 breaststroke. Having taken her regional time in the Devon Championships this was a no pressure event for her, and she went out fast, and held her pace well to chop two seconds from her long course personal best. Aiden, having had a long wait since the first race of the day was next with his 100 back. After a strong opening fifty, a bit of a wall collision with the wall lost him some time, but he still wiped out the regional time by three seconds, and has now qualified for three events in May.
Harry was the last swim of the day, and we often forget just how quick he can be on the 100 back. Just narrowly missing a medal, he set another long course PB and put his name in the current (and ever changing) top 50 in the country - now time to stay there!All in all, a fantastic first day for everyone involved and followed by a well earned team meal. We have a lot of good races to come tomorrow, in what will be another long stint on poolside.
After what can only be described as a fantastic evening meal and then a rather inconvenient loss of an hours sleep thanks to Daylight savings, we were up and back to the pool for the first session. After warm ups Tia Crews jumped up for the first Devonport race of the day, and as normal with Tia she didn't disappoint. After making herself nervous, her mum nervous and even myself nervous she went and hammered her short course personal best, and took a second silver medal home for her growing collection.
Mia Steele was up next, and secured her second personal best of the day with a fantastic swim and a huge smile stayed on her face for the rest of the weekend. Lauren Howard was next, also PB-ing but also winning my start of the day award for an incredible fast get away that saw her feet hit the water before anyone else's hands had! Louise Lecointe was next, also PBing in her second swim of the meet, narrowly missing breaking the 30 second barrier. Izzy Abernethy, feeling unwell was next but still took a personal best time over the long course format.
Aiden Symons-Brown and Harry Noble were next for their 50m backstroke. Both set personal best times with strong swims, and both hit their regional times once again. Mia, in the event that worried her most jumped in for a 200 back, and with an incredibly well paced swim justified all of the positive things she's been doing in training with a great PB and dispelled her considerable nerves - cracking swim Mia!
Harry, Aiden and Joseph Brady on a late entry then went in for the 100 freestyle. All three took PB's and Aiden secured his fourth regional qualifying time to cap a fantastic meet where he would have walked home with medals if not in an age group with older swimmers.
Session 2In session two we had a long wait through some distance events before Jo Brady closed in on his regional qualifying time in the 50 fly, securing the consideration time. It was a strong swim and a PB while disappointed not to secure the full time regional time, it caps a great experience builder for Jo which he will improve from.
The girls were next with Tia Crews taking a PB in her 50 breaststroke, Sophie Howard on a late entry then joined the team for one event hitting a PB of her own and closing in on her sister! Speaking of Lauren, who was in the next heat the elder Howard also took a personal best before Izzy Abernethy completed the full house of personal bests.
Session 3Session three started promptly, and Lauren was first up in the 200 breaststroke. She swam a strong time, beating swimmers who beat her earlier in the season, but wasn't happy with her swim. After a swim down, a calm down, watching a video of the swim and a chat she will agree that there is a lot she can take from the experience.
Mia and Izzy entered late entries for the 100 backstroke and in separate heats had a great duel on the clock. Izzy went out two seconds faster in her first 50 than Mia, but Mia's back end speed caught her back up to beat Izzy by less than a quarter of a second - and as per form, both girls took personal bests.
All in all we had a fantastic competition and weekend away. Huge thanks to Karen Crews, Tony Brown, Katrina Brady, Liz and Adam Howard, Mike and Sally Noble for ferrying the swimmers to and from the pool, assisting during the day and supporting the team and the competition so well.
In addition a huge thank you to Alan and Jeanette Stoneman who gave up their Easter weekend to officiate for the club. It is greatly appreciated!
Finally, while I could and do compliment the entire team for their conduct and representation of the club all weekend, and the way they swam my swimmer of the weekend goes to Mia Steele. Mia had a difficult Devon championships, but has trained a lot since, in public sessions, club sessions and worked extremely hard and smashed her personal best times left, right and centre this weekend. Well done Mia, keep it up!
Hope everyone had a great Easter weekend and stay posted for information on upcoming galas in the next couple of months.
Just keep swimming!Iain
Highlight teamSilver and Bronze for our girls 15-16 team
24 March 2016
The first weekend of March is a great one for DRSA!
Saturday 5th Devon Relays
After a couple of years of limited competing in this event, we entered a big team with swimmers competing in all but the youngest two age groups. For some swimmers, this was their first gala and to do it in a long course pool, at a gala where some of the best in the world, let alone the county, were swimming was the definition of being thrown in at the deep end!For the majority of teams this was an experience exercise, a chance to race long course, to be part of a team and to lay down a marker for future competitions. For out swimmers competing at Millfield later this month, this was a great chance to experience the long course pool and gain a rough idea of what to expect in a few weeks time. However, we had some incredible swims. Sophie Howard's Breaststroke leg of her 4 x 50 medley relay team was so unbelievable we had to wait until confirmation of her official split of 41 seconds, just two off her big sister, before we believed it ourselves. Tia Crews took a second off her short course PB from a month ago (Long course swimming is slower due to the loss of a turn), Harry Noble PB'd over his short course 50 free, as did Aiden Symons-Brown, Joseph Brady hit his regional time, Stan Langmead hit PBs, Jess Stewart, Manning, Ella Louise-Jones, Izzy Abernethy, Pheobe Stentiford, Leah Kelley, Leighton Short, James Coleman, George Davies the list goes on and on and on and if I'm not careful I'll be naming the entire team.The highlight team though goes to the girls 15-16 team of Jessica Stewart, Jessica Manning, Izzy Abernethy and Ella Louise Jones, who after claiming a Bronze medal in the 4 x 50 medley relay, went one better and took Silver in the 4 x 50 freestyle with a fantastic race against rival clubs that went right to the finish. Well done everyone, I'd name you all if I could - fantastic effort, work and support, you did us proud!
Sunday 6th Devon Sprints
Day 2 of our competitions was the Devon Sprint Gala, open to those who did not compete in a 50M event in the main championships. We had an overwhelming majority of swims that hit PBs. Those who didn't was by and large down to recovering from injuries and illnesses since the turn of the year, but those who have had a clean run all improved.
A quick rundown:
Jessica Stewart 3 Golds and a Bronze
Ella Louise Jones 1 Gold, 2 Silvers and a Bronze
Louise Lecointe 2 Golds 1 Silver
Rhiannon Davies, 1 Silver, 1 Bronze
Leona Kurihara-Allen 1 Gold
Dominic Dodds 4 Golds
Stanley Langmead 4 Bronze
James Coleman 2 Silver 1 Bronze
Jon Paul Davies 2 Bronze
All in all, a fantastic haul from Devonport swimmers in addition to personal bests from a large number of athletes.
Special mentions, Leona Kurihara-Allen, whose first event was her 50 fly, which was her first race for the club and Gold is not a bad return at all! Galarina Beriot, who took a set of straight PBs, Dominic Dodds who took four Golds from his first gala since returning to the club, and Sophia King, who as our youngest swimmer was often racing against older swimmers and competing very strongly!
Mount Wise Trophy, Plymouth Ski Centre Trophy
During the schools gala on Monday 7th, 68 DRSA swimmers took to the pool to compete for the men's Mount Wise Trophy and the women's Plymouth Ski centre trophy. Each team compromised an under 11 swimmer, and under 13, and under 15 and an open age group swimmer compromising a huge variety of ages, talents and abilities which really put on a show. From our regional athletes who have done so well in Devons, to the masters swimmers preparing for Europeans, to water polo players and even some of our junior development swimmers. It was great to see and congratulations to Harrison Carrick, Stanley Langmead, Leighton Short and Danny White who won the men's event, and Ella, Maya Ivey, Emma Chilton and Mia Steele who won the women's.
Well done all.
Just keep swimming!Iain
Primary BoysFrom left: Stoke Damerel (3rd), Goosewell (1st), Stowford (2nd), pictured with ASA President John Bird
Junior Boys, Primary GirlsTop row, from leftL Devonport High (1st), Stowford (1st)Bottom row, from left:Elburton (3rd), Woodlands (2nd)
Junior GirlsFrom left: Devonport High (3rd), Plymouth College (1st), Ivybridge (2nd)
Senior GirlsFrom left: Devonport High (3rd), Plymouth College (1st), Ivybridge (2nd)
Senior BoysFrom left: Heles (3rd), Plymouth College (1st), Ivybridge (2nd)
8 March 2016
By Robert Coleman
Our 2016 Schools Gala was another fantastic celebration of swimming, with the enthusiasm of both parents and children creating another great atmosphere at what is an undoubted highlight in our calendar.
This year the trophies were presented by Plymouth-based ASA President John Bird, whose grandson swims with the club and was part of the winning boys team, Goosewell.
The first schools up were the primary schools (Boringdon, Compton, Carbeile, Elburton, Pomphlett, Stoke Damerel, Stowford, Widey Court, Woodford, Woodlands and Yealmpton Farm), with the events swum in two heats and a final. In the primary girls' event Stowford A were clear winners, with Woodlands and Elburton also taking medals. The primary boys' event was probably the most keenly contested race, with Gooswell A winning Gold, but only one and a half seconds separating second to fourth places, with Stowford A taking silver and Stoke Damerel bronze, with Compton A an impressive fourth.
Next up were the senior schools.
The schools that competed were
Plymouth College, Devonport High School for Girls, Heles, Ivybridge and Notre Dame. The winners of the junior boys race were Plymouth College. The winners of the girls race were Plymouth College, who were followed home by Ivybridge and Devonport High.
The final two events were the senior events with Devonport High, Ivybridge, Notre Dame and Plymouth College competing in the girls' race and Heles, Ivybridge and Plymouth College in the boys' race. Both races were swum as straight finals. The girls' event was another close race with Plymouth College edging out Ivybridge and Devonport High. In the senior boys' event Plymouth College finished ahead of Ivybridge and Heles.
A huge Thank You goes to all of the swimmers, parents and volunteers who made this another excellent evening of entertainment.
8 March 2016
Two Devonport Royal Swimming Association swimmers were on Special Olympic duties this weekend.
Abigail Daly and Lewis Matti travelled to Yeovil for the regional swimming event.Despite the lack of warm up (2 lengths) and the standard of the pool (no diving blocks slippery and rough walls) the duo dealt with this admirably.The duo were only allowed to take part in 3 events at this sprint meet. They competed against Special Olympic clubs such as:
- Cornwall Specials
- Exeter and District
- Somerset Apache Steelers
- Cheshire Penguins
- Cardiff Charmelians
In the first race, 25m Freestyle, both swimmers gained a Gold, with Lewis nearly swimming out of the pool.In the second race, 50m backstroke, Abi gained another Gold despite getting anxious about hurting herself on the wall when she did the tumble, but with the offer of being filmed under water she did her tumble turn.
LewisGold in 25m Freestyle
Lewis was up against a friend and rival from Bude Sharks and secured a strong silver.
In the 3rd and final race, 50m Freestyle, Abi secured her 3rd Gold of the event in a wholly Devon versus Cornwall affair.Lewis again was against his friend and rival from Bude Sharks and Cardiff Charmelian and came 3rd in a very tight race.The duo then paired up with 2 Cheshire penguins to secure a 2nd place in a tightly fought battle against Cornwall Specials.Team GB Olympic and Commonwealth Swimmer Thomas Haffield attended taking the time to speak to all swimmers individually giving advise and support. He stayed right to the end offering encouragement and presenting the medals and certificates to all swimmers.A very good time in the pool and a hopeful call up to the South West swimming team for next years Special Olympic National Summer Games 2017 in Sheffield.
29 February 2016
Lauren Howard was DRSA's sole representative at the Level 2 Licensed Ealing February Open Meet in London, seeking an additional opportunity for Regional Qualifying times, and a weekend away!Competing in five events, she stormed to a six second PB in the 400 freestyle, an event that isn't her normal focus finishing in a 5.13.83 and taking 4th place. Using the 400 as a warm up, she then took a silver medal but just missed her PB on the 50m Breaststroke to cap a strong Saturday morning. In the afternoon, Lauren secured a 5th place in the 100 Butterfly, and then secured silver in the 100m Breaststroke, just agonisingly missing gold by 0.03 of a second!Returning for the Sunday events, she hit a PB in the 50 fly, securing 6th place before turning on the style in her focus 200 Breaststroke, taking the gold medal and a season PB of 2.56.72 - hitting the regional consideration time, and edging ever closer to the qualifying time she requires. Lauren's mum, team manager and coach for the weekend Liz commented that the Ealing February Open "is a lovely venue, at a good level and certainly a meet I'd encourage other parents to bring swimmers too next year!"It's one we will have to keep an eye on for next season! Well done Lauren!Just keep swimming!Iain
26 February 2016
Click here for the meet pack for the PL Easter Splash gala to be held at Plymouth College on 2nd April. This gala would be a fantastic one for any of our swimmers who are 13 on April 2nd. Its a chance to race locally, its cheap by gala standards and a chance to get some licensed times under our belts, and to get some experience racing for those who haven't before.
Swimmers who should consider entering are as follows:
- Any senior squad swimmers who will be 13 or under on April 2nd
- All of my junior squad swimmers who will be 13 or under on April 2nd
- Terry, Rebecca, Rhiannon and Ana's Junior development swimmers who will be 13 or under on April 2nd
- Any swimmers who swim with Sara and Alan, who are deemed ready to race by Alan and Sara.
There are no qualifying times or entry restrictions, and swimmers as young as 7 and 8 can enter this gala so its a great chance for a foot on the ladder for our youngest competitors, and a good chance to get some solid times for our older swimmers and so I hope the club can fully support this gala.
The entries need to be in by Monday 29th, so only a few days to get them sorted. Any questions, queries or concerns please let me know.
Entries can be handed to myself, Karen Crews or Paul Russell on poolside. The cost will be £3 per race plus £2 coach pass fee. The entry form is on page 6 of the meet pack, and page 5 has the programme of events for the day.
Hopefully see lots of you entering!
Just keep swimming!
Tia head and shoulders aboveTia is held aloft by delighted teammates following her fantastic swim for a Bronze in the 50m Freestyle
8 February 2016
After a certain coach overslept and John Wright took the team through the warm up, Harry Noble stepped up to record a now routine Harry personal best in the boys 100 IM, qualifying fifth for his age group final and taking five seconds off his time. It was a great start to the day. Mia Steele made her Devon's debut for the season next in the girls 200 back, despite illness and swam close to her PB with a spirited performance. Harry returned to the blocks, taking another PB in the boys 50 Fly and qualifying 5th for another age group final. New captain Joseph Brady then stepped up, slicing well over a second from his time in his first ever Devon's and hit his regional consideration time in the process. Jason Quiterio was next, putting in a strong swim on limited training, but just missed his personal best time.
With two finals, Harry first contested the 100 IM, but his sparkling form faded and he never quite recovered from a bad start to finish 7th and just miss his heats time. After a quick swim down to reset, he stepped up for the 50 Fly final but, perhaps eager to make amends, he was a little too eager for the gun and was disqualified for a false start. Accidents happen and so do DQ's - if two big personal bests, and two finals constitute an off session for Harry, spare a thought for the rest of Devon for when he has a good session!
In the afternoon session Lauren Howard led the way, on her focus 100 Breaststroke event and despite nerves finally took her regional qualifying time and a long awaited personal best, qualifying for the age group final in the process. Izzy Abernethy, Mia Steele, Tia Crews and Lauren Howard then contested the 50 Gly, Tia and Lauren recording PB's while Izzy, who has been hampered with injuries this season, and Mia, who was unwell, just missed out on topping their best times.
It left Lauren to contest the 100 Breaststroke final, and she just missed her heat time with a much more composed swim, to finish 5th in her age.
The final day of competition finally rolled round, and the day started strongly with Tia Crews setting a lightning time in her 100 IM, winning her heat with style and taking a place in only her second competitive final. Not being content with that, Tia then went into the 50 Freestyle, thrashing the field to qualify for the age group final in that as well, with a big personal best time.
Lauren, still on cloud 9 from her 100 brs final, was unlucky to miss out on a final, recording a PB and taking a reserve berth. A withdrawal in the championship final should have caused a domino effect which would have seen Lauren get a swim, but for whatever reason the call never came.
Harry, with a point to prove, contested the mens 50 Free, smashing his entry time to record a 26.10 and move into 4th in the age group final. Jason Quiterio, in the lofty heights of the final heat, swam a good technical swim, and on little recent training, was unlucky not to hit his personal best.
After a short break, Tia contested her 100 IM final, but, like her final in weekend one, she couldn't quite carry the heat performance into the final. Having missed her entry time, a quick reset, swim down and a lot of lucozade and she was quickly returned to the pool for her 50 freestyle final. Third time's the charm, and Tia took another half a second from her heat time, recording another PB and securing her first ever Devon medal, winning the bronze - and you can imagine the smiles!
Harry, in his final race of the competition then took on the final for his own 50 Free, managing to expel his final woes from day 5 and taking another PB on his way to a fifth place finish to cap what has been a fantastic championship where he has put the red hat in places it hasn't been for awhile. Andrew Keeler also competed on both days, racing in the S14 category he raced in the 50 Fly, 50 Freestyle and the 100 Breaststroke across the two days, taking a gold medal in each race and also recording big personal bests - the highlight being his 100 Breaststroke, which was a mammoth twenty seconds faster than his previous benchmark. Well done Andrew!
I'd like to congratulate all swimmers who competed on a fantastic competition, all of you have done things that I'm sure would have surprised you. We have had medals, finals, regional times, and big strides in national rankings. A large number of swimmers, parents, coaches and officials remarked on how well our relatively small team was performing and a number of you have made names for yourselves already! I'd also just like to mention and congratulate Scott George, competing for PL who every time I looked seemed to be racing in finals and having a great time - keep it up Scotty! In addition, a big thank you to John Wright, who was on poolside to assist Andrew Keeler, but also provided invaluable input to a number of our swimmers over the course of the weekends, and the training sessions leading into them.
Attention now turns for our regional athletes to prepare for that competition, while I cannot wait to see Devonport relay teams in the Devon relay competition in a month's time, and the Devon Sprints for those who haven't been part of the main competition. Also, keep an eye out on news with regard to the Schools gala, the Mount Wise Trophy, and Ski Centre Trophy competitions - we have something big planned!
Well done all, congratulations and thank you for your efforts.
Just keep swimming!
Our captains for 2016Right to left: Bethany, Rebecca , Joseph and Stanley
1 February 2016
I'd like to apologise for the delay in this vital club position being confirmed. Being new to the club as a coach there has been a lot to work through and a lot to catch up with and finally caught up with this one. So, I'd like to announce and introduce Rebecca Hingston as the girls captain for the second year in a row, and Joseph Brady as boys captain. Rebecca has a long history with the club and continues to train with the senior squad while assisting Terry with the Junior Development squad, and coaching her own sessions as well. Joseph is newer to the club, but has grown in stature as he chases his competitive goals and I feel has set a fantastic example this season for swimmers of all ages and abilities. In addition, Bethany Ward will be the girls vice captain, and Stanley Langmead the boys vice. Beth is the club's own international water polo player, but she also has become a fantastic swimmer and I hope will encourage athletes to embrace both sports. Stanley, I feel, epitomises the club with his effort and commitment not just in swimming but wider life and is proof that there is more to life than pounding up and down the lane!I look forward to working with all of them this year, and I'm sure they will represent the club magnificently!Just keep swimming!
Harry and LaurenSilver for Harry in the 100m Backstroke, Bronze for Lauren in the 200m Breaststroke
1 February 2016
After a strong opening weekend, where quality of performances outshined the lack of quantity of entrants, it was always going to be a tough weekend to follow. Session 1 began with Harry Noble and Lauren Howard, competing in the 100m Backstroke and 200m Breaststroke respectively. Harry was first up, hacking a mammoth five seconds off his entry time to record a 1.03.06 and qualify as fourth fastest for his age group final, mimicking his identical qualifying berth from the hundred freestyle on the opening weekend. Next up was Lauren, who having shifted her focus to shorter distances had nothing to lose in her previous specialised event. While, not managing to hit her personal best she did swim the fastest time she has swum all season with a fantastically controlled performance, qualifying third for her age group final. With two athletes in the finals, this already constituted a great day for DRSA, but Harry and Lauren set about the 'who can finish highest challenge' for the final. Lauren competed first, taking a second off her time to finish in third in the final following a fantastic race with her fellow competitors. Finally smiling, she gladly accepted her well deserved bronze! Harry stepped up for his 100 backstroke final and took the fight to the field, mirroring first place for the opening fifty metres before coming under attack from the third placed competitor on the back end. Holding on and putting in a fantastic final 25m Harry touched home second with a 1.02.92 and took a well deserved silver medal to win the aforementioned challenge!Fantastic from both of you!The afternoon session saw Andrew Keeler, our S14 champion and Aiden Symons-Brown contest the men's 50m Breaststroke. Andrew, under coach John Wright's guidance surged to a PB and won gold in the S14 category. Aiden however put in a massive four second personal best and qualified for his age group final, his second in two races and hit the regional championships consideration time.Like Tia in weekend one, and after missing his final in the first weekend Aiden had to quickly learn how to transition from heats to a final, as this was the first time he had competed in one. After a quick swimdown, a few costumes changes and a drink he was back on the blocks and was unlucky to go marginally slower on his second swim of the day. However, as a learning experience and racing experience it was invaluable, and Aiden should be proud of himself for his performance.
Day 4You just can't write off DRSA at the moment, and our athletes just keep hitting new heights. Andrew Keeler began our day, in the S14 category of the 200 freestyle. After a storming first 100m, Andrew tired but still held on to smash his previous personal best by a massive 5 seconds to win his third gold medal of the competition. Not to be outdone, the in form Harry Noble stepped up, slicing a mammoth seven seconds off his 200 freestyle personal best which he only set in October, and qualified fourth fastest for the boys 15 years final. Next it was Tia time, and Tia Crews delivered a three second personal best in the girls 10/11 50m Breaststroke, which was a time she only did in December. The swim was a fantastic improvement, and earned her ninth place in the age group and a first reserve berth for the final. Lauren Howard was next, and smashed the rest of her heat to set a 37.85 and qualify joint third for her age group final. It was a great performance and set us up nicely for a strong finals session. Harry went first, and performed in an incredible race against three Mount Kelly swimmers, with positions changing every length and Harry ranged from second to fifth throughout the swim before finishing in his starting berth of fourth, with another second PB. Lauren was next up, and also found herself in an incredible race with her peers, just being beaten into fifth but with more to come in the future and her regional qualifying time for the 50 under her belt. All in all, Devonport swimmers are performing fantastically. We have big PBs, finals, medals and above all swimmers who are conducting themselves and competing in a way that is a credit to the club. I'm immensely proud of all swimmers involved up to this point - keep it up!We have one more weekend of Devons left, and with the exception of Aiden who has finished his gala, look forward to seeing Harry, Lauren, Tia and Andrew racing next weekend alongside Izzie Abernethy, Mia Steele and Joseph Brady.Speak to you then! Just keep swimming!Iain
Top Team!Left to right: Alex Wilson, Rochelle Hughes, Iain Chalmers, John Wright (Coach), Galarina Beriot, Tyran Botha, Jason Quiterio (not pictured, David Manning)
26 January 2016
Saturday 23rd January saw a contingent of DRSA masters swimmers attend the annual Caradon Masters competition at Saltash leisure centre. Held over three short sessions, the gala was the ideal opportunity to set some times, reacclimatise to racing, or just do a lot of events for training purposes. I hope you will excuse me not giving a race by race account, there was just too many!
Click here to read the whole report.
18 January 2016
Day 1 couldn't have gone much better for the Devonport Royal contingent, with Aiden Symons-Brown and Jason Quiterio being the only two racing out of a small group of entrants.While Jason shaved two seconds of his entry time in the Men's 50m backstroke and just missed out on an age group final, he did secure a consideration time for regionals and hit his target time to qualify for the LEN European masters championships later this year.I'm sure Jason won't begrudge Aiden the role as star of the show, taking four seconds off his personal best in the 12/13 50m backstroke to set a 36.57 and qualify for the South west regional age group championships later this year. It was a fantastic performance, and Aiden will now try and qualify for further events later in the championships.Well done to both athletes!Day 2With only four entrants on one event each, it was a quality over quantity day for Devonport Royal. Jason started the day off with a 200IM, recording a 2 second PB on one of his more alternative events and was unlucky to miss out on the age group final. Two PBs in two days make for a good start to 2016 for Jason, as he focuses primarily on other competitions to come. Andrew Keeler was next up, winning the 100 freestyle in the S14 class, but just missing out on a PB. In his first Devon championships this was a good result, and coach John Wright was naturally optimistic about securing PBs in subsequent events now the initial excitement of his debut has subsided - well done Andrew!Next up was Harry Noble, recently recovered from a dislocated shoulder and having had to miss out on some training it was a lottery as to how he would fare. Harry being Harry, naturally qualified fourth for his age group final, and clocking an impressive PB of 56.14, a time which moves him into the business end of the British rankings for his age group. After a spirited final, Harry finished in his starting position of fourth and slightly off his heat time - but take nothing away from him, what a swim, what a performance!If the morning was all about the boys, it was Tia time in the afternoon and Tia Crews contested her first ever Devon Championship racing. Speeding to a three second PB on her 50 backstroke, Tia finished seventh in her age group and secured her first ever competitive final. After a stunning opening 25, Tia tired and just missed improving on her heat time - but a fantastic performance again from a young swimmer who continues to get better and better. A very satisfying weekend for the few swimmers competing and I look forward to seeing how much more success Devonport Royal swimmers can achieve in two weeks' time when the competition recommences!See you at training!Iain
Bristol & West League ChampionsSome of the ladies who contributed to the outstanding 100% win record
31 December 2015
Congratulations to our ladies' water polo team who have won the Bristol & West League for the first time. They completed the season with a perfect record of 14 wins from 14 games, scoring 180 goals in the process.
Click here to view the Bristol & West League tables.
On the riseTeam performance littered with victories
15 December 2015
The 2015 Arena League came to a strong end as Jessica Manning and Harry Noble, voted male and female swimmers of the day, inspired the team to a performance littered with victories, hard racing and a gala long battle with eventual winners Tavistock, to whom huge congratulations must go.
Jess was peerless in her performance, winning and lapping the competition in the open 200IM, before cruising to victory in the 100 breaststroke and butterfly, and then anchoring three relay teams to victory.
Harry was his normal impressive self, negative splitting and winning both his 100 backstroke and 100 freestyle to again demonstrate his dominance over his age group. He swam up to both open relay teams, and had a huge influence on the 15 and under freestyle team which claimed a victory.
Lauren Howard, Mia Steele, Kirsty Dinham, Pheobe Stentiford, Aiden Symons-Brown, Izzie Abernethy and Jessica Stewart all took individual wins, while the girls under 13 and under 15 relay teams took double victories, and the boys under 15 team took the freestyle relay. The ladies open cannon team rounded off the victories with a peerless performance to make Devonport Royal's open female team unbeaten this season and one of, if not the fastest team in the division.
Both Jess Stewart and Jodi Le Page made strong team debuts, Jodi a long term member returning to the team and Jess a new addition to the club, I look forward to including you both in the future!
Special mentions must go to Joseph Brady, Leighton Short and George Davies whose improvement and progress is simply staggering, to under 11s Scott George, James Coleman and Aiden Symons Brown who all swam individuals and relays out of their age group, Dan Crook who forced himself through sheer will power through three tough individuals, and Lauren Howard, Jess Manning and Kirsty Dinham who all battled with illness and fatigue throughout the gala.
I'd like to place on record my gratitude to Karen Crews for Team managing, Louise Lecointe, Rhiannon Davies, Galarina Beriot and her other half Matt for helping with split times throughout the gala and all the travelling parents who came and supported. I'd also like to place huge thanks in Alan and Melvin our officials who travelled with the team, and all of the people behind the scenes who help organise the events, officials and transport.
Despite our lowly league position due to the round 1 situation, I can only be proud of each and every one of you for competing in the spirit and manner which you did in all three rounds. As a club, we are on the rise, and you are the individuals who are pushing it. Keep it up, well done, Merry Christmas and let's get ready to continue pushing forward in the New Year.
Congratulations, one and all.
Experimental teamKeep swimming hard and keep those smiles!
16 November 2015
Lauren Howard and Harry Noble were voted the swimmers of the day by team mates and travelling parents for the National Arena League Round 2 which was held at Bristol Horfield leisure centre.
Lauren swam up an age group, yet still won the 15 and under 100 breaststroke and then completed a gruelling three 50s in the final six races to win her team mates votes. She also contested a busy programme of the open 200IM, the U13 freestyle relay, and both under 15 relays.
Harry, who has been going from strength to strength and no little confidence recently set a personal best time to touch second in the 15 and under 100 fly, anchored the boys 15 and under freestyle relay team to victory, and then demonstrated absurd levels of confidence to negative split his under 15 100 freestyle and take a comfortable victory before pulling the cannon team from fifth to third in his final swim.
The travelling team was very much an experimental side with key swimmers missing due to injury, other commitments and other club duties. But the swimmers who stepped up to the plate rallied brilliantly, competing against three strong B teams, a team who won in round 1 and our previous round 1 rivals Exmouth presented a tough competition, which resulted in the team finishing a commendable 5th.
Special mentions must go to Aiden Symons-Brown, Mia Steele and Scott George who all swam out of age group to secure valuable points for the team. And also a mention to Tyran Botha who took his young family via car to compete for the team. Congratulations to Lucy Rickwood, Sophie Howard, Georgia English and Kate Rainford who all debuted for this years Arena team and all left with smiles on their faces.
I could mention so many individuals here, but the team is what was most impressive. Despite a tough round, tough competition and tough circumstances I defy anyone who dares suggest that DRSA were not the loudest team in attendance, the best supported and the team that stayed cheering until the very last metre had been swum - when many of their competitors had already got changed and gone home!
Well done each and every one of you, again you have done yourselves and the club proud.
Thank you to Claire George, Paula Short, David Langmead and Jan Daly who travelled and assisted with the team - especially when the event caught up with me and I fell asleep on the coach! In addition thank you to all the other parents who travelled up individually to support, your voices and enthusiasm are greatly appreciated!
Finally, a big thank you to Rebecca Hingston for her fantastic team managing, and Louise Lecointe again for her recording skills! I'd be lost without you both!
Now we turn our attention to the Torquay Leander Sprint meet on December the 5th, and keep SATURDAY DECEMBER 12th Free in your diaries for round 3, where I am hoping to select the strongest team possible for the final round.
Well done again, keep swimming hard and keep those smiles!
André RobertsEnduring cold temperatures and jellyfish-infested waters
10 November 2015By André Roberts"The Channel is 21 miles as the crow flies, but with tides and currents someone attempting to swim will more than likely end up swimming 25-30 miles. I booked my channel swim back in October 2013 and started training with Devonport around about that time as well. My original slot was booked for the 5th September, although I did get a chance to have an attempt, it had to be abandoned due to one of the support crew on my boat falling ill.
After just under a month's wait, I was able to have another attempt with a different pilot (Stuart Gleeson CSA pilot) on the 4th October. I started my swim at 04:05 in the morning in the pitch black from Samphire Hoe, a few miles outside of Dover Harbour. The swim was tough, I had to swim through jellyfish-infested waters and deal with the cold air temperature. Eventually though as the day went on, the sun began to shine brightly and I started to really enjoy it. I eventually successfully landed on the beach in Wissant France at 17:16 in a total times of 13 hours and 11 minutes. It wouldn't have been possible without the support that Devonport gave me and inparticular my coach John Wright. Thanks so much for all the support, I've had a fantastic adventure and it's something that'll I remember for many years to come."
Well done André!
Introducing Tia CrewsOur City of Plymouth 50m Freestyle Champion
26 October 2015
Over the past two weekends 18 Devonport Royal swimmers have contested the 2015 City of Plymouth championships, performing fantastically as a team and individually. Personal best times, medals, age group titles and final appearances all fell to DRSA swimmers and please find a complete list of the teams success below.
There were a few stand-out performances that deserve mentioning. Rhiannon Davies took gold in her age group for the 100m fly and Jonathan Christie took gold in his age group for the 50 freestyle, while Tia Crews became a city champion for the first time in the 10 years 50 freestyle.
Harry Noble took two golds, in the 50 and 100 freestyle and backed that up with a championship final appearance and 6th place in the 100m backstroke, and also a final in the 100m freestyle with Jon Christie. Jon finished a fantastic second, and Harry fourth in the blue riband event.
While this quartet hit the top colours there were silver medals from Izzy Abernethy, Joseph Brady, Georgia McCoy, Jon and Harry, Aiden Symons-Brown and Jasmin Coleman. While bronze medals came from Izzy Abernethy, Galarina Beriot, Jon Christie, James Coleman, Lauren Howard, Lois Phillips, Aiden Symons-Brown, Harry Noble and Mia Steele.
While all the above set personal best times, so did Sam Burston, Georgia English, Kate Rainford (who provided some fantastic swims on a very busy programme), Alex Christie, Leighton Short, Felix Williams and Hannah Smith.
A huge mention must also go to Louise Lecointe who alongside swimming to personal bests herself, spent much of the competition assisting me on poolside as team manager, and did a fantastic job of it as well.
Find below the full list of medals and events, and photos of some of the swimmers with their awards.
Roll on Arena Round 2 and the next open meets in December.
Jonathan Christie (Gold 50 Freestyle, Silver 50 Backstroke, 100 Freestyle, Bronze 100 Backstroke, championship final 100 Freestyle & Silver medal)
Tia Crews (Gold 50 Freestyle)
Rhiannon Davies (Gold 100 Fly)
Harry Noble (Gold 50 & 100 Freestyle, Silver 200 Freestyle & 100 IM, Bronze 100 Backstroke, championship finals 100 Backstroke (6th) 100 Freestyle (4th)
Izzy Abernethy (Silver 50 Freestyle, Bronze 50 Breaststroke)
Jasmin Coleman (Silver 50 Freestyle, Bronze 50 Breaststroke)
Georgia McCoy (Silver 200 Breaststroke, 200 Fly)
Joseph Brady (Silver 50 Freestyle, Bronze 50 Fly, 100 Fly)
Aiden Symons-Brown (Silver 100 Fly, 100 BRS, Bronze 50m Backstroke)
Galarina Beriot (Bronze 100 Fly & 100 IM)
Lauren Howard (Bronze 200 Breaststroke)
James Coleman (Bronze 200 Breaststroke)
Lois Phillips (Bronze 200 Backstroke)
Mia Steele (Bronze 50 Fly)
Click here to view more photos of our medal winners.
Well done to our Mini Polo teamsOur "Minis" who took part in the 2015 Paignton Festival of Mini Water Polo
Introducing the winning teamFrom left to right: Rhys, Adam, James, Sam, Max and Asa
Our eldest team, the Devonport Destroyers (pictured right), returned home victorious from the 2015 Paignton Festival of Mini Water Polo. The team won all 7 of its games, including a thrilling 6-5 win against impressive hosts and runners-up Paignton.Well done to everyone who took part!
Mia, Lauren and LoisWearing the club colours with great effort and commitment and with the team in mind
11 October 2015
Dear all members,
I'd just like to congratulate the team that represented Devonport Royal in Saturday's gala. Everyone swam incredibly well, the effort in the water, the speed we were swimming and the support on the side was fantastic and many officials from other clubs commented on what a credit the team was to the club and the huge improvement we have made in such a small amount of time.
If all the swimmers who competed can let me know who their picks were for the top male and top female swimmer in the gala, that would be great. Some of you have already seen me and voted, but if you haven't and can email Paul or myself your two swimmers as soon as possible I can present the awards to the winners.
However, we had so many stand out performers it's hard to pick a man/woman of the match, but I want to make a special mention to a few swimmers - Aiden Symons-Brown and Scott George who swam up from their age group into the Under 13s, and in Aiden's case swam 7 races. Stanley Langmead and Georgia McCoy who tore themselves away from other commitments to race today, Jessica Manning who has been ill for the past week, Jason Quiterio who has had an arm injury, and Isobel Abernethy who has been nursing shoulder and back injuries yet swam through the pain. And a big thank you to Mia Steele who swam an event that she definitely, 100% did not want to do, but did so with great effort, commitment and with the team in mind. I appreciate it Mia!
Our U11 Boys Relay TeamAiden, Liam, James and Birthday Boy Scott
In addition to the swimmers, thank you to all the parents who leant the team their voices - your support was fantastic. And thank you to everyone who gave up their time to help run the event - Paul Russell, Karen Crews, Gary McCoy, Rob Coleman, Alan and Jeanette Stoneman, Melvin, Adrian Dinham, David Manning, John Wright and Tony Davies to name a few! The programme sellers, hat sellers and other parents who lent a hand, apologies to any volunteer I've missed out! You put on a fantastic event!
Now we turn our attention to the City of Plymouth competition, and then Arena League round 2. For all swimmers who missed out on a place on Saturday, keep working - the team is not fixed and I will happily time trial anyone who wishes to gain a place in the squad. For those of you who were, keep working hard, there are other swimmers who want to be on the team as well!
Congratulations everyone on a fantastic competition, a fantastic day and a fantastic result.
You can without exception, be proud of yourselves - I certainly am!
Click here to view more photos taken at Saturday's gala.
Introducing Abigail DalyOur latest national champion, with coaches Sara Bossom and Alan Stoneman
15 September 2015
Lewis Matti and Abigail Daly recently travelled to Swansea to compete in the British Disability and Learning Difficulties Swimming Championships.With over 150 competitors from 33 different clubs, Abi and Lewis chose a high level for their first licensed competition. And early on in the gala Abi had a period of adaption to go through as she got used to a gala where marshalling was required.At just ten years old she was the youngest competitor and narrowly missed a bronze medal in the 50 Metre Backstroke, she followed this up with a silver in the 25m freestyle and a bronze in her heat in the 50m freestyle, finishing 8th overall. Her time would come however, and in the afternoon she stormed to gold in the 25m backstroke. A return of three medals in four races alongside personal best times is a fantastic result for a young lady racing against athletes who were up to double her age, and we look forward to more fantastic performances from Abi in the future!
Introducing Lewis MattiLewis Matti, the man who swam too fast, with Head Coach Iain Chalmers
Lewis Matti aged 17 also had a good meet obtaining personal best times. His joy at winning his 50m backstroke and breaststroke heats were dashed as he knocked more than 15% off his entry times and was disqualified for swimming too fast! He obtained a 3rd place in his 50m freestyle heat and obtained a personal best time for his 100m freestyle the following day. While Lewis was unlucky to be disqualified for speeding, no coach will ever complain about a swimmer going too fast so a huge congratulations to Lewis who is also a champion in our eyes, and we are sure he will win many medals in the future.Abi and Lewis have both joined Devonport Royal in recent months from the Plymouth Life Centre Operator led disability session, coached by Sumaya Towers. Since joining DRSA Abi and Lewis have been coached by Sara Bossom and Alan Stoneman, so huge congratulations to Sumaya and her coaching team, Alan and Sara. Well done all!
Plymouth swimmers reunionA few of the swimmers and polo players who turned up at the reunion on Saturday 12 September
15 September 2015
Swimmers and polo players with fond memories spanning at least five decades of time spent at Port, Leander and Devonport met for a reunion that took place on Saturday 12 September.Club rivalries were put aside as stories and photos were shared, while some of the polo boys even got to see a video of themselves in action in their prime.
A sample of the memories shared by the swimmers:
"The Barton Hall swimming camps, in particular the very cold swimming conditions at Wall Park Pontins camp in April and the breaking of ice."
"The swimming camp at Weston-Super-Mare Pontins camp where we went when the use of Barton Hall ended.""We always smelt of chlorine and the mere smell of it now brings back the memories.""Constantly having wet hair and sitting in school with plastic bags over my plaits."It was a really good night of catching up and memories and the date for the next reunion has already been set - Saturday 10 September 2016.
There was great interest in the polo video that surfaced, prompting requests for links to any more videos that we have to appear on our website. Click here to view a video of Devonport swimming action from 1988/9, the second half of the video is dedicated to the 1988 Breakwater Swim, a must view for anyone involved in local swimming at that time. And click here to view highlights of the 1989 Devon County U18 Water Polo Cup Final between Port of Plymouth (featuring Richard Harding of our men's water polo team) and Devonport.
Great News - New Head CoachOur new Head Coach Iain Chalmers
17 August 2015
By Paul Russel, General Secretary
Great news, despite the sudden loss of Hannah, we have appointed a Head Coach to replace her. Some of you will know Iain Chalmers as he both swam and taught for DRSA, but many will have no idea who he is so I below are a few details.
Iain's competitive swimming
Trained within a number of programmes, UEA City of Norwich, North Norfolk Vikings, Plymouth Leander, Devonport Royal, Woden Sharks (Australia), Exeter City & Tavistock SC. Two British Masters Titles, medallist at regional Level, Regional Sprint championship title, multiple times Devon Country Champion, City Championships and Record holder. BUCS Team Championship Division 3 Champion, BUCS Short Course Semi Finallist and Marjon Sportsman of the year Award 2013
Swimming - Coaching.
Iain's coaching experience
Voluntary Coach with Devonport Royal for two years
2010-2012 and Marjon, Marjon Coach of the Year award 2012. Colours, half Blue and Blue honours awards with Marjon for coaching and commitment to sport. Swimcats Development squad head coach, coaching experience in Australia.
Good Luck Hannah!Head Coach Hannah Ball is waved off by some of our youngsters
1 August 2015
Friday 31 July was a sad day for DRSA as we said "Good bye and good luck!" to our Head Coach Hannah Ball.
After six years of swimming with with us and two years as our Head Coach, Hannah thanked "all those amazing people who supported me and gave me many memories to remember in years to come!! Love you all and see you all again soon. Good luck."
We in turn wish Hannah good luck and all the best and in her coaching career.
Fingers crossed for Sarah
Our Masters swimmer Sarah Poplar, who will be attempting to swim the English Channel in memory of her father. Donations can be made via Justgiving.com/sarahpoplar
19 July 2015
Next week our Masters swimmer Sarah Poplar will be attempting to swim the English Channel. Here Sarah gives an insight into her preparation:
Seven years ago I took an interest in outdoor swimming, taking part in a wetsuit swim of 3km off the Somerset coast. A year later I took off the wetsuit, and now I am attempting to swim the English Channel.
The English Channel is 21 miles 'as the crow flies', but inevitably the course is longer due to tidal influences and generally takes an 'S' course across to France.
There is a 'tidal window' of 7 days to pick a safe day to cross, determined by the boat pilot. Winter training is done in the pool, banking the hours of interval training. In April, when the temperature got to around 9 degrees celcius, the acclimatisation started, 15-20 minutes at first and then gradually doing more and more as it started to warm up.
Over the spring and summer, training swims built in duration and distance, hour on hour until about 4 weeks ago I did a 'split channel', covering the channel distance over two consecutive days, taking around 13 hours. The training and time needed is quite intense and tiring, one of the enjoyable bits is trying to maintain a good calorie intake, losing weight and therefore insulation is not good!Finally, with my swim only a week away, I have tapered training distances, doing just enough to keep everything loose. The nerves are building and the excitement along with it. Fingers crossed!
I am swimming in memory of my father who died last year of bowel cancer and for those who would like to donate you can find me on Justgiving.com/sarahpoplar
A Thank You from Sarah"Thank goodness for that! I made it to France in 14 hours. Thank you John, Tony, André and all the club for their support."
UpdateCongratulations to Sarah on becoming the latest member of Devonport Royal to swim the English Channel. Sarah swam the Channel on the 30 July in 14 hours.
Click here to read The Herald's extensive report on Sarah's fantastic achievement.
Medals of all coloursJames, Jasmin and Scott show off their medals
25 June 2015
Our competition season continued with a healthy showing at the Devon Development Galas held at the Life Centre on the 6, 7 and 13 June. 13 of our young swimmers made an impressive contribution to an enjoyable meet, coming away with 10 medals of all colours and a host of PBs.
The most eye-catching performances were probably those of Scott George, who was delighted with his full set of Gold (200 Backstroke), Silver (200 Freestyle) and Bronze (400 Freestyle). However, Scott's story at this meet was also one of what-ifs, with disqualifications costing him 2 Golds and 1 Silver.
Scott's great friend and rival James Coleman produced probably the most astonishing performances of the DRSA swimmers. With just a couple of training sessions under his belt following a 3-month rest due to injury, James turned up just for the experience and with no expectations. James amazingly won Gold in the 200 Breaststroke on the first weekend, before taking part in the 400 Freestyle one week later. With Scott in Lane 0 and James in Lane 1, the pair were inseparable for the whole 16 lengths, with James pipping the in-form Scott by one hundredth of a second to claim Silver.
Jasmin Coleman was not to be outdone by her brother and claimed Gold in both the 100 and 200 Breaststroke and a Silver in the 100 Freestyle, while Isobel Abernethy rounded off the medal count with a fine Bronze in the 100 Backstroke and a medal for 5th place in the Skins event.
There were also many PBs for our other athletes; as well as the above swimmers, PBs were achieved by Tia Crews, Georgia English, Toby Marks, Mia Steele and Phoebe Stentiford. Special mention on the PB front has to go to Lois Philips, though, who achieved PBs in all 7 of the events she entered, a fine consolation for just missing out on 2 medals with 4th place in the 200 Breaststroke and 100 Backstroke. Aiden Symons-Brown, meanwhile, achieved a fine 4th place in the 200 Breaststroke as well as 2 PBs.
Hannah was very pleased with the team's performance. She had special praise for Isobel Abernethy, who became the first DRSA swimmer to qualify for the Skins event since she became Head Coach in 2013. Hannah was delighted with the "cracking PB" Izzy achieved in the event. Hannah was also delighted for Georgia England, who was taking part in her first Level 2 meet: "Georgia swam fantastic, pulled out strong swims for her age group and achieved times that she can build on for the future."
Successful relay teamFrom left: Terence Li, Shun Wan, Kwun Wong and Isaac Lam
24 June 2015
Devonport Royal Swimming Association's Masters team continued their excellent season at the recent British Long Course Championship held in Manchester. Devonport made the long journey with a small squad of just 5 swimmers but managed an impressive haul of 6 medals, including two Gold medals.
Devonport's squad included regular swimmers David Smith, 60 and Terence Li, 22 (also a University of Plymouth swimmer), who were joined by University of Buckingham student Issac Lom, 21 and Kwum Wong, 19 and Shun Wan, 20, both visiting from Hong Kong looking to gain some racing experience.
The relay team featuring Li, Lom, Wong and Wan won a gold in the Men's 72+ age group, 400 meter freestyle relay in a time of 4:13.51 and in the 800 meter freestyle relay in a time of 10:04.37. The relay team followed these Gold medals up with a Bronze medal in the Men's 72+ age group, 200m medal relay which saw Terence Li set a new Personal Best time for his 50m Backstroke in a time of 32.81. The team finish with a time of 2:04.71 an impressive 4 seconds ahead of the fourth placed team.
Individual glory came from David Smith in Men's 60-64 age group in the 50m Breaststroke and Backstroke. Smith appeared to be the master of the tight, winning the Silver medal in the 50m Backstroke in a time of 35.68, 0.01 of a second before the third placed swimmer Eddie Riach from Milngavie and Bearsden. Smith also finished second in his favoured event, 50m Breaststroke in a time of 36.52 again, beating the third placed swimmer, Graham Pearson from Carlisle Aquatics, in 0.01 of a second.
Andrew KeelerWinner of 4 medals at the ASA South West Championships
9 June 2015
Andrew Keeler recently competed at the South West Championships at the Life Centre where he achieved great success in his first 50 metre competition.
Andrew, who has a Paralympic S14 Classification, received a Gold medal for 100 metre Freestyle, Silver for 50 metre Freestyle, Silver for 100 metre Butterfly and Bronze for 200 metre Freestyle.
Andrew competed over 2 days and was delighted with his results. He achieved a personal best time in the 50 metre freestyle and said he really enjoyed racing in the 50 metre pool. He has now stepped up his training and his next competition is the 50 metre Sprints to be held in Gloucester on Sunday 5 July. We wish him luck and look forward to hearing how he gets on there.
Baku boundBethany will be representing GBin the European Championships.
31 March 2015
Beth Ward, our GB U17 Ladies Water Polo player, is to travel to Baku, Azerbaijan, in June with the rest of the team to take part in the European Games.
The GB team qualified for the games in Nice recently, coming second in a qualifying group consisting of France, Switzerland, Portugal and Czechoslovakia, losing only to the French.
The Water Polo tournament for the European Games runs from the 12-20 June in Baku and will feature the top twelve female and male teams in Europe.
It was a busy build-up to the qualifying tournament for Beth, since the February half term she has represented the South West region in the ASA Inter-regional championships in Walsall, where she was voted the team's most valuable player, she then went to Germany with the GB squad for a training camp, followed, a week later, by a four-nation tournament in Slovakia.