City of Cardiff - R1 2016

After an exciting Summer of Olympic Sport with inspiring performances from Team GB and Para GB the 2016 campaign towards the National Arena Swimming League began.

The City of Cardiff Swimming Club’s ‘A’ team got off to a winning start to the premier league with a resounding victory over fellow Western Region clubs, in Newport in Round 1.

The feeling of familiarity with the local pool must have provided some sense of home advantage as the Cardiff swimmers set off like corks out of champagne bottles, winning eight of the first ten races and finishing second in the other two. And this was in the esteemed company of fellow 2015 finalists, Swansea, and Exeter City who are no mugs themselves.

Of course, that momentum would be difficult to maintain as the races came thick and fast (as watching parents like them to). Some over-enthusiasm brought a couple of close-call disqualifications, but you could sense the capital team wasn’t going to let this one slip.

The determination of the Cardiff swimmers came through time and time again as, with a seemingly creditable mid-place beckoning, final-length bursts kept bringing in firsts and seconds.

Maybe it was the frantic waving of papers from coach David Cocks by the side of the pool that made the difference.

There was no Graham, so the crowd was spared the usual HUP HUP HUPs, but frankly there wouldn’t have been much point, with the frenzied state of the partisan crowd.

“Who’s that on the blocks?”

“No idea”

“Never mind. C’MON CARDIFF!!”

There were some outstanding individual swims from swimmers in all the clubs, but maybe a special mention should be made of young Becci de Torres (12) who not only seemed to be in the pool more than she was out of it, but held second place in the first leg of the Open cannon race! Chwarae teg, Becci.

Whilst in the end victory was sealed with some races to go; it felt closer than the final score suggested.

If other clubs don’t already see the Welsh capital as a team to be reckoned with, maybe they’ll think again as they look down the score-sheet and the margin of Cardiff’s victory over Swansea.

Rock on round two!

Final results – subject to Western League ratification:

Cardiff 252
Swansea 217
Exeter 167
Weston SM 149
Keynsham 130
United Bristol 127

In Division 1, it was a short hop across the Severn Bridge for the City of Cardiff B team to Horfield Leisure Centre in Bristol for the first round of the National Arena Swimming League.

Racing against teams from Cirencester, Barnstaple, Carn Brea, Clevedon and Kingsbridge Kingfishers the team were looking to get off to a good start in the open individual medley events. Katie Rees was first up, and she excelled, showing great skills and strength across all strokes to take a clear victory for the team. Newcomer Fraser Durston, who has just moved to Cardiff, backed this up with a solid second place in the men’s event in a very tight finish.

This set the pattern for the meet, with the Cardiff swimmers placing rarely outside of the top three. Special mention must be made of Jacob Wakeling who was competing in his first Arena league match on his twelfth birthday. His Grandfather had just flown in from his home in Australia for a holiday in Wales and he came straight from the plane to the poolside to give Jacob and the team some much needed vocal support!

It was great to see such great skills on display from the club, showing the benefits of the early season focus on this. Eloise Rathbone-Jones showed how important this was in kicking 12m underwater off the turn in the freestyle leg of the 13 years and under girl’s medley team to take victory for the club.

City of Cardiff were leading on points throughout the match, and ended up winners on 278 points with Barnstaple runners up on 247 points (subject to Western League ratification).

Many thanks to our team managers, officials and all of the parents who came to support the team, it was very much appreciated.