British Gas National Team County Championships Report 2012

24 of our best County swimmers set off to participate in the Team County Championship at Ponds Forge, Sheffield, with an ambition to better our performance of last year when we came 12th in Division One. 39 counties including Scottish and Welsh Regions descended on Sheffield comprising over 1100 swimmers competing in 24 individual and 7 relay events.

The team met at Wycombe Sports Centre at 11:15 and headed for the Intensive Training Centre at Loughborough University to train. The team were met by a message on the pool messaging board wishing Berkshire and South Bucks good luck with the gala and " be inspired". The message was still merrily rotating on the board as we left the pool...and Middlesex County arrived!

Having settled into the rooms, we had a hearty dinner of chicken, pasta, roasted vegetable roulade, carrots, broccoli, tomato sauce, garlic bread, apple crumble, custard and ...fruit salad and retired to Suite 5 for Team Activities. Standing in a circle, the team made a valiant attempt to keep 23 koosh balls moving around the group in a fixed pattern-we're delighted to say that our starting and turning skills this afternoon were significantly more honed than our catching and throwing were this afternoon - but much hilarity was had!

The next challenge was the "name game" with the end objective of each person being able to remember the name of each of the 27people in the circle. At the end of the game Matt took on the challenge to name each of the team..and added each person's PB to their name.

Nigel introduced himself as President of the County ASA and shared the "good luck" twitters the team had been sent from Craig Gibbons, Katy Clark, Cassie Patten, Karen Pickering, Sharon Davies, Keri-Anne Payne, Andy Jamieson and Rebecca Adlington.

After an Olympic games quiz and some television it was lights out at 21:30 to rest for the next day.

After an 07:00 rise , breakfast, face paints, fancy dress and photos, the team walked down to Ponds Forge with our President adorned with a jesters hat, suit and presidential chain, Following warm up, the Captains of Berkshire and South Bucks - Oliver Leonard and Kat Shaw - led the opening ceremony, cheered in by the rest of their team mates...and then it was into serious fun and fighting for every point.

In the very early stages we hovered around 14th/15th place overall with swimmers coming anything between 6th and 14th place in the individual events. Our first 20 points came from an awesome swim by Connie Dean in a PB of58.62 : a tightly fought race with Georgina Boyle from Surrey who finished 0.5 seconds behind her set the bar for the rest of the team and the team pushed as hard as they could finishing the event with 50% of all individual swims resulting in PB's. Of the remaining 12 swims ,33% were within 0.2 of their PB's. A great performance!

The focus to try and beat our 2011 final placing of 12th came into focus as we came into the final relays and 10th place was firmly sealed by a second placing in the final squadron relay in a time of 2.34.36 just 0.38 behind Lancashire - the overall winners for the 11th consecutive year.

The following members of the team achieved PBs

PB or no PB, each member of the team swam well and were a credit to their clubs and the County.

Thank you to Sara Todd and Helen whittle for officiating; Matt Heathcock for creating the environment over the last two days that allowed all that happened to happen and last but not least our County President, Nigel Brand who braved the whole event wearing his jesters hat!

Until 2013 County Team Championships, I wish you all the best for this year.

Joan Scarrott.
County Team Manager