Taunton Deane Swimming had a huge day out in Cardiff on Sunday, 21st April. Having qualified for the finals through the second place finish in the regional league final in December to Plymouth Leander, the current national champions, TDS made the prestigious A Cup Final by virtue of the virtual gala which sorts out the top 10 teams nationally to battle it out for the title of National Champion. The B final was held on Saturday and won by Preston by one point.
TDS were joined by Millfield and Plymouth from the western league along with City of Sheffield, City of Leeds, City of Liverpool, City of Guildford, Hatfield, Amersham and Boldemere. Many of these clubs who have strength in depth fielding International level swimmers, including Olympians: Ruta Meilutyte and Ellie Faulkner, the odds were stacked against TDS.
We started well with a second and third in the men’s and women’s 200IM. The relays exposed our lack of depth as we picked up a last place early on but we bounced back with a league record in the 13/14 girls medley relay (Newton, Edrich, Parker and Yap). We finished up the first ten events in a surprising 4th place and on to the main body of the individual events.
Some strong performances hauled us up to third and from that point on we were competing for 2nd with CITY OF Sheffield never too far behind. At the next check point, we were one point behind eventual winners Plymouth Leander and it was very surreal to find ourselves in a position where we were not just competing for a podium but perhaps even the title!
Another record went when Charlie Attwood astounded us as his half way split in the 15/u 100 breaststroke, 29.95, was just shy of the British record for that distance. Clearly keen to come back from the 10th place on his 100 free he took nearly 2 seconds off the previous record held by Tristan Slater of Millfield School. With this record, TDS took 2 of only 3 records broken on the day, the other by a double Olympic gold medallist, Ruta!
We knew that we did not have the strongest set of relays going into the last 8 events so it was imperative we build up a lead on the 4th place team to defend the podium place, a points check via the live scoring showed TD and Sheffield equal 3rd, with Guildford in 2nd only 2 points ahead. A string of good performances saw us gain 2 points over the next few races. Down to the last 2 races, the men’s and women’s cannon teams (6 swimmers each doing 50 meters) we were going to be against it as 3 of the teams hosted at least 1 Olympic team member with some teams having a third of their team made up from London 2012 athletes. This was not a fight we would win but it was one we needed to make sure we didn’t lose! A good 4th from a strong TDS girl’s team meant we had a shot at second but also still had to defend against Sheffield who was now only 8 points behind us. The men’s cannon team is not on the same level as Plymouth, Guildford, Sheffield who all host Olympic members so we had to hope we could make sure we didn’t come in the bottom two or take a DQ to take third on our own. Sheffield could only make second and with a respectable 7th place, we left a few teams trailing in our wake and so Taunton Deane Swimming take on the big boys, push them hard and came away with a phenomenal third!!!
Also congratulations to Jacob Greenow and Charlie Attwood for picking up Most Improved swimmers awards for their age groups.
Special mention must go to the parents and supporters who dressed up according to our theme for the day, Deane Devils, including Dom Gallagher with a full face make up and red onesie! Pictures to follow...
An amazing achievement and congratulations to Head Coach, Graham Davidson and his team of volunteer coaches who have been involved in developing the swimmers to this point and into the futures.....this is for you guys.
If you would like to be part of a club that can provide opportunity like this then please do get in contact via the website: www.tdswim.co.uk