Press Reports 1999

news.press.gif (7724 bytes)

wo.gif (3888 bytes)


 Award-winners Duncan and Allum are Watford's top pair

Hayley Duncan and Andrew Allum were named as the swimmers of the year at Watford Swimming Club's award night last week. Thirteen-year-old Duncan has gone from strength to strength this year, and virtually swept the board in the club championships in her own under-14 age group, as well as winning four ladies open titles. Duncan, who attends Rickmansworth School, has been competing with great success in various competitions and is looking to consolidate her form from this year's County and Southern County Age Groups at next year's National Championships, where she will be mainly concentrating on her favourite event, the 200 meter backstroke.
Allum, 25, has been in consistently good form all year, swimming in all Watford's galas where he can always be relied upon for a win in either the backstroke or butterfly events. Andrew has also taken advantage of his eligibility for masters events and, after winning three titles at the Southern Counties Masters, swam superbly at the equivalent national event to earn selection for the European Championships to be held in Germany next year.
Other award winners were Ben Dollard, who won the 1999 Duncan Goodhew Award for effort, and Clare Willer, who won the 1999 Jean East Award for effort. Dollard, 12, and Willer, 16, have been rewarded for their dedication and attitude towards training which is so demanding for the modern competitive swimmer. They are both an inspiration to the younger club swimmers. John Sargent was named club person of the year.

The final round of the Speedo London League was held on Saturday at the new 25 meter Borehamwood pool, and Watford's swimmers produced a good display on the night which gave them third place, and therefore earned enough points to improve on last year's finishing position of 18th.
The Gooding brothers, Peter (61.06) and Marc (65.82), both had a win in the 100m Freestyle-Peter in the Under-16 event, and Marc in the Under-14, and they teamed up with John Beardsworth and Martin Leonard to win both Under-16 relays.
Newly-crowned swimmers of the year Hayley Duncan and Andrew Allum were again in winning form, Hayley in the Under-14 100m Back (76.91) and 100m Fly (78.03), and Andrew in the Open 200m IM (2.26.74). Sarah Blackwell also recorded a victory, winning the Ladies Open 100m Breast in a fast 87.12.
Other notable swims on the night came from Luke Rogers, Alex Wright and Paul Gooding, who all gained runners-up spot in their respective Under-12 individual events.

The Gooding brothers were on the form when Watford Swimming Club visited Hitchin for an open meet recently. Paul, ten won the 50 metres freestyle for his age in a time of 34 seconds and just missed out on making it a double with the 50 metres breastroke, where he finished second in a personal best of 45.83. He swam another personal best in the 100 IM, finishing forth in a time of 1.32.14, and came eighth in the 50m butterfly.
Elder brother Peter, 15, who is sponsored by Watford Borough Council, swimming in the 15 and over age group, recorded a personal best in the 50 metres freestyle, finishing fifth in a time of 27.10, just ahead of fellow team mate Andrew Allum who was sixth in 27.30. Peter recorded a personal best time of 1.09.72 in the IM to finish sixth, once again just beating Andrew who finished seventh in 1.09.91. Peter's other results were: 100 breastroke, sixth in 1.16.56, 100 fly, 1.09.81, 100 free, 1.01.47. Andrew finished seventh in the 100 fly in 1.07.37 and swam 1.21.47 in the 100 breastroke.
Marc Gooding, 13, also had an excellent swim in the 50 metres open free, finishing sixth in a personal best time of 29.39. He also swam in the 100 fly, 1.17.24, the 100 IM, 1.25 22, and the 100 free, 1.05.64.
Hayley Duncan,13, was in good form, swimming in the 100 IM, 1.18.95, 100 fly, fifth in 1.17.56, 100 back, fourth in 1.16.11 and 100 free, 1.09.88.
Mark Ponsford, ten, finished the 50 back, 49.89, 50 free, 39.69, 100 IM, 1.42.21, and the breastroke in a personal best time of 48.53. Mark's sister Nicola, 13, swam the 100 IM, 1.45.34 the 100 breastroke, 1.45.41, 100 back, 1.45 and 100 free, 1.34.07. Ben Dollard, 12, came seventh in the 50 back in 37.67, sixth in the 50 free in 31.74, and second in the 50 fly in 35.28. Amanda Weller swam 1.32.36 in the 100 breastroke and finished in 1.12.22 in the 100 free.

flags.gif (2042 bytes)


 Allum collects title treble

Watford Swimming Club held their final Championships of the year last Wednesday and they produced a number of outstanding displays.
In the Girls Under-10 one length Fly, there was a very close finish with Nicola Carter (28.51) just edging out Yasmin Dollard (28.56) by five hundredths of a second, with Sally Arthur taking the bronze. The boys equivalent race was easier to call, Chris James turning out a convincing winner in a fast 26.31.
The Girls Under-12 two lengths free final was another tight race with Anisa Jamal (47.00) just ahead of Kerry Cuthbert (47.47), and Joanne Burrows close behind in 48.95. Mark Cuthbert in the Under-12 100-yards back (78.57), Marc Gooding in the Under-14 two lengths sprint (37.32), and his brother Peter in the Under-17 200-yards free (2.08.80) all produced winning performances, as did Sarah Blackwell who posted an impressive 77.81 for the Girls Under-17 100-yards breast.
Thirteen -year old Hayley Duncan has been in good form recently and she won two more titles on the night - in the Under-14 100-yards back (71.55) and also the Open 100-yards fly which she won a time of 69.02.
But the swimmer-of-the-night had to be Andrew Allum, who continues to swim well and collected no less than three titles.  His successful events were the Open 200-yards fly (2.28.76), two lengths fly (37.03) and the 100-yards back, which he won after a tremendous battle with Lee Portingale whose time of 61.31 was only fractionally behind Andrews' winning 61.05.
The other events were the Ladies 400-yards free which was won by Claire Willer (5.01.18), and the Ladies two lengths breast which was taken by Kim Cox (55.30), Kim was also successful in a recent Open meet at Nottingham where she recorded two personal bests, and won two trophies in the 50 metres free and breast.

Watford were represented by a small team of five swimmers in last Saturday's Herts ASA Development Meet at Borehamwood which is specifically for youngsters who have yet to swim at County events. Those taking part were Georgia Braham, Glen White, Stuart Carter, Phil Blackwell and Danielle Healey and all managed to gain personal bests in their events, with pride of place going to Georgia who won the Girls ten-years 25-metres fly.

The club hosted another popular Novice Gala last Sunday at the Bill Everett Centre and. although coming third out of the three teams, all the swimmers enjoyed themselves.
A special mention and thanks must go to Chris and Carol Collins who are stepping down as junior team managers at the end of this year.

 Double silver for Martin-Dye

Preparations for the British Olympic Trials next July are going well for sprinter Graham Martin-Dye.
The Watford Swimming Club member competed in the Southern Counties Winter Championships at Barnet this month and finish second in the 50 metres freestyle in 24.17 and second in the 100 metres freestyle in 52.30. In both races, first place went to Matthew Kidd, from Leatherhead, who is a current Great Britain international.
As a result of this, Martin-Dye has been selected to swim for the South of England in Luxemburg on January 27 next year. In the British Grand Prix at Swansea, Graham was fifth in the 50 metres freestyle in 24.30 and forth in the 100 metres freestyle in 51.90. Martin-Dye works at Danka in Hemel Hempstead and is supported by Watford Borough Council.

flags.gif (2042 bytes)


 Tough test

After a fine performance in the first round of the Speedo London League, Watford's swimmers found the going a lot tougher against stronger opposition in the second round held at Hemel Hempstead, last Saturday. Although the times recorded by the swimmers were very similar to those of the first round in which Watford finished second, this time they were only good enough for sixth place.
There were, however, some good individual performances on the night, notably from Hayley Duncan who won the Girls Under-14 100m backstroke in 75.54,and took third in the 100m fly in 79.06, and Andrew Allum who won the open 100m back in 67.35, and took the runners-up spot in his other event, the 200m individual medley in 2.28.78.
Peter Gooding also swam well, recording two runners-up spots in the Under-16 100m fly in 69.87 and 100m free in 62.15, and the boys Under-14 team of Adam Collins, Matt Ginty, Ben Dollard and Mark Gooding did well in their relay events to take second place in both. Despite coming sixth in the gala, the club is still on course to improve on last year's position in the league, and will be looking to a good result in the final round in December.  

flags.gif (2042 bytes)


Andrew rises to occasion

Watford Swimming Club's Andrew Allum continued his impressive run of results in master competitions this year when he competed in the National Championships, at Sheffield recently. The Watford swimmer competed in six events with his aim being to qualify for the World Championships which are being held in Munich next summer.
Swimming in the 25-30 year age group, Andrews best event proved to be the 200m fly in which he finished an excellent runner up in 2.40.32. In his other events he achieved two forth placings in the 50m and 100m back, recording 29.86 and 64.82 respectively and a top twenty placing in his remaining three events - 50m free, 50m and 100m fly and in doing so achieved the qualifying times in which he will now compete. From now until then there are plenty of competitions in which he and other senior members of Watford Swimming Club will be competing in.

flags.gif (2042 bytes)


Super second spot

Watford Swimming club produced a pleasing team performance in the first round of the Speedo London League last Saturday to take the runners-up spot from the six teams competing. It was clear from the very first events that the winners of the gala would be between Watford, Sutton and Cheam and Epping Forest, and, during an exciting and eventful evening, the lead changed hands several times, right up to the last race when the winners proved to be Sutton and Cheam with 213 points, with Watford a close second on 209 and Epping Forest one point behind in third.
The boys were on form again winning 11 out of their 25 races and there were some good swims across all age groups. Alex Wright had a fine evening, winning the boys Under 12, 50m free in 36.77 and joining Nick Ginty, Luke Rogers and Paul Gooding to win both their medley and freestyle relays by wide margins. The Under 14 team also won both relays, the successful boys being Marc Gooding, Ben Dollard, Matt Ginty and Adam Collins. Peter Gooding had a couple of excellent individual victories in the under 16 age group, winning both the 100m fly in 71.06 and 100m free in 62.44 and he was part of the victories in the open freestyle relay team that won the final event of the night, which gave the points needed to snatch second place.
For the girls, both Hayley Duncan and Claire Willer achieved two runners-up positions in their respective individual events, Hayley in the under 14 100m back in 74.66 and 100m fly in 78.09 and Claire in the open 100m fly in 80.59 and 100m free in 69.40.

Coming second ensures that, for the next round in November, the club will be in one of the higher graded galas.

flags.gif (2042 bytes)


Allum's medal haul

Watford swimming club's Andrew Allum was in superb form at the recent Southern Counties Masters meet, held at Barnet Copthall, recently. Swimming in the 25-29 years age group, Allum was among the medals in all of his six events, gaining three gold's, two silvers and a bronze. His winning events were the 50m back, 30.14, 100m fly, 64.64, and the grueling 200m fly, which he won in 2.42.06. Allum now has his sights set on future national competitions. Also in action at Barnet was Mike Thomas, who gained four fifth places in the 50-54 years age group.

Watford's swimmers competed in two galas at the weekend and met with different fortunes in the two events. On Saturday, they travelled to Luton, where they found the competition stiff and eventually finished forth in a B grade gala. Watford's only individual winners on the night were from Lee Portingale (open 100m back), Andrew Allum (open 100m fly) and Peter Gooding (under-16 100m free).
However, on Sunday, the younger members of the club turned in an excellent team performance to easily win a novice event held at the Bill Everett Centre. Swimming against similar young teams from Tring and Wellingborough in the categories of under-10, 11 and 12, they won 23 out of the 37 races - an impressive achievement at any level. Elroy Elvie, Jasmin Hodgson, Guy Rogers, Nicola Carter, Dean White, Nicola Carter, Nick Murkin and Emily Ginty all won an individual event in the youngest under-10 years category

Leicester was the venue for an Open meet for three Watford swimming club members.
Hayley Duncan (13) swam in brilliant style to knock 1.15 seconds of her previous best in the 100m backstroke, finishing forth in a time of 1.14.87. She took another second of her previous best time in the 100m freestyle in a time of 1.08.27 and also over a second off her 100m butterfly in 1.17.29 finishing in 5th place. She also swam in the 100m IM but just failed to make it four personal best swims in a row.
Hayley should achieve her aim of swimming in next year's national championships if she continues to improve.
Her team-mate Amanda Weller, 14, swam in the girls 14 years 100m backstroke, 1.22.19, 100m breastroke, 1.32.26 and the 100m freestyle, 1.13.83, and, as she has only been in the training scheme at Watford for one year, she is improving well.
Peter Gooding, 15 who had to withdraw from his favoured breaststroke event due to a knee injury, did, however decide to give the freestyle a go, but after a false start by one of the other competitors, found his knee unable to hold up for another good start, and finished with a disappointing time of 1.02.83 in the 100m event.
All three train at Watford Swimming Club under coach Lee Portingale.

flags.gif (2042 bytes)


Travelling trio

Three Watford swimmers made a 370 mile round trip at the weekend to compete in two open events.
Hayley Duncan, 13, and Gooding brothers, Marc, 12, and Paul, 9, visited Lincoln on Saturday, then travelled to Sutton Coldfield on Sunday.
Unfortunately, elder brother Peter was unable to swim due to an injury. Both meets saw some very tough competition, but the Watford swimmers had some good swims and all managed to collect some trophies.

Watford's junior swimmers were in action last Saturday, when they competed in the third round of the Milton Keynes & District Junior League which was held at Stoke Mandeville.
The boys in the team were all in outstanding form, and won no less than 15 of their 20 races, and swept the board in the relay events winning all eight, which was an excellent achievement.  This enabled the team to share first place with Houghton Regis with 121 points, a greatly improved effort from the previous round.
It would be hard to single out any particular swimmer, as there were so many good performances, but special mention must go to Glen White and Tom Rose in the ten year age group, Alex Wright, 11, who has just returned from injury and team captain Adam Collins and his fellow 12 year old Ben Dollard, who all won individual events as well as their two relays. The girls too played their part, and while not hitting the heights that the boys achieved, all swam to their best in what was a memorable night, and an encouraging sign for the future. 

flags.gif (2042 bytes)


 Medley mayhem

Last Wednesday, Watford held their latest club championships. All of the age groups had to do an individual Medley, which consists of one length of each of the four strokes, butterfly, backstroke, breastroke and frontcrawl.
In the youngest age group, the under 10's, Nicola Carter (1.46.50) won the girls event, and Dean White (1.39.91) took the boys. Anisa Jamal and Luke Rogers were both successful again in the under 12 races, and in the under 14 events, Hayley Duncan and Matt Ginty both showed fine stroke techniques to win.
In the older age groups, Clair Willer took the under 17 event, and her sister Sarah made it a winning family double in the 17 and over race. Peter Gooding was on the mark again in the boys under 17 event, and the final event of the night went to Andrew Allum who won the 17 and over race in a fast 1.25.81.

On Saturday, Watford hosted a "C" grade gala at the Central Baths which was keenly contested by six local teams.
The boys under 12 team of Alex and Ben Wright, Luke Rogers, Tom Judge and Paul Gooding, were successful in both their relay events as were the boys under 14 team which comprised of Adam Collins, Matthew Thomas, Marc Gooding and Ben Dollard. Luke , Marc and Ben also had victories in their individual events, as did John Beardsworth who took the under 16 backstroke.

flags.gif (2042 bytes)


Breaking barriers

Watford Swimming Club's growing band of open swimmers were in action last Saturday when they travelled to compete in the City of Canterbury meet. Many struggled to post personal best times, but one swimmer who produced his first ever sub-60 second swim in the 100m freestyle in 59.19, which earned him a second place. He backed this up with two more second places in the butterfly and breastroke events.
In the boys 11 years category, Mark Cuthbert swam a fine tactical race to take silver in the 100m breastroke in 1.39.55, and consolidated this by reaching the finals in his other two events, coming fifth and sixth in the 100m free and 100m back respectively. Ben Dollard also reached the final in each of his three events in the 12-year-old age group, and 13-year-olds Matt Ginty and Marc Gooding both achieved a couple of placed efforts.
Regulars in the open meets, Hayley Duncan and Paul Gooding, put their experience to good use and were also again among the medals, Hayley taking silver in the 13-year-old girls 100m back 1.16.94 and Paul third in the ten-year-old boys 50m freestyle sprint 34.70.

Four Watford Swimming Club members travelled to Lowestoft over the Bank Holiday to take part in the Great Eastern Open Meet. The three Gooding brothers, Peter, 15 Marc, 13, and Paul, nine, and fellow team mate 13-year-old Hayley Duncan, enjoyed a good weekend.
Marc took first place in the 100 metres freestyle, with an outstanding new personal best time of 1.07.06, third in the 100 metres butterfly in 1.19.70, and forth in the individual medley in a time of 3.03.09.
Paul came sixth in the 50 metres freestyle in 34.83, fifth in the 50 metres breastroke in 46.20, tenth in the individual medley in 1.34.44 and posted 47.07 in the 50 metres backstroke.
Peter took second in the 100 metres breastroke in 1.17.06, tenth in the open 50 metres freestyle in 27.90, eighth in the open 100 metres freestyle in 1.02.04, seventh in the open 100 metres breastroke in 1.18.04 and sixth in the individual medley in 2.37.32.
Finally, Hayley took third place in the 100 metres backstroke in 1.17.52, seventh in the ladies open 100 metres butterfly in 1.20.08, forth in the 100 metres butterfly in 1.19.58, fifth in the 100 metres freestyle in 1.10.53, sixth in the 200 metres individual medley in 2.52.26 and tenth in the ladies open individual medley in 2.52.50.

flags.gif (2042 bytes)


Peter wins grant for expense of success

The swimming career of teenager Peter Gooding has been given a boost by Watford Council. The 15-year-old, who swims for Watford Swimming Club, has been awarded a grant of 250 to help with the expenses of the coming year. He recently swam in the open men's relay team at the national championships in Sheffield.
A pupil at Kinks Langley School, Peter's aims for the next 12 months are to enter more open events around the country, to be placed at the Southern Counties Championships and to qualify for next year's nationals in the 100 metres breaststroke and 50 metres freestyle. His next galas are at Lowestoft on August 28 and 29, Canterbury on September 4, Lincoln on September 18 and Sutton Coldfield on September 19.

flags.gif (2042 bytes)


Last chance missed but personal bests for club swimmers

Two members of Watford Swimming Club travelled to Barnet to compete in the Last Chance Meet in a final attempt to gain national qualifying times.  Although they did not achieve the qualifying times, they both had a very good weekend.
Peter Gooding, 15 years old, broke two club records in the 100m breaststroke in a time of 1.16.23 finishing ninth and in the 50m fly coming in third a time of 29.94.
  He also recorded two personal best times of 1.00.02 in the 100m free, finishing 12th, and fifth in the 50m free in a time of 27.84.
Hayley Duncan, 13 years, did equally well in her events, coming second in the 50m backstroke in a personal best time of 35.86 and fourth in the 100m backstroke in a time of 1.16.51.
The competition at the meet was very stiff, with swimmers from more than 70 clubs competing, in one of the best short course pools in the country, offering excellent facilities.  Peter and Hayley are now preparing for the Southern Counties championships at Crystal Palace, which take place over the next few weeks followed by swims all over the country as they progress towards swimming at the highest level in their sport.  Hayley and Peter both train in Watford with coach Lee Portingale. 

Watford hosted the popular Sport for All Gala last Saturday at the Central Baths, and turned in an impressive team performance to win     the event in great style.
Out of the 43events, Watford's swimmers won no less than 22, and finished the gala with 99 points, some 189 ahead of their nearest opponents Bishop's Stortford.
There were many stars on the night for Watford, Adam Bowden and Peter Gooding both had two individual wins each in the men's open races, and Hayley Duncan (girls Under-15's) and Ben Dollard (boys Under-13's) won their two individual events extremely easily, proving what excellent swimmers they are, especially on butterfly.
Other winners included Adam Collins (Under-13's 21back), Marc Gooding (Under-15's 21 free), John Beardsworth (Under-15's 4x1 IM) and Sarah Blackwell (open 21 breast).  

flags.gif (2042 bytes)


Portingale smashes record

Watford Swimming Club held the latest round of their club championships last Wednesday.  Highlight of the evening goes without doubt to Watford's swimmer/coach Lee Portingale who produced a superb swim in the Men's Open 200yards backstroke, and clocked 2.06.76 which set a new club record.  The previous best time of 2.07.30 was set 21 years ago in 1978 by Laurie Cook , an outstanding backstroker, who was present at the poll to witness his record being lowered.
In the other events there was a close finish in the boys Under-14 100 yards fly, where Marc Gooding (70.36) just pipped Ben Dollard (70.48), with Adam Collins in third.
Several swimmers are dominating their particular age groups this year, with Anisa Jamal (girls Under-12), Luke Rogers (boys Under-12), Hayley Duncan ( girls Under-14), Peter Gooding (boys Under-17) and Claire Willer (girls Under-17) all adding titles to their previous victories.
In the youngest age group, The Under-10's, the medals seem to be shared out among different swimmers, and this time Sally Arthur was crowned champion in the girls one length breast, and Chris James in the boys two length free.

On Saturday, Watford's youngsters travelled to Luton to compete in the first round of the Milton Keynes and District Junior League.  The team spirit that they showed was a credit to the club, with several swimmers, especially the girls, having to swim out of age to ensure there was a Watford competitor in every race.
Despite this, Watford managed to finish third on the night and gained nine first places out of the 43events.
Several swimmers were on form, none more so than Kerry Cuthbert who won her two individual races, in the girls ten years two length free and one length fly.  The other individual winners were Paul "Snodge" Gooding in the boys ten year two length breast, and butterfly specialists Ben Dollard in the boys 12 year, and Tom Rose in the boys ten year age groups.
A special mention must also be given to the nine year old boys team of Matthew Toothill, Guy Rogers, Chris James and Elroy Elvie, who won both their relay events in great style. 

flags.gif (2042 bytes)


Double wins for foursome

It was a case of doubles all round at the latest Watford Swimming Club Championships Last Wednesday, when no less than four swimmers recorded two individual successes.
Sarah Willer, taking a break from university, scored in both the open 100 yard breast and one length fly, and Hayley Duncan took the 200 yard fly event as well as the 100 yard fly event in her own 12/13 year age group. Peter Gooding's two wins were in the boys Under-17 100 yard back and the open 100 breast, whilst Lee Portingale doubled up with wins in the Open 400 and two length freestyle.
The championships were again well supported and there were several encouraging swims from the younger members of the club. Nicola Carter (one length back) and Dean White (one length breast) won the first gold medals of their swimming careers in the Under-10 races and judging by their fine strike techniques and recorded times , this will be the first of many for the pair. Also in winning form again were Anisa Jamal, Luke Rogers, Matt Ginty and Claire Willer.

flags.gif (2042 bytes)


Hayley's form continues

The final session of the Herts County Age Groups were held at Hitchin last Saturday and several Watford Swimmers were involved, and continued to show good form.
Hayley Duncan excelled again, adding a second place in the girls 13 years 100m backstroke to her previous successes, and also taking a fine sixth place in the open 400m individual medley event. Claire Willer also swam well, and produced a personal best time of 79.52 to take fourth place in the girls 100m butterfly.
For the boys, Ben Dollard continues to improve and he took his third fifth placing in the 12 year age group, this time in the 100m butterfly. Peter Gooding also produced a personal best in the boys 15 years 100m fly of 71.04, which earned him fourth place.  Peter also teamed up with Lee Portingale, Andrew Allum and Adam Bowden in the men's 4x100m medley team, and their time of 4.21.73 not only gave them an excellent second place, but also was a new club best recorded time.

On Wednesday the swimming club held its second club championships of the year. Some of the highlights included Matthew Ginty (61.59) just edging out Marc Gooding (62.00) in the boys 86/87 100 yards freestyle, and Tiffany Rogers retaining her 100 yards breaststroke title from Erin Fitzgerald in the girls 86/87 age group. In the open races Claire Willer and Graham Martin-Dye won the prestigious 100yards freestyle events with times of 60.91 and 47.66 respectively. Other winners were Yasmin Dollard, Matthew Toothill, Anisa Jamal, Mark Cuthbert, Katie Kent, Peter Gooding, Kim Cox and Dan Kingston and Hayley Duncan.

flags.gif (2042 bytes)


Hayley's flying bronze

WATFORD Swimming Clubs' Hayley Duncan, 13, continued her impressive form in the Herts County age groups by taking a fine bronze in the girls 100m butterfly event at Hitchin last Saturday. Qualifying for the final as the sixth fastest swimmer, Hayley pulled out all the stops in the final and posted an excellent time of 80.24 which earned her third place.
Paul Gooding also swam a similar race in the final of the boys ten years' 50m freestyle.   He qualified as the seventh fastest, and was swimming from the unfavoured outside lane, but powered down the pool to gain fourth place overall, with a fast time of 36.32.
Many other Watford swimmers also produced fine performances.  Mark Cuthbert, 11, and Ben Dollard, 12, both produced personal best times and took fifth place in their respective 100m backstroke finals.
Chief coach Lee Portingale is very pleased with the improvements in this year's county age groups and championships, and so far, with one more session to go, Watford swimmers have already gained over 50 top ten placings, compared with 40 from 1998.  

flags.gif (2042 bytes)


County successes for Watford

The Latest rounds of the County Age Groups and championships were held at Stevenage last Sunday, and several Watford swimmers took part.
In the championships, Watford's reigning county 50m backstroke champion, Lee Portingale, just failed to add the 100m event to his previous success and he had to settle for the silver medal, with team mate Andrew Allum taking the bronze.  Lee recorded a time of 64.95 and Andrew 66.29.
Claire Willer swam an excellent tactical race in the girls 800m free and used her stamina to good effect to record 11.04.67 in the longest race for girls, which earned her third place in the junior category.
The age group events were as usual of a very high standard, with all swimmers looking for qualifying times for Southern County and National events later in the year.  They were also extremely well supported with a large number of entries in all events, and, therefore, to reach the final is an achievement in itself.
Four of Watford's swimmers did make finals on the day, these being Mark Cuthbert (boys 11 years 100m free), Ben Dollard (boys 12 years 100m free), John Beardsworth (boys 14 years 100m back) and Hayley Duncan (girls 13 years 100m free). Although none were in the first three, they all achieved personal best times, as did the majority of our swimmers who took part. 

flags.gif (2042 bytes)


Swimmers stay on time for fine second place

Watford's Swimming Club successfully competed in a B graded gala, finishing a close second from six teams at Amersham. Since the event was time banded, times recorded in the individual events had to be no faster than a designated time. Watford's swimmers won nine out of the 49 events.
The successful girls who won their individual races were Anisa Jamal in the girls under-11's 50 metres fly in 42.53, Kerry Cuthbert, in the girls under-11's 50 metres free in 40.53 and Katie Kent, in the girls under-15's 100 metres back in 81.21.
For the boys there were wins for Matt Ginty in the under-13s 50 meter breast in 43.84, John Beardsworth in the under-15's 100 metres free in 66.34, Philip Blackwell in the under-11's 50 metres free 41.71 and Marc Gooding in the under-13's 50 metres fly in 38.21. The boys under-15's team of Martin Leonard, Matt Ginty, Peter Gooding and John Beardsworth also won both their relay events.

flags.gif (2042 bytes)


The drop is unavoidable

Watford's swimmers were in action last Saturday in the final round of the Herts League Division One at Stevenage.  From the results of the first two galas, it was known that to avoid relegation to the Second Division, the team needed to finish the gala in at least fourth place. Despite several swimmers producing excellent performances on the night, unfortunately it was not enough, and they finished in fifth. However, this was by far the best of the three rounds and some of the improvements shown by the swimmers were really encouraging.
Hayley Duncan continues to impress and she won the girls Under-15 100 metres butterfly in 80.21, and took second place in the 100 metres back in 80.53. The boys Under-13 team were again the top performers, with a win and four second places from their six events, Ben Dollard, who is swimming superbly at the moment, led the way with an emphatic win in the two lengths fly in 53.12, and his team-mates, Mark Cuthbert and Adam Collins both took the runners-up spot in the 100 metres back respectively. Other good swims on the night came from Glen White, in the boys Under-11's one length back, Matthew Ginty in the boys Under-15  100 free and John Beardsworth, in the boys Under-15  100 metres breast, who all took second place in their individual races.
It is a pity that the club has gone down just a year after gaining promotion, as the times the swimmers are producing compare very well with previous years' results. However, as the club continues to improve, it looks to strengthen the squad and is confident of re-gaining Division One status next year.

Results: round three:
Hitchin 111;  Potters Bar 146;  Hatfield 147;  Hertford 198;  Watford 205;  Hoddesdon 227.        

flags.gif (2042 bytes)


Breaststroker reach finals

Watford Swimming Club's breaststroke specialists Simon Forester and Peter Gooding both turned in impressive performances at the latest Herts County age group championships, which were held at Potters Bar last Saturday. Both boys reached the final of their events and also achieved personal best times. Simon recorded 1.19.17 for the 100m which earned him fifth place in the 16 years category. Peter finished in 1.18.06, which gave him an excellent third place in the 15 years race.
Again there was a good turnout of Watford swimmers and , as in the last sessions which were held a few weeks ago, most recorded new personal bests. Of the others, Luke Rogers had a particularly good meet. His time of 3.17.67 earned him sixth place in the boys 11 years 200m individual medley, and he backed this up with an eighth place in the 100m breaststroke. Tom Rose also swam well, and his time of 45.37 for the boys ten years 50m butterfly just failed to gain him a place in the final, and he therefore finished seventh in this event.

On Wednesday Watford held their first club championships of 1999, and it was a very successful evening, with the entries well up on previous years. For some of the swimmers, it was their first taste of competitive championships and so a special mention must go to Elroy Elvie, Chris James and Alasdair Dawson, who filled the first three places in the boys 1990 33 1/3 yds freestyle, and Yasmin Dollard, Sally Arthur and Jasmin Hodgson who took the honours in the corresponding girls event. Established swimmers Anisa Jamal. Luke Rogers and Mathew Ginty were among the winners, as was Hayley Duncan who doubled up with wins in both the girls 1986/87 66 2/3 yds free, and the Open 4 x 100 yds IM.
Fresh from their successes at the Herts age groups, Simon Forester and Peter Gooding fought out a couple of tremendous finishes in the evenings breaststroke events, with eventually the honours being shared with one win each. Peter taking the 100 yard event, and Simon the 200 yard, both races being determined by the touch.
Claire Willer took the girls 93/84/85 100 yds free in 61.92, Katie Kent the open 100 yds back and Sarah Martin-Dye, the 66 2/3 yds free, and in the men's events there were wins for Andrew Allum and Graham Martin-Dye.

flags.gif (2042 bytes)


Inspirational Portingale

Watford swimmer-coach Lee Portingale was an inspiration to his team on Saturday when he became the club's newest county champion by winning the open 50m backstroke event. It was great to see a lot of Watford swimmers at these championships again, and credit must go to Lee and his coaching team for working with the squad to get them ready for these important meets.
In fact, out of the 23 events that Watford swimmers entered, no less than 14 achieved a personal best which was very encouraging, and proved that the hard training that they have been putting in recently was worthwhile.
Hayley Duncan had a busy day, entering in three individual events, and came away with an excellent third place in the most grueling of events, the 200m butterfly, and added to that with a fifth place in the 200m IM.
Peter Gooding also swam in three individual events and he gained two fifth places in the 15 year age group, 100m free and 200m IM. Peters brother, Paul did remarkably well to reach the final and came sixth in the boys 10 years 50m breast considering that only two weeks ago he had the plaster cast come off a broken arm.
It was a fine day and everyone is looking forward to the sessions in the coming weeks.

flags.gif (2042 bytes)


Battling Performances

Watford's swimmers competed in the second round of the Herts League on Saturday at St Albans and found the competition very strong.  They will face a real battle to regain Division One status in the next month's final round.
All the swimmers gave their best and there were some great performances on the night, none more so than Ben Dollard, who produced and excellent swim to win the Under- 13 66 2/3m butterfly in 53.62.  Adam Collins was also on form and took second place in the Under-13 100m backstroke event in 90.78. To round off a fine night, Ben and Adam teamed up with Nick Ginty and Mark Cuthbert to take runners up spot in the Under-13 freestyle team.
Watford's only other win came from coach Lee Portingale, who powered down the pool to take the Open 100m Backstroke in 66.09.  For the girl's Hayley Duncan was again in good form, and she took second place in both the Under-15 100m butterfly and backstroke events in 80.25 and 80.84 respectively.

Herts League Division One, Round Two, 13.02.99:
1st Hoddesdon  83; 2nd Potters Bar, 171;3rd Verulam, 172; 4th Hitchin, 181; 5th Hertford, 209; 6th Watford, 232:

flags.gif (2042 bytes)


Third time lucky

In the British Swimming Grad Prix held at Swansea recently, Graham Martin Dye, 21 from Garston made the finals of the 50m, 100, and 200m freestyle events. In the 50m, his time of 24.25 placed him fifth in the final. Graham was a little disappointed because, after three years on the Grand Prix swim circuit, he has yet to finish in a top three position.  On the second day, however, his hopes were rekindled after swimming a comfortable 200m heat in 1.56.2.  But once again fate was against him. After a false start, the finalists were off on the second attempt and Graham swam a fine race throughout to finish a comfortable second to Olympic swimmer Andrew Clayton, of Bath university, in a time of 1.54.94, only to discover he had been disqualified for appearing to move prior to the start. On day three, it had to be third time lucky and so it was, graham came second in the 100m free in 52.96, again second to Clayton (51.28) and followed in third place by Alasdair Pullan (53.17) from Leatherhead. "I'm feeling more comfortable in national event finals now", said Martin-Dye, and hopefully a few more second places like this will soon lead to a first".  Martin Dye's next major events are the Reading Open Meet at Easter and the Southern County Championships at Crystal Palace in may where he will defend his 1998 50m free title. Graham is a member of Watford Swimming Club and is supported by Watford Borough Council and the company he works for Danka UK. In the British Swimming Grad Prix held at Swansea recently, Graham Martin Dye, 21 from Garston made the finals of the 50m, 100, and 200m freestyle events. In the 50m, his time of 24.25 placed him fifth in the final. Graham was a little disappointed because, after three years on the Grand Prix swim circuit, he has yet to finish in a top three position.  On the second day, however, his hopes were rekindled after swimming a comfortable 200m heat in 1.56.2.  But once again fate was against him. After a false start, the finalists were off on the second attempt and Graham swam a fine race throughout to finish a comfortable second to Olympic swimmer Andrew Clayton, of Bath university, in a time of 1.54.94, only to discover he had been disqualified for appearing to move prior to the start. On day three, it had to be third time lucky and so it was, graham came second in the 100m free in 52.96, again second to Clayton (51.28) and followed in third place by Alasdair Pullan (53.17) from Leatherhead. "I'm feeling more comfortable in national event finals now", said Martin-Dye, and hopefully a few more second places like this will soon lead to a first".  Martin Dye's next major events are the Reading Open Meet at Easter and the Southern County Championships at Crystal Palace in may where he will defend his 1998 50m free title. Graham is a member of Watford Swimming Club and is supported by Watford Borough Council and the company he works for Danka UK.

flags.gif (2042 bytes)


Paul's in very Good form

With the county championships just around the corner, some of Watford's young swimmers took the chance to see how their training was progressing   by competing in the Beacontree open swimming meet held last weekend at Dagenham.   This was a high quality meet and attracted swimmers from many clubs throughout London and the south east. and the Watford swimmers performed well, with several recording personal best times.
The top performance for Watford came from the young Paul Gooding, who gained an excellent third in the boys 1989 33.3m breast in 31.81 and backed that swim up by taking sixth place in the 4 x 1 individual medley.  Other good swims came from nine-year old Kerry Cuthbert, who took the fifth place medal in the girls 1989 100m free in a time of 88.44 and Paul's brother Marc, who just failed to get in the medals by finishing seventh in both the boys 1989 100m fly and freestyle.

Beacontree SC Open meet , Dagenham,  10th & 17th January 1999

Boys 1988 200m Free, Mark Cuthbert 13th, 2.59.15
Boys 1987 100m Fly, Ben Dollard 12th, 1.35.93
Boys 1989 33 1/3m Back , Tom Rose 9th 28.85: Paul Gooding, 12th 29.30.
Boys 1886 400m Free, Marc Gooding 10th, 5.59.58
Boys 1989 33 1/3m Breast, Paul Gooding 3rd, 31.81
Boys 1988 4x1 IM, Mark Cuthbert 13th, 2.13.72
Boys 1986 200m Free,  Marc Gooding 8th, 2.45.62
Boys 1986 4x1 IM ,Marc Gooding 10th, 2.05.09
Boys 1987 200m Free, Ben Dollard 12th, 2.48.18: Adam Collins 15th, 2.49.74
Boys 1986 100m Fly, Marc Gooding 7th, 1.27.57
Girls 1989 33 1/3 Free, Kerry Cuthbert 15th, 25.89
Boys 1989 33 1/3m Free, Paul Gooding 8th, 23.64: Tom Rose 15th, 24.78
Girls 1989 100m Free, Kerry Cuthbert 5th, 1.28.44
Boys 1989 100m Free, Paul Gooding 9th, 1.28.06
Boys 1988 100m Free, Mark Cuthbert 11th, 1.21.80
Girls 1986 100m Back, Louise Collins 11th, 1.30.48
Boys 1987 400m Free, Ben Dollard 8th, 5.54.18: Adam Collins 9th, 6.01.03
Girls 1989 4x1 IM, Kerry Cuthbert 12th, 2.31.53
Boys 1989 4x1 IM, Paul Gooding 6th, 2.25.40
Boys 1986 100m Free, Marc Gooding 7th, 1.13.31

flags.gif (2042 bytes)


The going gets tough

Watford's swimmers competed in the first round of the Herts Swimming League on Saturday, which was held at Potters Bar. After gaining promotion to Division One last year when they finished as champions of Division Two, the swimmers found it tough going as they stepped up to this higher grade in a slightly disappointing sixth place.
However there were plenty of encouraging performances on the night, with several of the young swimmers having their first experience of the event, there is plenty to look forward to in the next rounds.
In the boys Under-11 33.3m backstroke, young Tom Rose swam a fine race to finish second in 28.71 and his team mate Paul Gooding swam a superb final leg in the Under-11 4x1 freestyle team, coming from fifth place to snatch second place at the touch.
John Beardsworth also produced a couple of good swims, finishing second in the 100m breast (86.65) and third in the 100m back (82.65)for the Under -15's. In the girls events, ever reliable Hayley Duncan gave two fine performances to take second in the Under-15 100m fly (81.93), and third in the 100m back in 81.25.
The next round will be held on February 13.

Herts League Division One, Round One:
1st Stevenage 124; 2nd Verulam. 136; 3rd Cheshunt177; 4th Potters Bar 178; 5th Tring 180; 6th Watford 239:

bluewave.gif (4341 bytes)