12 Dec 2023

Author: Matt Boyd-WallisArena League

Now that’s how you swim a final round of a competition!

This was a fantastic night for all the swimmers, parents, team managers and coaches involved, and I want to give a mention to everyone who attended the meet. You all swam your hearts out, supported and believed in each other and as a result, we finished second! I do want to add a massive thank you to Freya Robinson and Indie Bond who both stepped in last minute to fill spaces and then swam their socks off. To Elliot Latham and Will Strike for stepping up and swimming in the age group above and to Elliot for swimming two races with only a 100m recovery between each of his races. To Adam Sadler and Ben Negus who were the only two males in the 15 years age group. To Jessica Innes, who swam in the age group above for all three rounds and to Lucas Curtis for taking on the Open Breaststroke and swimming a brilliant PB. I could seriously go on and again I could mention everyone in this team from Saturday night!

The surprise in everyone’s faces and the repeated comments of ‘We didn’t come last!’, just reinforced what I have believed since the start of this season. If we have everyone available, if everyone is prepared to swim, we can hold our own in these sorts of competitions. The only reason we finished the way we did in the first two rounds was the lack of numbers and available swimmers, not the lack of ability!!!! This is fact, a parent asked me at the end, ‘Did I know we could win the squadron?’ and my reply was ‘Yes!’. The reason being that I had learnt how to place our swimmers, with regards to order they swam, and I believe when our swimmers want to race, they won’t back down!

In all three rounds of this competition, we have only had Eastleigh swimmers swimming, no matter their level or ability, meaning this truly has been a team effort for our club! Young swimmers who competed for the very first time in a National Competition. Everyone has stepped up to the challenges I have asked of them. These challenges haven’t been easy and, for some, worried them. I asked this of them because I believed all our swimmers can do it. I wasn’t worried about placing, instead in letting them realise their potential for now and in the future.

On Saturday, I saw the same swimmers but with very different looks in their eyes. This round these swimmers were more confident, had more belief and with the support of their teammates, turned their nervous energy into powerful swims. All our swimmers believed that they could do the challenges that were laid out ahead on the night and just focus on what they could do. As a result, we finished second, with more points than we got in the first two rounds put together. We were only eight points behind first place, Wycombe Swimming Club!

I know what those pessimists will say, ‘But they were Wycombe’s C team!’ Yes, absolutely, right! However, it was the same team, Wycombe C Team, that we met in the second round, who placed 4th with 163 points and ourselves 6th with 91 points, a 72-point difference! Yet this time there was only an 8-point difference, and we won the squadron, and we deserved every single bit of it.

I really want to say thank you to all of you, swimmers and parents alike. To all the swimmers who swam in the first two rounds and may not have been there on Saturday because without any of you, none of us could achieve the results we did. This was a team effort in every single way: swimmers, parents, team managers and coaches alike! That’s why I do love and enjoy the Arena League Competition, no matter the stress, time and effort it takes for all of us.

Enjoy this and let’s build upon it for the rest of the season and next. With regards to next, I would like us to keep experiencing these highs, but to do that we need the support. Next year, think about keeping the second Saturday in October, November, and December free, so we can have the numbers, put on the Yellow and Black war paint and wear the traditional yellow and black tutus!


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