This weekend saw the final of three weekends of regionals (has it really only been three weekends!?). We have had an extremely positive Championships, with finals for Ben Suckling, Finley Bowden, Aiden Symons Brown and Tia Crews. Medals for Andrew Keeler, Tia Crews, Abi Daly and Aiden Symons Brown has been extremely positive for the club and our largest haul at this level to date.
There have been many PBs, fantastic stories of swimmers who had never raced this time last year of swimmers closing in on national qualification and achieving things they didn't think they could. From qualification, to attendance at the meet and then PBs and success in the competition.
A big shout out as well to the swimmers who hit the consideration times but were not accepted to the gala. You guys have also had a fantastic season and done so well to get the times you did. Let's step it up going forward and keep pushing to get better and better!
It's a fantastic 50 free for these 5. All of them set new Long Course PBs, all quicker than they were in Millfield. Carys was first up, out quickly and holding on to finish in the middle of the rankings. Sophia up next, not quite as quick off the blocks but speedy in the final 25. Sarah next, and a gutsy, aggressive swim from the Sarah top drawer pushed her .7 quicker than Millfield. Emma whose been on a rough run, finally hooked up her swim and got it all right, dipping into the 30s for the first time Long Course. Tia up last, and secured a place in the final for her age.
Really proud of these 5, brilliant teamwork and atmosphere between them.
All about this man this afternoon. From nowhere smashed in a huge 50 fly PB to earn a Swim off, which he duly won in an even quicker time and then followed it up with a final and can now consider himself a contender for the English nationals in the summer. Three more weeks to go to secure the qualification and no matter how that shakes out, a stunning few hours for Mr Bowden.
Good swims all round today, Ben taking a final in the 200 Brs, and Andrew and Abi both doing well in the multi class categories. Joe Brady with two decent 50s, and feeling confident for the 100 fly tomorrow, while we did eventually find Jack, who put in a solid 50 fly as well.
Good work all around and bring on tomorrow!
A very proud day in the club's history. Devonport A retained the Bristol & West 12 & Under trophy with a fantastic 5-2 victory over Cheltenham in the gold medal match, while the B team displayed the depth of talent in the club with three battling performances against older opposition.
Not to be outdone, our Under 17s beat Welsh Wanderers 15-9 in the Bristol and West League.
Well done to all of the players:
Devonport A: George, James, Daisy, Adam, Izaac, Evie, Charlie, Tom, Max and Isla
Devonport B: Jack, William, Skyla, Alex, Anna, Josh, India, Daisy and Hussain.
And a big thank you to our volunteers:
Phil, Rachel, Rachel, Wendy, Clare, Rhys and Richard. And a big thank you to the tournament organisers and referees as well.
An awesome evening at Meadowlands pool in Tavistock for our DRSA Stingrays. Many many fantastic swims, some impressive debuts from young swimmers, and fantastic team work and cheering throughout. Another reminder of how bright the DRSA future is.
A big thank you to our hosts Tavistock, as well as our Team managers, volunteer coaches, officials and timekeepers as well as a big thank you to the swimmers for your efforts and parents for your support.
The future is bright!
Congratulations to Newton Abbot U17 girls - winners of the national age group championship. They beat the reigning champions Otter 9-6 in the final. Devonport's Jasmin Coleman contributed 3 of the goals.
Well done also to our Jessica Garrad, who played a key role in the preliminary and qualifier rounds but was unavailable for the final.
Lots of fantastic swimming on Day 1 of our multiple gala weekend.
In Plymouth, there have been PBs, medals and Miss Page has qualified for today's skins final!
In Millfield we have had pros and cons but generally progress from Bristol four weeks ago. 13 medals have been picked up so far but lots of PBs, good racing and team work.
We also have two national medallists as Xander Harris wins the S6 50 freestyle silver medal at Para Junior nationals. Austin Pritchard wins silver in the S6 100 freestyle and the 50 freestyle (need to confirm these results).
Fantastic Saturday and roll on an awesome Sunday!
A fantastic day of swimming in the first round of the C&D League.
HS1 finish second in round one to a strong Exeter team. We gave them intermittent problems throughout and capped a great performance with a fantastic cannon victory, as Sarah, Alfie, Tia, James, Jasmin, Aiden, Jess and Finley combining to impressive effect.
HS2 finish 6th, but put in an incredible performance, many younger swimmers climbing up to higher age groups to race much older swimmers, and even swimmers in age group being much younger than others in their groups. It was a brilliant display of guts, determination and team work and I'm incredibly proud of everything everyone did to help the team today.
A big shout out of course to Chairman Tony Symons Brown, who was happy to celebrate his birthday with the team following the gala!
An excellent afternoon of water polo for our Under 14s at Sandford Parks Lido, Cheltenham. A great venue and great games against Cheltenham and Bolton. Four wins from four games, the highlight being the comeback against Cheltenham, turning round a 4-2 deficit in the third quarter to win 7-4.
Thank you to our hosts, Cheltenham, for hosting a fantastic event.
Let's keep the good news rolling! Alicia Parsons has been selected to attend the upcoming Devon Skills Camps as an Assistant Skills Coach! She will join Alfie, Stanley and Oceana over the three days of the camp. While it is unlikely she will coach the DRSA swimmers while on the camp, she will be a friendly face for the three of them and other swimmers from around the county.
Alicia, like the three swimmers, was delighted to be selected and has expressed her gratitude to all the swimmers she works with who have helped her become a better coach.
Devonport are proud to see her selected and can't wait to hear how the camps go for Alf, Stan, Oceana and Alicia.!
Thank you to all the schools, Tavistock and Dinnaton for attending our schools gala, Mount Wise Trophy and Terry Mansell Trophy tonight.
We are immensely grateful for your participation, enthusiasm, noise, sportsmanship and support - it was a fantastic celebration of our sport and what it should be about - teaming up with your friends to have a good time!
We hope to see you next year and congratulations to everyone!
Devonport Royal finish second in the Devon Interclub, our highest finishing place since....: ever?
Fantastic performance, some brilliant swims against teams who are finalists in higher divisions of the arena league than us and we can now say we are one of the strongest Competitive/ Development clubs in the county.
Huge congratulations to all our swimmers, congrats to everyone else in the county who swam and #GoDRSA
Really pleased to announce that Alfie McSweeney, Oceana Dawdry and Stanley Partridge have all been selected, on the back of the Devon County Championships, for the 2018 Devon Skills camps - the start of the Swim England talent pathway.
All three contested multiple finals in the Devon Championships which was their first time competing at this level and they will now spend the next 12 months chasing down the 11/12 year old regional qualifying times. They are the first DRSA swimmers to be selected for these camps.
Congratulations to all three!
And the curtain falls on the most successful Devon Championships we have.... ever had (those couple of words getting boring yet?)
Phenomenal swimming from our largest county team to date, lots of PBs, regional times, finals, medals and champions.
Sorry not everyone is pictured - we didn't have a single day where everyone was in at the same time!!
Huge congrats one and all, let's push on for the rest of the season!
Top Visitors!From left: Swimmers; Darren Green, Chris Rollinson, Marisa Schubert, Paul Russell, Debbie Carr, David Smith, Sue Smith, Lauren Hayhurst, Laura Lamb,Chloe Game and Paul Burns
25 January 2018
On Saturday 20th January 11 masters swimmers competed in the annual Caradon Masters open meet, and what a success it was! A lot of great performances and medals throughout the day left us coming home with top visiting club!
A special well done to Chloe Game who had never experienced a race before let alone starting off with a 400m F/S, something many weren't brave enough to do! Also a huge congratulations to Debbie Carr who managed to break her previous time for 50 backstroke, we are all so proud of how far you have come. Marisa, who is always the star of the show, came away with 2nd place top women, along with some very impressive swims. Marisa also managed to blow everyone away when she proceeded to change into a ball gown after the gala!
Many congratulations to everyone who raced, it was a great gala and hope to carry on the winning streak throughout the year!
Excellent day of water polo at the Life Centre. U15s beat Paignton to complete the league and cup double, while the U17s, Ladies and U19s all did us proud with battling performances against strong teams from Newton Abbot. Well done to all who took part - all matches played in a great spirit.
Xander Harris has been nominated for the Plymouth Herald Young Sports Personality of the Year award, while the Devon ASA Inter County Swim Team, featuring Aiden Symons Brown and Harry Noble, has been nominated for Team of the Year.
24 November 2017
Four DRSA masters swimmers were selected to swim for Devon County on Sunday 19th Nov in the Inter County Masters. We had another 5 teams from other local Counties to compete against at Millfield and the results are then fed into all the other Inter Counties taking place around England that weekend.
Paul Russell, David Smith, Rob Will and Jodi Le-Page were our representatives from DRSA.
First to swim was Jodi in the FS Relay and she swam the 2nd leg with an excellent swim and Devon finished second by a mere 0.22sec. Then Rob swam the 50m Fly with a very impressive time of 30.00 and came a very close 3rd. Back to Jodi who then swam the 50m FS and came first in 29.09. >
Then it was David turn in the Medley Relay, he swam Br of course and gained a few metres in his 50m swim, helping us get 1st by 13 secs. Rob then did a stonking last leg in a Medley relay extending our lead in his 50m swim by at least 3m helping us to finish 1st with a 7 sec lead. Jodi then swam an excellent last leg with a fantastic tumble turn in the Medley relay coming home 1st. Then back to individual events, with David finishing 1st in the 50m Br by a hefty lead of almost 3 secs. Back to both relays and David, who swam in the mixed Relay, his Br leg was amazing gaining almost 5m over the second position swimmer, we finished 1st of course but by an astounding 15secs! Then another Medley Relay with Rob swimming Br, despite him clawing back over a metre from the leader, shock horror, we came second by 1.7secs. Then it was old man Paul's turn in the 50m Br who came a respectable second in 45.81. Finished off with some more relays with Rob and Jodi participating and both relay teams finished 1st.
Now need to wait a bit longer to see how we did Nationally.
A great day with great team members and the pork pie on the coach back was scrummy.
Had to get in the Trick Or Treat Spirit tonight, John's scary Drills, and a big thanks to Nikki Dawdry for putting together an awesome Halloween set, ably explained and guided by Skyla and Oceana! And somewhat modelled in an ok way by Parsons. Sort of. And of course thanks to Carys who brought in cupcakes and Danny and Julie who brought in sweets.
Introducing the Devonport StingraysWinners of the 2017 Paignton Mini Polo Tournament
11 October 2017
On Sunday 8 October three Devonport mini polo teams took part in the Paignton Mini Polo Tournament, the Stingrays, Sharks and Dolphins.
Devonport Stingrays' victory in an exciting final against Newton Abbot Otters ensured that Devonport won the tournament for the fifth year in a row. Stingrays coach Dave Rostron: "A strong first-half performance saw the Stingrays race in to a 3 goal lead, but Newton Abbot came back strongly in the second half to cut the goal deficit. In a nail-biting last 2 minutes Devonport's strong defence held, resulting in a final score of Devonport Stingrays 4 Newton Abbot Otters 3, with Daisy Elsmere's skill and determination justifiably earning her the accolade of the Stingray's most valuable player."
Sharks coach Alan Baser was pleased with his team's performance: "I was so pleased with everyone's performance and great teamwork and we were so unlucky not to finish third overall. But second in their league losing only to the winners made for a great day and I feel it will make them more determined to win it next year." MVP for the Sharks was mini polo newcomer Daisy Riley.
Dolphins coach Darren Green also had much to be pleased about: "Devonport Dolphins was a younger team of mixed ability, many playing in a tournament for the first time and some being new to the sport. Throughout the tournament they grew in confidence and improved their teamwork and skill. They played with much effort and determination pulling through to win their final game. They are to be congratulated for their efforts and enjoyment of the event." MVP for the Dolphins was Alex Green.
The six intrepid swimmersincluding our Marisa Schubert (second from left) and Antony Antcliff (fifth from left)Photo courtesy Richard Davies
20 September 2017
This year's Breakwater swim took place on an overcast and blustery Saturday. Although the spectators and officials got a little damp on occasions, the swimmers felt the water temperature was warm and happily the jellyfish that had been numerous in August were nowhere in sight. The sight of a double rainbow provided many a photo opportunity.
The six intrepid competitors were watched over by safety canoes and RIBs whilst in the water with additional support from other vessels for the timekeepers, Doctor and referee.
The winners were Marisa Schubert (DRSA) and Robert Yardley (Dinnaton SC) pictured here with the other competitors and City of Plymouth Chair Mrs Esther Rookes. The other DRSA swimmer was Antony Antcliff who has competed in this event for many years.
The City of Plymouth ASA Open Water Secretary Mr Diego Walker once again ran a safe and well organized event assisted by other committee members. We are also grateful for the assistance of the many waterbourne helpers without whom this event would not be possible.
Click here to visit the City of Plymouth website for a more detailed report and lots of photos of the event.
A fantastic performance by the Stingrays as the teams finish second and seventh.
Iain: "Some fantastic performances and continued proof of the growing prestige of this group of young people. Very proud of everyone."
Some great news to start the season, following his fantastic 16/17 campaign Aiden has been selected to represent Devon in the National Inter County competition in October at Ponds Forge, Sheffield. He will carry the banner for Devon in the 12/13 100 Freestyle and combine with team mates to compete in a relay events.
Host of medalsLewis (left) and Abi (second right) pictured with their South West relay team mates.
17 August 2017
By Jan Daly
Devonport Royal swimmers Abigail Daly and Lewis Matti returned home with a host of medals from the Special Olympics GB National Summer Games in Sheffield.
Abi and Lewis, competed for the South West, coming home with a total of 2 golds, 2 silvers for Abi and 1 silver and 1 bronze for Lewis. Both Lewis and Abi collected silver in the 4 x 100m Freestyle relay.
Lewis travelled up with the team South West and got to experience the atmosphere of an Olympic village, whilst Abi, being 12 years old, stayed outside the village and had only a 5-minute walk from the hotel to Ponds Forge.
Both Lewis and Abi got to experience an Opening Ceremony at Brammal Lane walking in to the noise of 15,000 spectators.
Lewis was entered in the 50m Butterfly, 50m Freestyle and 100m Freestyle. Although he had the disappointment of being disqualified for his Butterfly, he put that to the back of his mind.
Abi was first up on the Wednesday morning. Abi had a different coaching team who were inexperienced, she was very anxious and her swimming hat nearly came off. Abi was catching up to the 22 year old Scottish West Swimmer April McKie, but slipped on the final turn and had to settle for a silver in her 200m Freestyle.
Next up it was the 4 x 100m Freestyle mixed relay Abi brought the team in 1st for the 1st leg by 10m, and then the swimmer from Newquay (Specials Cornwall) had problems getting off the block so when she dived in we were last. Lewis then took up the 3rd leg and brought the team in 3rd before handing over to Adam from Caradon (Specials Cornwall), he put in a very fast anchor leg bringing the team in 2nd and narrowly missing 1st spot. A very well deserved silver for team South West.
Lewis's 100m Freestyle leg gave him the confidence to do well in the 50 Freestyle later that day which gave him a well deserved Bronze.
On the last day he was able to convert this to silver in his 100m Freestyle.
The final day of competition proved the most memorable for Abi. She claimed her first gold medal in the 100m Freestyle event, pulling ahead of Scotland's Boyle in the last 10 meteres to win in 1:17.05.
Her battle with the Scottish swimmers continued in the 400m Freestyle and 100m Backstroke events.
In the 400m race, she had to settle for silver behind McKie but knocked six seconds off her personal best time.
And after just half-an-hour recovery time, she was back in the pool again and produced a great 100m Backstroke swim to secure her second gold of the day ahead of McKie and Boyle.
As Abi was the fastest 100m Freestyle swimmer, she also got the chance to meet and swim against four-time Olympic medalist Jessica Jayne Applegate, who, like Abi, is a S14 para-swimmer.
Abi is now turning her attentions to the UK School Games National Finals which will be held in Loughborough at the start of September. Abi will be representing England South in that event as an S14 para swimmer in the 100m Backstroke and 100m Butterfly.
Both Lewis and Abi have learning disabilities and have problems adapting to change. Both swimmers did extremely well in a hard fought competition. Although they were in one of the smallest swimming squads, to pick up the medals they have shows that with a good coaching team at the club and hard work, it really pays off. I was extremely proud of both swimmers who gave it their all. They were excellent ambassadors for the club and city.
Silver medallistsBack row, left to right: Will, Angus, George, Seth, Rhys, Rob. Front row: Charlie, James, Jessica, Jasmin, Ben, Tom.
16 July 2017
Congratulations to our U15 water polo team on their fine performance in the Bristol & West U15 tournament. The team came second to Cheltenham and was rewarded with Silver medals for their efforts.
The team played some exciting water polo and achieved impressive results against City of Bristol (8-1), Bradford on Avon (6-0), City of Newport (5-0), Exeter (10-2) and Welsh Wanderers (4-3). In the match which decided the tournament, Devonport came up against a very good Cheltenham side. The teams were evenly matched and Devonport was unlucky to be on the wrong end of a 5-3 scoreline in a match which could have gone either way.
Tournament WinnersJasmin and Jessica show off their medals.
10 July 2017
Congratulations to Jasmin Coleman and Jessica Garrad who represented the South West in the Inter-Regional Championships in Liverpool this weekend. The team won the Division 2 title, with both of the Devonport girls making important contributions. Centre forward Jasmin made an immediate statement of intent in the first match, scoring 9 in the 19-3 victory over the South East. Further victories followed on the Saturday, 7-4 against the North East and 7-0 against the North West. The absence of a key attacker on the Sunday meant that a tactical re-think was required, which involved Jessica switching from defence to attack, and she justified the coaches' decision to play her in the unfamiliar position on the wing with two fine performances as the team claimed a 17-4 win against Scotland and a nail-biting 4-3 win against Ireland.
Jasmin had the bonus of being chosen as MVP for the South West by the opposition coaches.
Under 13 Tournament WinnersBack from left to right: Evie, Toby, Seb, Izaac, Max; Front: Millie, Adam, Reuben, James, George, Seth
25 June 2016
By Robert Coleman
On Saturday 24 June Devonport competed for the first time in the City of Manchester Water Polo Festival. This is the first time our juniors have had the opportunity to compete against the best teams in the North of England, and both our U13s and U15s put in some very impressive performances.
Under 13s - Tournament Winners
One month on from winning the Bristol & West U13 tournament, our U13s travelled to Manchester in confident mood. They won their group by beating Bolton 9-0, Chester 11-0 and Northampton 5-3. In the quarter final the team knocked out St. Ambrose, before beating Sedgefield 9-4 in the semi final, a match in which they trailed 3-2 at half time. Devonport faced familiar opposition in the final, with our U13s winning 5-1 against Cheltenham with goals from Adam, Reuben (2), James and George.
First time in ManchesterThe players and officials who did us proud in our first appearance at the Manchester Festival of Water Polo
Our U15s put in some impressive performances in what turned out to be by far the most difficult group in the tournament. Devonport opened with a 13-0 win against Sheffield. However, against Bridgefield, our team found themselves 3-0 down after 2 minutes, before showing their character to achieve a spectacular comeback with a late goal, final score 6-6. They then beat St Ambrose 7-2, before facing another very difficult match against Bolton. A win would have seen Devonport qualify for the quarter final as group winners, but leading 6-5, Devonport conceded a last second goal and were knocked out of the tournament on goal difference. In the matches which determined the final placings, Devonport lost to Manchester 9-6 before beating Sedgefield in their final match. Our Under 15s can be proud of their performances in this tournament and the progress that they continue to make. They were just one second away from knocking out Bolton, who went on to win the tournament, and made a spectacular comeback against Bridgefield, who finished third.
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.