October saw all the Counties from England, Wales and Scotland converge on Ponds Forge in Sheffield to compete in the prestigious National Inter-County Championships, a competition with archived results back to 1974. Dorset had finished fourth in Division 2 in 2014, joining Worcester, Suffolk and Devon in gaining promotion to Division 1, so the aim of coaches Barry Alldrick (Poole) and Adam Parfitt (Bournemouth Collegiate) was for Dorset to stay in Division 1 and break Dorset’s habit of yo-yo’ing between divisions on an annual basis.
After the first six events with swimmers stepping up in rankings in every event so far, Dorset had started strongly and were at a gala highest of eighth in Division 1. Swims from Poole’s Jacob Peters, who won the 14/15years 100m Butterfly in a Dorset Junior Record of 56.58, and BCS’s Finn Trehane finishing second in the 12/13 years 100m Breaststroke with a PB of 1:09.86 contributed to these high points. Kayla Van Der Merwe (BCS) also made the top ten in the 12/13 years 100m Breaststroke with a PB of 1:17.71.
The Dorset team impressively racked up many personal bests, but had to wait a further ten events before making the top ten again, and this came in the Boys 14/15 Medley Relay team of Poole’s Jacob Peters, Swim Bournemouth’s Kelvin Wong and Bournemouth Collegiate’s Christian Tai and Ben Samuels. Jacob’s back stroke leg of 26.95 was enough to break his own Dorset Junior Record. At this point the team was now down to 19th place and in need of some more top ten finishes.
Over the next ten events, many more personal bests were gained along with a further three Dorset Records being lowered. Top ten finishes were earned by Finn Trehane gaining sixth place in the 12/13 years 100m Backstroke with another PB of 1:04.38, club mate Ben Samuels touched ninth in the 14/ 100m Freestyle in a PB of 54.94, with Zak Aitchison racing well to break the Dorset Senior Record to touch fifth in the 16/17 years 100m Breaststroke in a time of 1:04.88. Poole’s Harriet Perfect finished ninth to break her PB and the Dorset Junior 100m Backstroke record in the 14/15 years with a time of 1:03.56. Club mate Jacob Peters took his second win of the day and third Dorset Record in the 100m Backstroke in a time of 57.91. With just four events to go the team lay in 18th place.
The last four relays again saw some impressive times and step ups but no top ten finishes, meaning that Dorset finished 19th with 240 points. Fellow promoted counties from last year Worcestershire and Devon finished 18th and 20th respectively, along with 17th placed Scotland West to start the 2016 competition with Dorset in Division 2.
First time selection badges were awarded to: BCS – Ella Chown, Honor Davies, Zoe Gannaway, Lottie James, Kayla Van Der Merwe (BCS); Poole – Morgan Hiles, Jessica Kelleway, Jasmine McCrea, Alex Price, Guy Selwood; Seagulls – Bethan O’Hara, Max Weeks.
pee , beating importantly to beat Dorset’s nick name of the ‘YOYO team’ for moving between divisions on a regular basis.
Poole’s Madison Kemp and Bournemouth Collegiate’s Zak Aitchison were selected as team Dorset Captains. One of the captain’s roles is to parade on poolside with all the other Counties. As Zak was in the second race requiring time to prepare, Swim Bournemouth’s Henry Stanbrook stepped in for Zak for this role to make a grand entrance to poolside with Madison to some impressive cheering by the rest of the team.
Special thanks go to Nadine Honeybun, current Dorset County ASA President, Chris Mills and Mandy Thomas for representing Dorset as Technical Officials, and Team Captain’s Madison Kemp (Poole) and Zak Aichitson (BCS).