Southampton Dolphins new Head Coaches delight at his first County Championships
Matt Boyd Wallis can’t help his excitement over flowing when he starts talking about his first six months as the new Head Coach for the Southampton Dolphins Swimming Club.
“The swimmers had a really tough time in 2018. The same coach had been in place for 20 years and suddenly left half way through the season, taking many of the top squad with him. The replacement coach only lasted six weeks, so the kids were all over the place when I started in September. But the way they have responded is fantastic and we are starting to see the results. As a coach, this is what I want to see, to have swimmers grow in belief, understanding in what and why they do the things they do and start to buy into a set of philosophies and ideas introduced by their coaches.”
Southampton Dolphin Emily Lowther (13) broke the Hampshire County Championship Record for the 50m Breaststroke, setting a new time of 35.47 seconds, one of three County titles for the Shirley swimmer at the 2019 Counties competition in Portsmouth and Waterlooville.
It was one of six medals, three gold, three silver for the promising Shirley Pool swimmer and just part of the medal haul from the Counties, continuing a fine tradition of success at for the swim school, now celebrating their 50th year of teaching swimming.
Emily’s other County titles came in the 200m breaststroke (2.43.56) and the 200m Fly (2.42.46)
The 24 qualifying Southampton swimmers all produced lifetime best swims and were rewarded with 9 gold, 10 silver and 5 bronze medals, ranking the club 6th in the County.
Shirley Pool’s top swimmers began their annual assault on the Hampshire County Championships in style with Isabel Turner (13) continuing her fine form to secure top spot in three events; 100m backstroke (1.09.31), 50m back 32.81 and 200m backstroke (2.26.02)
The improving Matthew Lowther (10) won Gold Medals in the Boys 10/11 years 400m Freestyle event, with an impressive time of 5.26.20; struck gold again in the 100m fly (1.20.39) and 200m Fly (2.55.33) , edged out to silver for the 50 fly and bronze in the 200m Individual medley (3.04.69) and 100m freestyle. A fine collection of first County medals for the youngster.
Breaking through to the podium for the first time was Phoebe Field (12), in the gruelling 400m Individual Medley. Phoebe and Emily Lowther came away with silvers after ding dong races with the girls from Rushmoor Royals, a first county medal for a delighted Phoebe soon to be followed by silver in the 100m freestyle (1.08.87) and bronze in the 100m fly (1.12.97).
Rhyseren Taylor (12) produced best ever swims to secure second place in the 400m (4.59.41) and 1500m freestyle (19.56.09) to take home two silvers.
The Girls 14 and under Medley Relay team of Ellena Lewis (Backstroke), Emily Lowther (Breast), Isabel Turner (Fly) & Freya Manning (Freestyle) had the crowd on their feet as they tried to defend their County Title. Leading the field from the start, the final 50m leg saw the Hart team steam down the pool in a sub 30 second 50m, snatching the gold by just 2 hundredths of a second.
Ellena Lewis took her second silver of the championships with a well-deserved 33.06 in the 50m backstroke.
Brother Nathan Lewis (12) also won two, well earnt medals, taking Bronze in the Boys 12yrs 400m IM, with a controlled 6.08.52 and the 50m fly (34.73).
It was a long weekend for swimmers and parents, starting on the Friday evening with the 800m Free, where Verity Telford and Rhyseren Taylor both recorded long course PBs and Rhyseren finishing 4th, with Verity 8th overall in the 12yrs age group.
The boy’s team of Lucas Curtis, Oliver Rutherford, Nathan Lewis and Mathew Lowther came seventh in the County 200m freestyle, while the girls had two teams in the 10-14 age group. Dolphins finishing just ahead of their City rivals on both occasions, adding some local spice to the event, with Evie Turner and Zoey Yates coming into the squad to bolster the team.
Alana Maddock continued the success finishing 4th in the 10yr 400m free in a personal best time of time of 5.48.75.
Head Coach Matt Boyd-Wallis enthused,
“Every swimmer, in all events recording a PB and demonstrating how much the swimmers have started to believe in themselves and take their training into competition. But best for me was the way our swimmers conducted themselves and raced. They took on board all our instruction from poolside and were committed with 100% effort and energy. Every one of them should be incredibly proud of themselves. Phoebe Field needs a special mention for her amazing swims at the Valentine meet: 9 races, 8 personal bests, 7 gold medals! Wow!”
Other personal best performances from: Zak Lanham, Isaac Maddock, Nathan Lewis, Isabella Fraser-Corbridge, Sophie jones, Oliver Cook, Evie Turner, Freya Manning, Verity Taylor, Freya Latimore, Lolah Manning, Ruby Latimore, Emma Lambert, Isabella Geary, Isla Rutherford, Ffion Evans