24 Oct 2023

Author: Matt Boyd-Wallis

Cheering on your teammates

This was truly a fantastic event for Eastleigh and a great way to start a new season. As I mentioned at training last night, I am incredibly proud of all the swimmers who swam at Aldershot and the coaching staff/parents that have supported them in this first eight weeks of the new season. There is a change of mindset, commitment, and most of all, belief within the club and this was reflected in the swims that we did over the weekend.

It isn’t the results alone that stood out and pleased me so much. It was the manner, style, and sheer competitive nature in which you all swam. Every swimmer’s stroke looked longer, smoother and more powerful. You all were prepared to look at your race strategies differently, taking on the way I asked you all to swim, you were all more controlled and showed more race awareness. Your increased level of fitness really showed through in your back-end speeds, no matter what the event or distance, you all had the grit, determination, and strength to kick up and finish strong. None of you back down and every single one of you continued with this commitment over the two days and all four sessions.

Eastleigh Girls

As a result, this did show through in our results and the smiles I saw, smiles of surprises, excitement, and happiness in the realisation of what you can do. We had swimmers doing PBs for the first time in years, PBs from all squads and age groups, showing that our coaches and training program are helping all swimmers. Senior swimmers taking huge margins off their times, relative to their events, showing that even at such an early stage in the season and without a taper, they have the potential to go further and swim faster.

Eastleigh Girls

I do want to mention a few swims and swimmers, firstly Evie Sherriff Lee and Jessica Heywood-Crozier who got PBs in every single event they swam, Jennifer Jones for getting three PBs for the first time in nearly three years. Nathan Lewis who as a sprinter must remain focused and believing in himself, coming back on the second day, and recording a 1.4sec PB on his 100m Butterfly, which is huge! Lilly Shaw for the control, determination, sheer grit and style she swam her 200m Breaststroke. Ella Scott for her 400m IM which was just one of the most controlled and powerful swims I have ever seen from her and a young age group swimmer, Eastleigh BoysCorden Eccleston for his sheer energy and continued growth and determination in his racing and training. Plus, you all should realise that this event was our best across the board, with regards to the margins for those of you who didn’t PB. You all swam closer to your PBs, meaning that these margins/differences were much, much smaller than before. Just demonstrating that everyone did so, so well. I could keep going on!

Instead, I want to finish this report with just the true facts that no one can deny. We swam 231 swims over the two days, of which 148 were PBs. This means that 64% of our swims were lifetime bests and considering the size of our club and the numbers of swimmers we had at Aldershot, shows how much we are improving! We came home with a total 59 medals, 22 Bronzes, 18 Silvers and 19 Golds! These are the facts; they can’t be argued with and they reflect what you all did and can do in the future! We swam against clubs from Hampshire and Surrey, clubs that we will meet at Counties and Regional competitions. We don’t need to be scared or intimated by any club, we only need to focus on ourselves, look after ourselves and our teammates and just keep smiling and enjoying what we are doing. Well done all of you and keep it going!

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PBs, meet, report, medals, head coach, race, competition, Rushmoor, Aldershot