County’s annual swimming championships set for three weekends of exciting racing at Crown Pools
- Credit: Archant
Suffolk’s County Championships recommenced at Crown Pools on February 13 as the first weekend of action taking place in the county got underway.
Following the long distance events, held jointly with Norfolk ASA at Norwich’s UEA Sportspark in January, clubs gathered in Ipswich for the first of two full weekends of competition.
It is the first year the championships have been held in February after changes were made to the structure of the Amateur Swimming Association’s (ASA) competition pathway and its calendar, moving from its traditional dates in March.
Championship secretary and president elect Sarah Elmer said alterations to the age groups had been made which resulted in a slightly smaller number of swimmers than last year, with some clubs affected more than others.
“We’ve got one fewer age group, so no nine-year-olds this year and the 10-year-olds are in with the 11-year-olds. The fact we’re down about 70 swims, 20 swimmers is neither here nor there over the three weekends of the championships.
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“It’s had an impact on those clubs which have swimmers at boarding schools because with it being half-term some of them would have been going back home to families.
“But I would say, looking at the numbers, maybe a lot of people have chosen to stay. On the whole the February window doesn’t seem to have made any difference. We really tried our hardest to work with the clubs so we kept the closing date as late as we possibly could.”
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Mrs Elmer also said the standard of swimming in Suffolk had remained high, especially in the open age group which was “absolutely chock-a-block with swimmers”.
She added she was looking forward to some exciting racing over the two full weekends, along with the relay day on February 28.
But she also said some changes may be made next year as the county’s management team learns from its first attempt at arranging a meet under the new rules.
Mrs Elmer said: “It wasn’t an easy task converting all our qualifying times from age on the day to age at the end of the year.
“We’ll look at them again before next year to see if there are any changes, any age groups or events which look particularly well supported or particularly weak.
“We already know there might be some changes to the 200m butterfly, the times for that look as though they might have been too hard.”