City of Cardiff - R2 2016

After the Wales rugby team’s performance against Australia the week before, you wouldn’t have thought the Cardiff A team were that keen to get back home from Millfield, venue for R2 in Western League Premier Division for the Argentina game. But the pace they set off at, suggested otherwise.

Olympian Chloe Tutton was back and it seemed to inspire the whole team. Nine wins in the first ten races had the other teams rocking on their heels. “How come Cardiff are so good?” said one small girl to her parents.

It was looking like it could be a long day for the other five teams, but they were having none of it, Poole and Soundwell, fighting back especially strongly.

There was plenty of travelling support for the capital side, who made plenty of noise, but it was maybe the chant from the south coast’s Poole supporters that will live longer in the memory: A guttural roar of “Poole” sounded like a cross between the Icelandic football team anthem, and a Napalm Death chorus.

The most uncomfortable seating on the circuit kept parents and coaches alike on their feet for most of the afternoon. There were plenty of close races, often with four swimmers coming in abreast, with places too difficult to call from the sidelines.

The presence of the Welsh side’s Head Coach Graham Waddell was unmissable, with HUP HUP HUPs from the main man urging on his swimmers.

At each juncture, the scorer’s announcements put Cardiff ahead, and with some swimmers competing ‘up’ an age group, the progress was indeed impressive.

Having kept the other teams behind them for the entire gala, the final round of relays must have felt like the home straight for Cardiff A. With such an enviable strength in depth, it didn’t seem to matter who was swimming which stroke or which leg. Six wins out of the final eight relays secured, what was in the end, a comfortable win for last year’s finalists, but not without one or two scares along the way.

Unofficial Results:
City of Cardiff A 260
Poole SC 213
Soundwell A 189
Nofio Sir Gar 146
United Bristol A 145
Salisbury SC 99

As the team headed back to the bus, it was coach, official and wise-owl Nick Holmes who warned, “It will be a lot tougher in the next round.” And with teams such as Millfield and Plymouth Leander in the same league, he’s probably right.

Over in Division 1 City of Cardiff B were back at Horfield hoping to build on their 1st place in Round 1. This time they were joined by Academy Burnham, Newton Abbot, Truro, Barnstaple, Southwold, and Clevedon. The warm up was chaotic in the narrow and shallow Horfield pool, but the tight space at the start end didn't stop Cardiff breaking out the flags and pom-poms to support their team mates.

While there was little doubt that Cardiff were on top out of the water, in the pool it was really close all the way, with Truro and Barnstaple nipping at Cardiff's heels, and the lead changing several times. Every team, but Cardiff in particular, were struggling with the blocks which were extremely slippy, and despite frequent wipe-downs with a towel, there were some poor starts and gasps from the stands as a couple of the Cardiff boys nearly came a cropper. Strong swimming all round kept Cardiff's nose ahead, and if wins were hard to come by, pretty much every swim was bringing in good points.

Barnstaple weren't willing to give up easily though, and good performances in the U11 and U13 relays took them into the lead by a whisker with just the two open cannons to come. Up stepped the ladies team of Amber Owen, Katie Rees, Tegan Frizelle, Megan Cope, Olivia Murray, and Elen Morris, who destroyed the field to take first place, leaving the men's team only needing to finish ahead of Barnstaple. This they duly did so City of Cardiff B took first place by just 5 points over Barnstaple with Truro in third and the field some way back.

It was a fine all round effort from the B team with every swimmer playing a part in the victory.

Unofficial Results:

City of Cardiff B 257
Barnstaple 252
Truro City 244
Southwold SC 194
Newton Abbot 180
Clevedon SC157
Academy ST Burnham112

Well done swimmers in both teams.  

Thanks to the Host Clubs, coaches Graham, Dale, David and Keith, and team managers Keri, Martyn, Nerys & Mary.