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The British Summer Nationals 2017 at Pond’s Forge, Sheffield ended on 30 July with Dorset swimmers bringing home ten British Nationals medals – two gold, four silver and three bronze – as well as Dorset County Long Course Records having been broken. Dorset clubs with swimmers competing were Bournemouth Collegiate, Poole, Seagulls, Swim Bournemouth, Wareham and West Dorset, ranked nationally 1 to 24 in their age group and event. 


Day 1:

The first day of the British Summer Nationals saw nine swimmers from four Dorset clubs taking part and resulting in the first medal of the competition from Bournemouth Collegiate’s Kayla van der Merwe placing third in the heats of the 15 years 50m Breaststroke (34.09) and then earning a bronze medal with a finals time of 33.68. BCS swimmers Finn Trehane and Alex Bryant also made finals in the 15 years age group with Finn placing eighth in 100m Breaststroke and finishing fifth in the final with a PB of 1:08.19, and Alex placing ninth in 50m Backstroke and tenth in the final with PB of 28.69.


Day 2:

Another busy day in the pool resulting in two medals and new County Records for Dorset. Despite being in full training for the World Junior Championships in Indianapolis in August, Poole’s Jacob Peter gave an impressive performance in the 17/18 years 200m Butterfly placing first in the heats less than .05 off his personal best with a time of 2:01.01 and then earning a silver medal with a Finals time of 2:01.63. Jasmine Mc Crea (Poole) achieved a similarly upbeat performance in the 16 years 50m Butterfly, placing first in the heats and also taking a silver medal with a new Senior and Junior County Record time of 27.24. BCS swimmer Kayla van der Merwe was back in the pool for the 200m Breaststroke, going into the final in ninth place and finishing just outside the 15 years medals with a PB of 2:38.09. Finn Trehane (BCS) set new PBs in both heats and finals of the 15 years 50m Breaststroke placing tenth (31.93) then finishing seventh with a time of 31.31. In the 15 years 100m Backstroke Oliver Fairman (Swim Bournemouth) came fifth in the heats with a PB of 1:00.48, a placing he held on to in the final (1:00.49). 


Day 3:

A quieter day for Dorset with just three swimmers competing but ending with Jasmine McCrea (Poole) dominating the 16 years 50m Freestyle, finishing first in the heats and going on to break her own Junior County Record in the final (26.15) to bring home the gold medal. 


Day 4:

Back in the pool for 17/18 years 100m Butterfly, Jacob Peters (Poole) made his mark by placing first in the heats (54.45) and finishing in silver place (54.34) while having achieved PBs in both and setting new Senior County Records at the same time. In the 16 years 100m Freestyle Jasmine McCrea (Poole) improved her sixth placing in the heats to win the bronze medal with a PB of 57.59. Christian Tai (BCS) went into the final of the 16 years 100m Butterfly in first place with a PB of 58.23 and finished fourth with a further PB of 57.47. Finn Trehane (BCS) also gave an impressive performance in the 15 years 200 Breaststroke, holding on to his seventh heats placing in the final (2:30.50) while PB’ing in both and having knocked three and half seconds from entry time. 


Day 5:

Day 5 resulted in some great swims and plenty of PBs for Dorset swimmers but just Poole girls team of Fiona Hardy, Thea O’Keefe, Leonie Wiehle and Jasmine McCrea reaching the final of the 17/over 4 x 100m Freestyle, placing eighth in the heats with a time of 3:57.25 and finishing national ninth in 3:58.84. 


Day 6:

An exceptionally good day for Dorset swimmers! Last day of the British Summer Nationals and Kayla van der Merwe (BCS) was out to make her mark to finish on a high note. Matching her entry time of 1:15.04 and placing ninth in the heats of the 15 years 100m Breaststroke, Kayla really turned up the pressure in a fast final and taking everyone by surprise, including the cameramen filming the finish, powered up the outer lanes to take the gold medal with an impressive three second PB time of 1:12.03, almost one second ahead of the competition. Poole’s Jasmine McCrea and Jacob Peters also finished the last day of the competition with medal-winning, record-breaking performances. A bronze medal and new Junior County Record went to Jasmine for a time of 1:01.32 in the 16 years 100m Butterfly final while Jacob clocked up a PB and new Senior County Record of 24.51 in the 17/18 years 50m Butterfly to take the silver medal. The fourth and final medal of the day came from Swim Bournemouth’s Oliver Fairman who placed third in both heats and finals to bring home the bronze with a PB of 2:08.41 in the 15 years  200m Backstroke. Ella Chown (BCS) also placed tenth in both heats and finals of the 13/14 years 100m Butterfly (1:05.35).

Photo: A well-deserved national gold medal for Kayla van der Merwe, Bournemouth Collegiate.