Lots to celebrateWell done everyone - keep up the good work.
6 June 2017
Big congratulations to Devonport Royal swimmers who have been selected for a number of events around the country.
- Harry Noble has been selected for the British Swimming Summer Championships, he will contest the 50, 100 and 200 freestyle and backstroke and the season finale event in Sheffield in July.
- Harry has also been selected to represent a Swim England South West team in a competition in Zagreb, Croatia a few weeks before the British Championships. He will race over 50 and 100 freestyle and backstroke for the South West and will be the first swimmer to gain international experience from Devonport Royal.
- Tia Crews has been selected to attend a Swim England South West Development camp, the first step for her on the England Talent pathway. The three day camp will begin in July, with further days in later in the year.
- Abigail Daly, Andrew Keeler and Cameron Vearncombe (Second claim DRSA, first claim Caradon) have all qualified to compete in the Multi Class events at the Swim England Summer Championships in the first week of August.
- Abigail Daly has also been selected for a Swim England Multi Class talent camp in Nottingham, where she will spend a weekend receiving additional training and experience. This is her first step onto the national multi class pathway.
Lots to celebrate at Devonport Royal at the moment, well done everyone and keep up the good work!
Best Regionals in the club's historyMeet our Regionals swimmers.
5 June 2017
The month of May is reserved almost exclusively up and down the country for Regionals, and the South west is no exception. Last season DRSA had seven qualifiers for this championships, but this year while we had 16 qualify, only 12 eventually took to the pool as exams, injuries and other commitments thinned the herd. Competing over three weekends, the group who competed made this the best Regionals in the club's long history, and showed plenty of evidence to suggest that in the future, it will improve further.
This is just the start!
Emma debuted at this level, competing for the first time this season at county level and working hard to get her regional consideration times, Emma qualified to enter the 50 freestyle and the 50 backstroke, but was unfortunately rejected from the latter. So with just the single event and overwhelming nerves, she managed to gather her composure and step up. It's not an easy level, and at 11 years old it can be a difficult adjustment but Emma did extremely well to be able to set a PB in the 50 freestyle, and come away with a smile and experience of the level. Emma now knows she can compete at the Regional level, and that hard work and training with purpose works - she now has until next year to step up further, to more events, more confidence and more success. Well done!
What a couple of months Tia has had. After starting the year on fire with awesome times at Devons, and then breaking the 30 second barrier in the 50 free at Easter, her shoulder injury finally demanded a closer look and she was restricted to kicking in training with very little arm action. Having to withdraw from some events and be careful rather than swim to her instincts, an outside observer might question what was going on. In fact, she was learning some very hard lessons, and swimming out of her skin despite the injury and the lack of training. Tia claimed four finals, in the 200 backstroke, the 50 fly, free and backstroke as well. The 200 Iain made her swim to a low stroke rate to protect her injury, and she managed it despite her natural competitive instincts. It wasn't a fast time, but it was a demonstration of her maturity and ability to adapt. The 50 backstroke final was another hard lesson for swimmer and coach, as a misunderstanding pre race led to Tia using the wrong strategy, and resulting in another setback (Iain's fault!). Brushing herself down, she stepped up again on the final day, putting earlier disappointments and frustrations behind her to PB in the 50 fly despite the injury and finished 7th in the final going faster again. She then tackled her 50 freestyle, and although being a second off her best (which is unsurprising) she still finished fourth in the final, and with her PB at easter not being beaten she is still the best in the west. It's been some hard lessons for Tia, and now she has team events and low pressure competitions until the end of the season - and time to recover, heal her injury and come back fighting with a lot more experience than she did before. Good job T!
Leila is a newer addition to the team, and she qualified for the 50, 100 and 200 freestyle. Being rejected from the 50 she was left with the 100 and the 200, one in Bristol and second in Millfield. She started well, swimming to her PB in the 100 free and finding things to work on for the 200. Learning some strategy, she executed the 200 very well, falling back initially but saving herself for the last 100 which she picked up to haul in her heat competition. It's a good start for a newer swimmer to the club, and with time and adjustment to her new surroundings there is much more to come from Leila!
Abi competed for the first time as an S14 multiclass swimmer in Regionals, and starts down a different pathway to the regular category swimmers. This means while Abi has access to the competition, she also is now competing against different swimmers and so success is different to measure. While she walked away with three gold medals, she did have to ensure that she beat her personal best times to earn them. It's a good system, and Abi obliged with three out of four PBs to pick up her medals. She has earned a place at the England Para swimming camp in June for her efforts, and will likely be able to contest national levels of competition next season as she follows in Andrews footsteps. We will also hopefully see Abi competing in regular categories as well in lower level competitions, as she learns more about race craft and takes on the regular category swimmers to improve her own skills. Well done Abi.
Jessica Stewart, who often pretends she isn't too concerned with swimming was a late but welcome addition to this year's regional contingent and she had probably the best competition shes had all season (and after Cities, and Devon's that is saying something). Picking up a PB in the 50 fly was a good start, and although she is still one of the fastest around over 40 metres, she just needs a little more work on the final ten. The backstroke didn't go to plan, but unlike the normal Jess, she didn't let it get to her to come back the next day and contest the 50 freestyle. She put in a fantastic swim and was unlucky to miss the final by only 0.1 of a second to underline her stature in the south west. Good job Jess!
James, has always first and foremost been a water polo player and his surge to Devon gold was the first time he realised his abilities in swimming were just as impressive as his abilities in the Polo pool. He hadn't raced in a gala at this level before, nor long course and so approached the gala thinking of finals and further success. He swam well, no debate about that but he realised over the 50 and 100m, there was a step he needed to take in order to achieve his ambitions at this level. Two long course times, not far off his short course times and PBs when converted was a good return and James can now use this experience to build up ready for next season. The talent is there, it's now over to him. Well done James!
Finley made his own long course debut at this level, having raced short course at regional's at the end of 2016. Swimming in the 50 and 100 breaststroke, 50 back, 50 fly and the 200IM. He set new marks for the 50 backstroke and the 200IM but was just off his times from Easter in his other events. Long course swimming is a different animal to short course, and improving over a short space of time from Easter to the end of April was always going to be tough. So a good start at Regional level for Fin, and he will now be able to get ready for the Regional Sprints and make an impact there. Good job!
Jack learnt the hard way that a trip around the country with your mates for a couple of weeks, missing training, two weeks before regional's is a bad idea. There has been a learning curve for him this season, and that was in evidence as he laboured through his events, setting down early markers for his new focus which would have to be the end of window gala, the Harwich Cup. It was a start, and a learning curve and Jack is having to adjust from the way swimming works in his native Malaysia to the UK and Plymouth. He's getting there, and this was an important step on that long road and qualifies him as well for the Regional sprint gala.
Charlie, like James entered this competition with confidence but without the experience of the level. He swam well, recording a good 50 breaststroke and a good 200 in which he was unlucky not to make the final. Learning throughout the week, he swam the 100 the weekend after and his time, converted dipped under his short course PB. So, for Charlie this championships was about learning, experiencing the standard in the South West and discovering what he needs to do to match it. For his first long course gala, it has been a good return and his confidence and competitive nature will get him to that level. Watch out for him next season and at Regional Sprints.
Aiden Symons Brown
Always the bridesmaid! Aiden can't catch a break for love nor money, he competed in 8 finals throughout these championships, the 50,100,200 freestyle and backstroke, the 100 fly and the 200IM. In all but two finals, he found another gear, going faster in the final that he did in the heat. Going from 6th and 5th to 4th. But try as he might, he was horribly unlucky to not make it into the medal paying positions. He was stopped by hundredths of a second on the 100 and 50 freestyle, similar on the backstroke events as well. While it does keep him hungry for success, you can't help but feel for a swimmer who is ever improving, getting faster and thoroughly deserves more than what he has currently been able to achieve. There are no handouts in swimming, and Aiden will need to continue to work and continue to improve. He's already beating swimmers who bested him last year, and his journey still has a long way to go. As a testament to his success, he was even in touching distance of qualifying for Nationals this year, even though he is a 13 year old in a 14 year old age group. He's got next year to make that happen, but to come so close so soon is massively impressive. Bring on Sprints!
This time last year, Harry struggled with Regional's. While Club, City and County level offered him success, the step up to facing the best in the west was a big one, and looking back at his first season returning to the sport as a whole, this gala was the one that defined the year and allowed him to make great strides. Fast forward to 2017, with an appearance and medals at Nationals, regional short course success and a place on the England talent pathway, Harry is a different animal to the Harry of 12 months earlier and he set about his six events with a confidence that wasn't present this time last year. He picked up five medals, beaten into Silver and Bronze in the 100 and 50 freestyle respectively, it was the backstroke events where Harry made it look easy. Winning the 50 back on Day 1, before adding the 100 and 200 in extremely convincing fashion. The combination of the home pool of the life centre, the new start steps and his ever growing confidence saw him leave the rest of the region for dead. It's on to Nationals now, British this time rather than English, another step up and another part of this journey. With some very high rankings, who'd dare bet against him?
Shoulder injuries, lack of long course experience, trips around the UK, tenths of a second and such pale in comparison to the bad luck of Mr White. Danny qualified for the 50 fly, but was unable to participate due to having his finger trapped in a door which required surgery. We wish Danny a speedy recovery, and look forward to him qualifying again next year and next year, being able to race as well!
Best in the WestFrom left to right: Millie, Seb, Evie, Max, Adam, James, George, Toby and Seth.
21 May 2017
By Robert Coleman
Another piece of club history was written on Saturday 20 May when the Devonport A team won the U13 tournament hosted at the Life Centre by the Bristol & West Water Polo League.
The event was very kindly sponsored by Everyone Active, who donated the pooltime so that funds could be raised for Chron's and Coltis UK and CLIC Sargent.
We entered two teams, and both teams gave their coaches and supporters plenty to smile about. Devonport A played fantastic polo throughout, beating Taunton Deane 22-0 and Barnstaple 11-0 before facing Cheltenham (arguably the most succesful water polo club in the country) in the group stages. Devonport A edged a close encounter 1-0 in which both defences were on top.
Meanwhile, Devonport B were demonstrating the depth of talent in our juniors with competitive performances. After taking time to settle into their rhythm against Newton Abbot, 1-8, the team rallied to beat Paignton 8-5, before just losing out on a semi final place against Weston Super Mare. Needing the win to progress, Devonport B throwed caution to the wind and conceded two late goals, going down 3-1 to the Somerset team.
In the semi final Devonport A beat Weston Super Mare 13-0, setting up a rematch with Cheltenham, who had beaten Newton Abbot 4-0 in the other semi final.
Devonport A saved their best performance of the day for the final against a very good Cheltenham side. In the first few seconds of the match, Toby Trickett set up James Coleman, who scored from close range. For the rest of the first half, the excellent Cheltenham goalkeeper thwarted numerous Devonport efforts, until George Barnicle unleased an unstoppable shot from far out on the left wing into the top corner of the goal with one second of the half remaining. The second half was a similar story, with Devonport again creating but struggling to convert their chances into goals, while at the other end goalkeeper Max Williams and defenders Millie Simon, Seth Harvey and Adam Greep were tremendous. It was not until the final second of the match that James Coleman fizzed an unstoppable shot from distance into the top left-hand corner to bring the tournament to a spectacular close and produce a final scoreline of 3-0 to Devonport A.
This tournament really did show the club in its best light. Thank you to Phil Garrad, Rachel Barnicle, Rachel Beadle and Wendy King for your work on the match table. Thank you also to Jasmin Coleman, Jessica Garrad and Ben Harding for selling sweets and collecting money for the charities. And thank you to the players of both teams for giving such pleasure and just reward to your coaches, Richard Harding, Dave Rostron, John Williams, Dave Manning and myself.
Finally, thank you to Everyone Active, the Bristol & West League and the referees for hosting a fantastic event.
Another successful weekendA Devonport Royal medal rush with medals of all colours.
19 May 2017
Apologies for the delay in the report, but it has been a long few weeks with a lot going on and Devonport swimmers of all ages on the blocks across the region and in some cases, the country.
The Easter weekend kicked off this mad rush of competitions, and Devonport had swimmers racing at two competitions. In Plymouth, we supported the competition held by our friends from Dinnaton Swimming Club and Caradon Swimming club. 2017 is the inaugural year for their Two Counties gala and we had 29 swimmers competing in a Level 3 short course competition. While races were underway in Plymouth, 8 swimmers travelled to Millfield to race in the Easter Long Course competition hosted by our friends from Exeter, and their partners Taunton Dean.
In Plymouth it was a Devonport Royal medal rush, with Gold medals coming from Alfie McSweeney, Oceana Dawdry, Alex Christie, Sarah Louis and Leila Botley. Silver medals were provided by Alfie McSweeney, Oceana Dawdry, Evie Hughes, Skyla Dawdry, Leighton Short and Leila Botley. Completing the medal haul, with bronzes were Alfie McSweeney, Danny White, Leighton Short, Yana Botley, George Davies, Leila Botley, Pheobe Stentiford and Georgia English.
The competition was host to many highlights for the club, with Lea Geddes and sisters Leila and Yana Botley making their debuts with Devonport Royal, other swimmers doing their first open meet and a huge haul of PBs to go with the medal positions, it can only be regarded as a successful weekend. Alex Christie qualified, raced and came second in the Skins event, a highlight of the gala and the Dawdry twins served up a treat with a 1-2 Dawdry and Devonport finish in the 200 backstroke.
While the Two Counties team made an impression in Plymouth, Captain Joe Brady led a Devonport team consisting of Tia Crews, Emma Chilton, Harry Noble, Aiden Symons Brown, Finley Bowden and for one day each (the other day they raced in Plymouth) Danny White and Kate Rainford. The idea of racing away from home was to enable the swimmers to attempt to get their Regional qualifying times, to practice racing for that championships in a long course pool and for some of them provide a chance to set times to enhance their chances of an invitation to the summer national championships.
At a level 1 gala, the competition is always going to be tough but medals were brought home by Tia (who ascended once again to the top rank in the region for 50 freestyle while dipping under the 30 second barrier for the first time), Harry and Finley. Emma took her regional consideration times, Joe Brady swam some of the most mature swims he's put together in recent seasons and Aiden climbed significantly in the rankings of his main events. Danny and Kate swimming a day each both got valuable long course experience and did themselves and the club credit.
It was a great weekend, facilitated by volunteers at both pools. A big shout out to Rhiannon, Rebecca, Nikki and Caroline for coaching and team managing in Plymouth, while another big shout out to John Chilton for assisting in Millfield, and the aid of Karen and Tony throughout the weekend. A big thanks to our officials as ever, and the parents volunteering to help run the marshalling of the competitions.
A big thank you, and congratulations as well to the clubs hosting the competitions, in both venues our swimmers had a great time.
Successful weekend7 golds and 3 silvers for Aiden. 3 golds and 4 silvers for Tia.
21 March 2017
Three Devonport Royal Swimmers, Harry Noble, Aiden Symons Brown and Tia Crews travelled to Bristol for the United Bristol Swimming Club Level 1 National Qualifier Open Meet. Falling on the first weekend of the National Qualifying window, where all swimmers across the country will have numerous opportunities to set times in Long Course competition to earn a position in the rankings to be invited to compete in this summer's national contests.
This meet really kicks off the Long Course season and so times are normally a little off what could be expected as swimmers adjust to the longer format and race out of taper and their peaks. For Harry, this was a meet that was to serve as a banker for later in the window, with comfortable top 25 rankings across his events his biggest threat is illness, injury and complacency and therefore an early window meet to get some times was the first step in the right direction. Competing in the open age group for this one, against stern elder competition he managed a solitary medal in the 20 backstroke, but otherwise lay down markers for the coming months as he prepares for the summer championships.
For Tia and Aiden, both swimmers are now old enough to qualify for the summer galas, but both are at the youngest age of dual age groups, meaning both will have to compete against swimmers who are a year senior too them - a big big ask. However, the first target is regional's and both of them continued to wrap up qualifying times, race experience, some phenomenal personal best times and medals galore. By herself, Tia made DRSA the 13th placed female club out of 30 teams that brought female swimmer, so dominating were her performances. Aiden along with Harry made DRSA the 11th ranked male team out of 33. Not bad for such low numbers!
Tia finished the weekend with 3 gold and 4 silvers out of 10 races, while Aiden picked up 7 gold and 3 silver medals out of his 13 events.
All round good swimming from all three, and a great weekend away. Next stop the Easter galas at the Life Centre and Millfield for our various swimmers.
Swim fast, swim strong, swim together! #GoDRSA
Primary Schools WinnersGirls: 1st Woodlands, 2nd Stowford A, 3rd Elburton.Boys: 1st Goosewell A, 2nd Stowford, 3rd Elburton.
21 March 2017
Following hot on the heels of a weekend of Devon swimming, we cancelled a training session and held our annual schools relay challenge gala, open to both primary and secondary students.
Claire George put a lot of work into this competition, and the hard work paid off with a fantastic turn out from primary schools, with a lot of parents cheering their schools on which created a fantastic atmosphere around the Life Centre which you rarely experience in normal competition. Competing over three events, the 4 x 25 Freestyle relay for girls and boys, as well as a mixed freestyle relay, there was a lot of fantastic racing on display. Swimmers from Devonport Royal flew their schools' colours proudly, and mixed with class mates from Dinnaton SC, Plymouth Leander, Caradon, Tavistock and classmates who do not swim competitively, or swim in learn to swim programmes to create a fantastic blend of talent, team work, and paint a fantastic picture of the local swimming community. On evidence of this gala, swimming in the Plymouth area has a very bright future ahead!
In the girls final, Woodlands school won by a landslide, DRSA's own Sophia King combining with school friends from Dinnaton to win convincingly from Stowford A team and Oceana and Skyla Dawdry's Elburton Primary. In the boys final, yet more DRSA representatives took home the top spot with Ryan Maunder and Matthew Bird teaming up with DRSA Alumni and PL swimmer Scott George and PL team mate Thomas Bennett to take gold for Goosewell A over Stowford and Elburton. While in the new mixed relay, it was Stowford A who prevailed over Compton and Elburton to take the first gold medal of this new event in the gala.
We'd like to thank all the schools who attended, including the secondary schools (whose results I don't have to hand while writing this report- sorry!) for participating in a great evening, and a big thank you to all from DRSA who helped Claire to organise and run the event. It was a fantastic evening, and we can't wait to host it again next year!
Swim fast, swim strong, swim together! #GoDRSA
Carys WalkerGold medallist in the 50 Freestyle and 50 Breaststroke
21 March 2017
Following the relay gala, came day 2 of the a Devon county double header with the annual sprint competition. Entrants to the 50m events in the main championships are barred from this competition and so it gives the next level a chance to race and get involved in county contests. Each entrant has to compete in all 4 strokes, and so whether they like a stroke or not it is a great chance to learn and try races they otherwise may avoid.
Alex Christie was the undoubted star of the day, taking medals in three of the four events, and PB's in all races - some very impressive ones as well - demonstrating continued improvement from the quiet yet effective swimmer. In the younger age groups, Carys Walker was the surprise package of the competition, bursting into tears when she realised that she had won a gold medal in the 50 freestyle, visibly shocked and unsure what to do! She was decidedly more composed when she added a gold in the 50 breaststroke twenty minutes later to cap a great day for the young swimmer. Abi Daly was the third medallist of the day, competing in her first gala as a Multi Class S14 athlete she took home a gold medal in the 50 freestyle to kick off what could be a very interesting and competitive few months in her new category.
Medals are all well and good, but some of the racing from non medallists was fantastic. We had younger debutants to competition such as Megan Lai Hung, Lily Rose Howard, Olivia Law and Laci Skinner. Atiyana Crews, Daniel Skinner, Alexander Green, Alfie McSweeney, Chloe Stanley and Ethan Symons Brown all continued their fledgling swimming careers with strong performances alongside club debutant twins, Oceana and Skyla Dawdry. Equally pleasing was the elder debutants, swimmers new to the sport entering competition for the first time and Catherine McGogan and Somsubhro Bagchi did not disappoint with strong, nerve defying performances alongside their more experienced peers of Leona Kurihara Allen, Abi Mann, Leighton Short, George Davies and the ever improving Arthur Byrom.
All in all a very positive day's racing, and lots to look forward to from this group and the swimmers in the age group who didn't enter.
Thank you to all parents, coaches, officials and team managers who helped on poolside for this event, it is greatly appreciated!
Swim fast, swim strong, swim together! #GoDRSA
Most successful team4 silver medals for Danny, Jack Joe and Finley
21 March 2017
Please excuse the delay in reports, it's been a little busy recently!
After a month of training with no competitions since the conclusion of the Devon Championships, Devonport Royal returned to competition in the annual Devon Relay competition with the largest team of entrants that we have put into this competition. The girls team in particular is thriving with three teams of 10-11 year olds competing, and three teams of 12-13 year olds it made for a busy poolside. In addition to the girls teams, the boys of the same age groups had two teams apiece, and only the girls 14-15 had a single team entering, the open age groups having two per event as well. All in all, 61 swimmers took to the pool for the gala and put on quite the show.
The most successful team was the open mens combination of Joe Brady, Finley Bowden, Jack Lakeman and Danny McSweeney who took home 4 silver medals cross 50 and 100m freestyle and medley relays. The ladies open of Jodi Le Page, Jessica Stewart, Jessica Manning and Izzy Abernethy added a bronze medal to the open tally as well. The boys 12-13 age group was next on the list, Aiden Symons Brown, Charlie Pitt, Danny White and James Coleman combining to take a bronze in the freestyle relay. Finally, Alfie McSweeney, Ethan Symons Brown, Ed Ayers and Matthew Bird took a bronze medal of their own in the 10-11 freestyle relay.
Outside medals, there were some fantastic performances, some great debuts from our young swimmers and returns to competitive swimming from some of our seniors and masters. Big thanks to everyone who helped on poolside within a difficult marshalling situation.
Swim fast, swim strong, swim together! #GoDRSA
History makersThe first Devonport team to claim a junior county title since 1976
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.