Ipswich the best, says swim supremo
IPSWICH Swimming Club have the best set-up in the country, according to the nation's top coach.British swimming's newly-appointed Performance Director Bill Sweetenham heaped praise on Ipswich at a national conference for coaches from all over the country, picking the Suffolk club out for their facilities and professional set-up.
By Nicola Markwell
IPSWICH Swimming Club have the best set-up in the country, according to the nation's top coach.
British swimming's newly-appointed Performance Director Bill Sweetenham heaped praise on Ipswich at a national conference for coaches from all over the country, picking the Suffolk club out for their facilities and professional set-up.
The GB supremo declared the club's programme the best in the county and as good as any programme seen in either the USA or Australia.
He also announced that each coach attending the conference was expected to visit Ipswich and observe their training methods. The club's attendance charts are also to be taken on as standard among the leading swim teams around the country.
Sweetenham, along with other staff from the Amateur Swimming Association, toured many British clubs to examine their coaching methods and ensure they are making best use of their available resources and on his visit to Ipswich he was clearly very impressed.
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The club's head coach, Dave Champion, said: "It was an enormous surprise when he started talking about Ipswich at the conference.
"Ipswich swimmers were talked about again and again, especially with regard to skills, technique and
"Every swimmer, parent and coach should feel proud that all the hard work that we have put in over the years is starting to pay off."
The Ipswich Swimming Club president, Dave Whelan, was over the moon at the praise for his club.
"We are absolutely delighted. It is a great advertisement for the club and for the amount of work that Dave Champion has done on the coaching side of things.
"I was very surprised when I heard the news, simply because you don't expect a top coach like that to pick out one particular club. Compared to the likes of Leeds, for example, we are also quite a small set-up, so it's a real boost for us."
"I'm sure it has given the whole squad and staff a real lift. Now we've got to line up to those expectations though. The pressure's really on!"
Last weekend the club did manage to live up to these expectations when they took part in the Midland District Short Course Championship in Cambridge.
The club made a real impact, coming away with nine gold, three silver and four bronze medals.
Karen Pickering led the charge with gold medals in the 50m, 100m, 200m and 400m freestyle plus the 100m butterfly and the 100m individual medley.
Zoë Cray meanwhile dominated all the backstroke events once again, winning gold in the 50m, 100m and 200m backstroke, silver in the 100m freestyle and two bronze medals in the 50m and 200m freestyle. Cray also won the award for the highest points score based on her performance of 28.86 in the 50m backstroke.
Wayne Linford made his mark in the butterfly events, securing two silver medals in both the 50m and 100m events. Linford also finished in eighth place in the 100m Individual medley with a best time of 1.02.72.
John Sargent added to the medal tally with two junior bronze medals in both the 50m and 100m backstroke. Sargent swam 29.09 to set a best time in the 50m race to secure his bronze medal.
Alison Girling made some giant steps forward finishing in sixth place in the final of the 100m breaststroke in a best time of 1.15.71. Girling also finished in seventh place in the 200m-breaststroke event in a time of 2.42.97, just outside her best.
Phillip Gallagher raced into two finals this weekend. The first was the 100m individual medley with a time of 1.02.30 and sixth place and then the 100m freestyle with a time of 55.22 and eighth place.
Joe Rhodes made some significant steps forward, swimming best times in the 200m and 400m freestyle. Rhodes swam 2.01.55 for the 200m and 4.20.13 for the 400m race, both outstanding best times.
James Freezer, Aimee Mallion, Loises Howes and Laura Mallion also all competed in what was the last championships.