20 Oct 2019

At the Hart Leisure Centre on Saturday and Sunday evening, a small team from our Performance Squads took part in the Hart Distance Meet. The meet consisted of two endurance events: the 800m and 1500m freestyle. The targets for our swimmers were to set Personal Bests, aim for medals and try to achieve qualification times for the Hampshire County Championships. All of our participants achieved at least one of those targets - a great performance by the whole team.

Saturday evening saw the first twelve Eastleigh competitors take part in the 800m freestyle race. For many of our swimmers, this was their first time in an event of that distance and they had to display great fitness and control and the ability to remain focused on their pace and technique for the full duration of the event. For swimmers more often used to sprint events, this presented a new challenge and they performed very well.

From our Junior Performance squad, Izzie, Zoha and Rosie swam strongly to set PBs. None of the girls had competed beyond 200m previously and they all swam well and showed good control, stamina and pacing throughout the event.

Also from our Junior Performance squad, Alana achieved a magnificent time of 10:59.52, winning silver in the 11yrs age group. This puts Alana into the top 20 fastest times in the country for 11 year old girls in 2019. Such was her pace that she also broke her own 400m freestyle club record with her 400m split time, reaching the half-way point in 5:29.03, a second faster than her old mark.

In the boys 11yrs age group, Matthew was Eastleigh's first ever participant in the 800m freestyle and he set the benchmark with a club record and gold medal winning performance, finishing in 10:46.73. A very fast time and well into the top 20 fastest times of 2019 for 11 year old boys.

In the girls 13yrs age group, strong performances from Verity and Emily L saw both of them break the previous club record, which had stood since 2006. Verity finished 4 seconds inside the old record with a time of 10:35.59 and Emily set a new record with a time of 10:23.33.

In the boys 14yrs and 15yrs age groups, Josh and Isaac went head-to-head with the lead changing hands several times over the 32-length distance. With a fast finish, Josh broke away over the last couple of lengths to finish in an excellent time of 10:08.32, 4th place in the 14yrs age group, and Issac finished just behind in 10:11.48, a 32 second PB, taking 6th place in his age group.

Representing our Senior Performance squad in the 800m were Victoria, Emily P and George. Victoria was first up in her first event beyond 200m, starting fast and showing good stamina to finish in 5th place in the girls 16&over age group. Emily swam magnificently and showed real grit to almost break the 10 minute barrier, finishing in 4th place in the girls 15yrs age category with a time of 10:00.75. George, in the final heat of the day, took the bronze medal in the boys 16&over age group with a display of excellent pacing and stamina, finishing in a new PB of 9:14.64.

On Sunday evening, it was the turn of the 1500m freestyle competitors, some of whom had only just recovered from their 800m exertions of the previous day!

In another excellent performance, Alana took the gold medal in the girls 11yrs age group with a time of 20:51.81, a new club record. Amazingly, for the second time in two days, she again broke the 400m club record with her 400m split, taking another second off the previous day's record to set a new best of 5:28.38.

In the boys 12yrs age group, Harry, never having raced beyond 200m in the past, took a magnificent silver medal with a time of 20:48.17. Harry also set the club record for the boys 12-13yrs 800m freestyle with his 800m split time, an excellent 11:03.73.

In the girls 13yrs age group, Verity had another strong swim, setting a new personal best of 19:46.82, breaking the 20 minute barrier for the first time in a short-course pool. Verity showed good pace from the start and good stamina as she went 11 seconds faster over the first 800m than she'd achieved in the 800m event the previous evening (which itself was faster than the old club record). Rhyseren also swam a great race, displaying excellent pace control and consistency, taking the bronze medal with a huge PB and new club record of 19:07.49. Rhyseren also shattered Emily L's 800m club record set 24hrs previously with her 800m split time of 10:10.58.

After his massive 800m PB on Saturday, Isaac again performed well to set his 1500m PB with a time of 19:33.23, winning the silver medal in the boys 15yrs age group. Great pace and stamina shown following his exertions in the 800m event.

In the girls 15yrs age group, Emily P had another powerful and determined swim to win bronze with a excellent time of 19:03.15. And our final competitor of the weekend, George, won gold in the boys 16&over age group with a brilliant display of pacing, control and strength to finish in 17:38.88. As Senior Performance swimmers, both Emily and George showed our younger swimmers exactly how to approach these sorts of endurance events and are excellent role models for the younger swimmers.

A good weekend of racing from the Eastleigh swimmers. For a challenging endurance competition, so far beyond the distances over which many of our swimmers usually race, the fitness, control and technique shown by our swimmers really shows how their hard work in training is bringing benefits in competition. They also showed good attitude and determination and were quick to encourage and support their teammates. They should be very proud of their efforts.

Special congratulations to those swimmers that achieved County Championship consideration and automatic qualification times.

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800m, 1500m, Hart, open meet, distance, club record