Bridgwater Swimming Club took part in the first round of the Cotswolds Series on Saturday 11th January 2020. Having qualified for the final of the series for the last two years the club were hoping for a strong start in 2020.
For the first round the club travelled away to Weston-Super-Mare, with the club thankful to their sponsors for the gala The Friendly Spirit Inn.
The club quickly proved their quality dominating the racing in the early events and swimming well in the first period of the gala. The clubs first win came early on in event 2, with Max Head winning the 15/u 100 Individual Medley despite swimming up an age group. This was quickly followed up by the men’s captain Ben Towells in the open age 100 Individual Medley.
More race wins came during the first period with wins from Logan Wright in the the boys 13/u breaststroke, and Max following up on his win in the IM by winning the 15/u backstroke event.
The club were thrilled with the points positions after the first 10 events with Bridgwater running in first place with a narrow lead over Bristol Henleaze and Weston-Super-Mare.
The second period of the gala also proved to be a great success with some brilliantly fast swimming.
Club stalwart Rich Hill dominated event 12 the men’s open 100m butterfly event.
The club then went on a three event winning streak winning events 18-20. Jim Taylor won the 15/u breaststroke event, with a spectacular swim in his first ever individual event for the team. While Jazz Forsey and Ben Towells both won the open age group backstroke events.
The points were announced after 20 events and despite some stellar performances the club had dropped back to a close second place; Bristol Henleaze 54, Bridgwater 52, Weston 44, Dursley 38.
The club won a further 4 events in the third period of the gala. Theoni Kane won the 13/u freestyle event. Freya Jennings, Jazz Forsey, Victoria Rybinska, and Isobel Brown won the 15 medley relay. Ben Towells, Rich Hill, Jim Taylor, and Ricky Hayes won the men’s open medley relay. Oscar Hughes won the 11/u backstroke event.
Bristol Henleaze had stretched their lead and after 30 events the points were Bristol 84, Bridgwater 78, Weston 71, and Dursley 55.
Bridgwater dug deep to pull back and had some fantastic swims but the least number of wins out off all the periods. Event winners included Max Head (15/u freestyle), Theoni Kane (open breaststroke), and the Girls 13/u Medley Relay (Sofia Lynd, Theoni Kane, Aimee Crawley, & Darcy Walsh).
With the final 13 events to go Bridgwater had closed the gap to just 1 point to Bristol.
All the swimmers stepped up their game for the final push for the win.
Jazz Forsey won event 41 the 15/u butterfly, Rich Hill added to his win tally winning the open freestyle, Archie Peacock won the 11/u breaststroke, and the girls 15/u freestyle relay (Jazz Forsey, Isobel Brown, Victoria Rybinska, Orlana Sinclair-Short).
This took the club up to the final events, and the points still close and nothing between Bridgwater and Bristol.
The men’s open relay was the next race and up stepped the the relay team of Ben Towells, Rich Hill, Max Head, and Ricky Hayes. The relay team stormed to the lead and continued to extend the lead over the other teams throughout the race winning in a commanding fashion while Bristol finished 3rd.
With the points so close it was still important that Bridgwater had a strong finish in the final event of the gala the mixed cannon relay (Liberty Jones, Archie Peacock, Theoni Kane, Max Head, Isobel Brown, Jim Taylor, Jazz Forsey, Rich Hill). The race was exciting with Weston, Bristol and Bridgwater all having strong swimmers in the relay and sharing the lead at different points. But, with three swimmers to go Bridgwater had taken the lead, Jazz touched in with narrow lead and handed over to Rich Hill who pulled away from the other teams with ease to win in style and confirm the overall gala win!
The final points were Bridgwater 148 Bristol Henleaze 143, Weston 135, Dursley 90.
The Bridgwater team also included a number of full competitive debuts for swimmers. These included Sienna Chillingworth, Aiden Hayes, Heath Munday, Daisy Clarke and Oscar Hughes.
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