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English Summer Nationals Day 1

Following the successes of the National Open Water Championships, and a training session for pool swimmers Izzy, Abbie, Jasmine, Robbie and Ella led by coach Jan, the athletes were treated to a spectacularly cooked meal by the McNamara’s.  The evening servings consisted of Olives and Courgette Fritters with Tzatziki, followed by a Tomato soup starter, into a Chicken or Quorn, roasted potatoes with feta salad and vegetables served for the main course. A very sophisticated affair for the University apartments, with coaches Jan and Barry even being treated to a glass of Grape Juice.

Following the evening dining, Barry was found marching on the spot to achieve his step count streak he had built up over the week, whilst the smaller crew settled into watch a movie. Where the very lame plot was replaced by the comedy in Ella’s and Teagan’s reactions during tense sections, especially when after a loo break Miles jumped out from behind the curtains at an opportune moment.  With ringing ears from the girls screams everyone retired for the evening in preparation for Day 1 of the English Nationals.

Morning Heats

Up first was Izzy in the 100m Breast-stroke, having qualified for these championships last year, Izzy’s goal was to make her first National final.  With a strong first 50m, Izzy held on down the second length to touch around her personal best pace, which was enough to qualify her for this evenings final achieving her goal on the first race. An hour or so later along with Jasmine the pair stood up for the 400IM heats.

Izzy delivered a strong fly, lost a little ground on the back stroke but bought herself back in the race on the Breast-stroke before holding position on the freestyle, the result was a fastest heat swim and was quick enough to qualify her for another final this evening.

Jasmine led her heat out on the fly and by the end of the back stroke was still in the mix, holding on during the Breast-stroke and finishing the Freestyle, Jasmine had touched outside her personal best but the time was good enough to qualify for this evenings final in the 10th position.

A good morning seeing 3 finals being gained from 3 heats,


Evening Finals

The first final of the evening was for Izzy in the 100m Breast-stroke.  Having worked on holding the water better in the warm up Izzy stood up ready to push the final.  Down the first length the split was identical to the heat time, but significantly with 3 less strokes, this allowed a stronger second half, which due to holding a stronger feel of the water and driving the stroke forward quicker resulted in 4 strokes less than the heat and a second quicker.  So, with a total of 7 less strokes the result was a 1.17.2 and new personal best time to finish 7th. - A great step up for her first ever National Final.   

Then waiting for the last two races of the evening Izzy stood up again for the 400IM final and 5 minutes later Jasmine stood up for her final race of the summer.

Izzy’s fly went well, splitting identical to the heat, but from the excitement of the first final Izzy found it tough to maintain the speed, and although the effort was high, the back stroke, breast-stroke and freestyle dropped a second on each leg.  The result was still a valiant 8th place.  So, with a taste of finals Izzy went home confident from her finals looking forward to the 200m Breast-stroke on Day 2.

Jasmine, after being in Sheffield now for 10 days, stood up for her final race.   She had nothing to lose so went for it straight away on the fly, turning in second place into the back stroke, where she put in a better split than the heat turning in 4th.  From the efforts of the Fly the Breast-stroke became painful and then every last gap of energy was put into the freestyle. The finishing times was 7 seconds quicker than the heat and resulting in a step up to 6th place.   

Jasmine’s programme in racing 14 races in 10 days ranging from 50m Free to 400IM, where training, warm ups and swim downs added up to 62km being swum, demonstrates where the weekly volume needs to be for swimmers in a normal training week in order to be able to taper down for this sort of programme at big competitions.  For younger readers, Jasmine (like many others in the top squad) has rarely missed a training session over the last 4 years, training from 7 to now 10 sessions per week in the pool and gym, she trained through-out all of her GCSE examinations and constantly shows incredible commitment, sacrifice and self-management to her sport resulting in making friends across the world, International Semi-finals and even more National titles and medals. A well-earned break is now due where she has been told not to look at a pool for 4 weeks.

Tomorrow sees Abbie and Izzy compete in the 200m Breast and Ella in the 50m Free.