Strong winds forced the abandonment of the opening day of the 2018 Swim England National Open Water Age Group Championships; this year blue-green algae resulting in lake closure in the Rother Valley Country Park meant that fast action was needed to ensure this year’s event could even take place. This came as a second blow to Dorset swimmers who had already experienced the Swim England South West Open Water Championships at Weymouth being cancelled in July due to water temperature, and who had then to travel to the Midlands Open Water Championships at Nottingham’s Holme Pierrepont National Water Sports Centre to be able to qualify for the national competition. A last minute move, however, to Thrybergh Country Park in Rotherham meant the Championships took place on Monday 5 August with nine Dorset swimmers making the journey north to compete in either 2km (12/13 years), 3km (14/15 years) or 5km events according to age.
Poole’s Thea O’Keefe was the highest placed Dorset competitor finishing in 5th place with a time of 1:06.54 in the 19 Years Girls 5km event, while Teagan-Mae Graham (Poole) placed 8th in 1:04.39 in the 17/18 Years of the same event. In the 15 Years Girls 3km Poole’s Alex Palotai-Avella and Aimie Quarrie placed 9th and 12th in times of 39.02 and 39.08 respectively, while Harriet Fish (Swim Bournemouth) finished 17th with a time of 39.25 in the 14 Years age group.
Seagull’s Sonny Chamberlain-Hyde was Dorset’s highest placed male competitor finishing 11th in the 16 Years Boys 5km in 59.11, while Miles Ward (Poole) finished 14th in the same age group in 1:00.36 and James Richardson (Seagulls) also finished 14th in the 17/18 Years age group in 59.49. Finally, Poole’s Xavier West finished 20th in 28.06 in the 13 Years Boys 2km event.
The Swim England Open Water National Masters Championships will take place at Nene Park in Peterborough on 1 September 2019.