Heartbreak for Zoe

SWIMMING: Zoe Cray has spoken of her deep disappointment after missing out on a place in the Commonwealth Games.The 28-year-old Ipswich swimmer had looked like a hot contender for the latest British team, but sadly lost out when the trials came to a close ten days ago.

ZOE Cray has spoken of her deep disappointment after missing out on a place in the Commonwealth Games.

The 28-year-old Ipswich swimmer had looked like a hot contender for the latest British team, but sadly lost out when the trials came to a close ten days ago.

Speaking to the Evening Star, she said she was sad about the result, but that she would continue to fight toward her new goal.

"I was obviously upset at the time, because the Commonwealths had been the main aim for a long while.

"Unfortunately I just didn't do as well as I would have hoped to do at the trials, and my times weren't as fast as I wanted them to be.

"It's a real shame, but I'm getting over it now, and I know that I just have to focus on my next target."

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Zoe, who has been training with the Commonwealths in mind since about September last year, will now concentrate on the European Short Course Trials later this year.

She will also be in action this Sunday when Ipswich Swimming Club competes in the long-awaited Speedo Final at Crystal Palace.

"There's an awful lot to keep me busy, so my training carries on and I just fight toward a new goal.

"My main dream has always been to make the Olympic team, and nothing has changed in that respect. It is still my great ambition."

Zoe's talent and constant determination has won her great admiration on the swimming circuit – not least from her coach Dave Champion.

He recently told the Evening Star that no swimmer deserved an Olympic place more than her.

But Zoe's swimming career has been far from perfect in recent times. Since the summer of 2000 she has been waiting to have her name officially cleared after she admitted taking a banned drug.

It was an unfortunate and unintended series of events – spurred by her own admirable honesty.

"I was drugs tested at an event in June 2000 and then a week later I had a letter through the post which updated the banned drugs.

"This time it showed that the one I'd had in my inhaler was now banned, so I went to the GB doctor and explained the situation."

Ironically, Zoe's drugs test came back negative, but effectively she had admitted guilt, and was subsequently brought before various sporting panels to explain what had happened.

A guilty verdict generally creates a lifetime ban on competing in the Olympic or Commonwealth Games, so it is a massive relief that Zoe has now finally been cleared.

"It's officially all over at long last, and my name has been cleared," she said. "I'm really relieved because it was my honesty that made me go through this, and I had never intended to do anything against the book.

"It's just another thing that I have to put behind me, and forget about while I concentrate on the more important goals in my swimming career."

IPSWICH Swimming Club claimed second place in the recent Novice Gala held at their home pool.

The Junior team – mainly comprising young swimmers who had not previously competed at club level – fell just slightly short of the winning 197 points total.

Despite stiff competition at the Crown Pools event, Ipswich still managed to claim a number of top positions, and secure various personal bests for the juniors.

Ipswich Coach, Carol Jellings said: "This was a great experience for our younger swimmers, giving them the chance to compete without too much pressure.

"It was an ideal opportunity to see how they would cope in a gala situation, and I was pleasantly surprised by many of the swimmers."

All races were swum over a distance of 25 metres.

Final Results:

1. Lowestoft 197 points. 2. Ipswich 172 points. 3. Chelmsford 168 points. 4. RAF Lakenheath 124 points. 5. Oulten Broads 107 points. 6. Felixstowe 82 points.

GIRLS 9/10 yrs 4x25m Medley Relay 2nd, 1:25.46, 9yrs Fly Kathryn Watson 2nd 20.89, Breaststroke April Hyam 1st 23.70, Backstroke Annie Maskell 1st 21.21, Freestyle Chloe Harris 2nd 18.73, 9/10 yrs freestyle Relay 2nd 1:19.84.

10 yrs Breaststroke Heidi Baker 5th 27.02, Backstroke Alex Seal 2nd 21.06, Freestyle Hannah Bailey 2nd 17.32, Butterfly Lydia Williams 1st 20.17, 11/12 yrs Freestyle Relay 5th 1:14.91.  

Girls 11/12 yrs Medley relay 5th 1:23.73, 11/12 yrs Freestyle Relay 5th 1:14.91, 11yrs Backstroke Zoe King 4th 22.79, Freestyle Grace Tricker 3rd 18.32, Butterfly Rebecca Sillett 4th 23.63, Breaststroke Alex Boosey 5th 24.84. 12yrs Freestyle Rhianna Bryant 6th 21.09, Butterfly Catherine Worsfold 1st 17.17, Breaststroke Nancy Smith 6th 28.04, Backstroke Fern Simpson 2nd 20.96.

BOYS 9/10 yrs Medley Relay 3rd 1:30.24, 9/10 yrs Freestyle Relay 5th 1:29.62, 9 yrs Butterfly Tom Pryke 2nd 27.81, Breaststroke Daniel Sadler 1st 25.08, Backstroke Brendon Marsh 2nd 22.84, Freestyle Liam Stevens 5th 25.49. 10 yrs Breaststroke Stuart Gilson 2nd 22.57, Backstroke Ben Wood 2nd 20.79, Freestyle Ben Wood 2nd 17.35, Butterfly Stuart Gilson 4th 22.47.

11/12 yrs Medley Relay 2nd 1:21.29, 11/12 yrs Freestyle Relay 3rd 1:12.86. 11yrs Backstroke Lester Blake 4th 22.81, Freestyle Kieron Long 3rd 18.07, Butterfly Alex Pajak 1st 17.87, Breaststroke David Kershaw 1st 23.38. 12 yrs Freestyle Matthew Rutterford 2nd 16.12, Butterfly Benjamin Matthews 1st 17.59, Breastroke Lawrence King 3rd 21.50, Backstroke James Bigley 4th 20.25.

The evening finished off with the mixed 16 x 25m freestyle squadron relay with Ipswich finishing 2nd in a time of 4:58.68.

WITH this year's summer league now back under way, Suffolk's clubs have been busy bidding for glory on the county circuit.

Round one began around the region on Saturday, while two further dates are scheduled for 18th May and15th June.

Taking part in the Junior Summer League Division One, Deben Swimming joined one of this weekend's dramatic galas, hosted by West Suffolk Swimming Club in Haverhill.

Competition proved particularly tough for the Woodbridge side, leaving them trailing narrowly behind Beccles at the back of the pack of six.

Final victory belonged to Lowestoft on 221 points, while Deben gained a respectable 118.

The team will now be looking to improve on its position in the second and third rounds of the league competition – to be held in May and June.

The final points of all teams competing are as follows;-







The Summer League line-up for this year is as follows:

Div1                                Div 2

Lowestoft                        Stowmarket

Oulton Broad                  Sudbury

Great Yarmouth               Leiston

West Suffolk                   Felixstowe

Beccles                            Halstead

Deben                              Thetford


            Div 1                                       Div 2

R. 1    West Suffolk (Haverhill)           Thetford

R. 2    Lowestoft                               Sudbury

R. 3    Deben                                    Stowmarket

IPSWICH swimmers are gearing up for the long awaited Speedo Final at Crystal Palace.

This tense meet will take place on Sunday, and is the culmination of a dramatic series of nation-wide galas.

Some 460 clubs took part in the Speedo League this year, and Ipswich's impressive selection sees them vying for glory as one of the final eight contenders.

The final clubs to be involved in this major event are: Ipswich, Portsmouth Northsea, Northampton, City of Liverpool, Millfield, City of Coventry, Kingston upon Hull and Coast.

Commenting on Ipswich's inclusion in the final, Club spokeswoman, Karen Keeley, said: "This is a really big event for Ipswich and a massive achievement to have got this far.

"Everyone is really excited and it is a tribute to the team's hard work that we have got this far."

She added: "It is even more impressive for the club because this is the second year running that we have managed to reach the toughly-contested final."

Watch out for the results of this final in 'In The Pool' next Wednesday.

THIS week marks a special date in the calendar of regional sport – and particularly, swimming.

Suffolk Active Sport is to be launched tomorrow in a key county event, announcing the official beginnings of a promising new British initiative.

Active Sport is a new national programme designed by Sport England to give eight to 16-year-olds the best opportunity to enjoy their preferred sport.

It incorporates some ten sports, and operates via a partnership system at local level – bringing coaches, clubs, children and local authorities together.

In the sphere of swimming, it is hoped that Active Sport will prompt many more youngsters to register with county clubs, and that they will then be encouraged to reach their full potential in the field.

Tracy Brownlow, swimming development officer for Active Sport Suffolk, said: "This is really great news for swimming because it is putting guaranteed money into the sport of a period of at least five years, and it is helping us to organise projects which will really make a difference to the way clubs and pools run in this county.

"One of the first things we are doing is to set up forums within each district or borough which will get pool-users and local authorities around the table for the first time."

She added: "We are also really excited about the launch of swimming festivals and camps, which are coming about through the Active Sport initiative and should really improve the amount of youngsters attracted to swimming.

"It is a very inclusive system which provides an opening to youngsters of all standard and background."

Keep reading 'In the Pool' for further details about when the first Swimming Festival will take place in Suffolk.