14 May 2023
Halstead Swimming Club are celebrating the achievements of Amelia, Charlie, Daniel, Danielle, Emilia, Imogen, Jasper, Joseph, Kai, Layla, Maisy and Samuel in the Swim England East Region Long Course Championships. They qualified for 53 events, which were held over several weekends in May, in Norwich and Luton. The SE East Region has 6 counties and over 130 clubs affiliated to it; on announcing that Halstead had placed 11th in the championship, Head Coach John Lowe called it, "An incredible achievement!", while also admitting to some of the magnificent swims making the distinguished coach a little 'misty eyed'.
The swimmers were cheered on from home, as the event was streamed on YouTube and we witnessed some extraordinary talent, determination and resilience from all our local athletes. Halstead is a relatively small club, but the commitment of these swimmers to keep improving, keep challenging themselves, has placed them amongst the best in the East of England and made them role models to friends and family – young and old, swimmer and non-swimmer alike!
A special mention goes out to two swimmers: Joseph Bale is a swimmer whose talent is truly exciting to watch evolve. Joseph competed in 7 events. He made the final for all 7, and won Regional Golds in 6: 200m IM, 50m 100m & 200m Breaststroke and the 100m & 200m Backstroke. His 200m IM had everyone on the edge of their seats and his lead in the 200m breaststroke was astounding. Joseph was awarded the Top Boy trophy for 11/12 yrs category.
Not content with dominating the East Region, Joseph is currently – for ‘Long Course’ (50m competition pools) events – ranked the 2nd fastest 12 year old in Britain for all 3 Breaststroke distances and 7th in the 100m & 200m Backstroke; for ‘Short Course’ (25m pools) he is ranked 1st in Britain for the 100m & 200m Breaststroke and top 10 for a further 3 events. Truly an incredible young man!
The boundless energy of 12 year old Layla Jennings took our breath away during this competition; she qualified for an extraordinary 14 events and had a competition that was not for the faint of heart. Layla achieved 10 top 8 places in the heats of her events, which included the brutal 400m IM, 400m Freestyle and 200m Butterfly. All but the 400m swims she had to redouble her efforts and do it all again in the finals, earning herself Gold in the 200m Butterfly, Silver in the 200m IM & Bronze in the 200m Freestyle.
The 200m Fly is a mental battle for the most seasoned of swimmers, Layla’s 200m butterfly was jaw dropping; she took it all in her stride, obliterating her entry time of 3:07.30 down to 2:55.28 in the heats, but had saved her best for the final where she reduced it further to win Gold with 2:50.33 – Both times leaving her competitors in her wake. By the close of the championships, Layla was ranked 5th in the Region for the 11/12 yrs category.
Needless to say, the whole of Halstead Swimming Club are very proud of them all.