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The club did amazingly well last year to avoid relegation for the first time in their history and set up a second go at trying to survive with the big clubs in 2018. We knew that we had rarely over the last 30 years got to the top league and when they did they always ended the season being relegated back to division 2 – so the clash of dates with County Championships/Half term in round 2 had tested the club like never before. To the credit of all we made it to the second tier final for the teams ranked 9th to 16th knowing survival from relegation was in our own hands.
The format of the league was the 16 teams split into 3 galas for the first two rounds – leading to the top 8 going into a final – the next 8 being in this gala that would see 1 relegated back for the 2019 season to division 2 after Loughborough and Swadlincote withdrew for 2018.
The draw saw us seeded joint 6th of the scheduled 8 teams on show, with Nene Valley and Leicester Neptune the clear favourites based on the earlier rounds. Then Kettering, Melton Mowbray and Market Harborough alongside Burton took the outside lanes. On arrival at a snowbound Nuneaton we heard the news that Ilkeston has withdrawn and safety from relegation for all 7 teams present was secured – it was then all down to a battle for the second tier winners title – surely Burton could not go from 6th to get near the leaders?
The format is 4 age groups are as at 31/12/18 and are age 11, 13, 15 and open – with the main changes being the addition of an Individual medley, the age 15 kids doing 100 fly not 50m. plus all the young kids doing 50m not 25m races.
13 First Places
Georgia Ulyett, Charlie Miller, Issy Mills and Bella Smith – age 11 free relay
Jack Ward, George Greener, Matthew Appelbee and George Stevens, age 15 free relay
Ella Cooper, Daisy Wong, Charlotte Breeze and Rosie Bolton – age 13 free relay
Tom Mitchell, Harrison Jones, George Preston and Hayden Cotton – age 13 free relay
Jack Ward – age 15 100m back
Tom Mitchell – age 13 50m fly
George Greener – age 15 100m fly
George Preston – age 13 50m free
Georgia Ulyett – age 11 50m free
Jack Ward – age 15 100m back
Charlie Miller, Bella Smith, Rachael Greener and Issy Mills – age 11 medley relay
George Greener, Jack Ward, George Stevens and Matthew Appelbee – age 15 medley relay
Harrison Jones, George Preston, Tom Mitchell and Hayden Cotton – age 13 medley relay
11 Second Places
Matt Gates – open 100m IM
Ella Cooper – age 13 50m fly
Matt Gates – open 100m free
Daisy Wong – age 13 50m free
Edan Maxwell – age 11 50m fly
Ella Cooper – age 15 100m free
George Stevens – age 15 100m free
Edan Maxwell – age 11 50m free
Tom Mitchell – age 13 50m breast
Finley Brown – open 100m fly
Rosie Bolton, Ella Cooper, Charlotte Breeze and Daisy Wong – age 13 medley relay
5 Third Places
Charlie Miller – age 11 50m breast
Sophie Fowkes – age 15 100m fly
Rachael Greener – age 11 50m fly
Rosie Bolton – age 13 50m back
Sophie Fowkes, Emma Preston, Lily Bolton and Caitlin Thomas – age 15 medley relay
From the start it was clear that the swimmers would not take anything other than a real go at winning the title – race after race we saw our kids step up in a way we have seldom seen at such a high level of swimming. It was a battle between Nene Valley, Leicester Neptune and Burton to see who would win the battle for first place –we sat in 3rd from the first set of results but always within touching distance of 1st – the level of commitment and fight shown on the night was very impressive. The support from the stands very loud and the energy within the team base was electric.
– STAR SWIMMER – the phrase ‘TEAM SPIRIT’ is hard to explain and we all think we have it but…….. – when you see the first 3 relay swimmers shouting their tired hearts out for the last leg swimmer you know you are witnessing a special night – kids going to the end of the lane to cheer on team mates with such passion (and dancing???) it was inspiring to all – so simply the WHOLE TEAM wins the award on this night as the result was a TEAM effort like never before including the parent supporters in the stands.
– STAR RACE – we could pick so many but Ella Cooper swimming up an age in the 100m Free in such an impressive time takes the award – that 3rd shredded wheat at breakfast did the trick as hoped!!!
– CLUB RECORDS – an incredible 4 club records broken on the night – Matt Gates 100m IM open age, Jack Ward 100m Back age 13/14, George Greener 100m Fly age 13/14 and Ella Cooper 100m free age 11/12.
– An amazing 57 PB times swam including relays as the club raised its game in a high level finale to a great winter season – with only 1 DQ despite the intensity of the gala.
– The age 11 girls relay team of Georgia Ulyett, Rachael Greener, Bella Smith, Issy Mills and Charlie Miller winning both free and medley relays – what a last leg by Miss Mills to catch up so much distance in the medley race!!!!
– The most improved relay squad over the winter season was the age 11 boys of Edan Maxwell, Oliver Frost, Jasper Saunders, Harry Preston and Dylan Mitchell – the level of improvement over 50m racing was massive from January to March.
– The age 13 boys relay team of Tom Mitchell, Harrison Jones, George Preston and Hayden Cotton reigning supreme in both free and medley relays – Hayden holding his nerve to anchor both races so well after great work from the other 3 lads – with Tom and George also winning individual events.
– The age 13 girls team of Ella Cooper, Daisy Wong, Charlotte Breeze and Rosie Bolton setting times that would have held their own in the age 15 races.
– The De Ferrers Dream Team of Jack Ward, Matthew Appelbee, George Stevens and George Greener – winning both relays despite the huge standard on show in times that would have done well in the open age group – I hope they work so well together when doing D of E!!!!
– Sophie Fowkes and Ella Cooper swimming race after race to plug the gaps – trying to look like open age swimmers at times despite the obvious height difference on show – both shattered by the end.
– Jack Ward for winning the double of 100m back and breast in great fashion.
– Mary Duggan opening the night with a huge PB on the open 100m IM, quickly followed by Matt Gates doing his medley in a time most would be happy to do 100m free in!!!!
– Caitlin Thomas, Emma Preston and Sophie Fowkes swimming their own age relay, getting out and diving back in to swim the open age relays was a credit to them all – however tired they were they held it together for their teammates in amazing form last night.
– For only the second time ever a Burton cannon team went sub 2 minutes – Georgia Ulyett, Edan Maxwell, Ella Cooper, Tom Mitchell, Caitlin Thomas, Jack Ward, Sophie Fowkes and Finlay Bell all going 25m on 1 or 2 breadths.
– Finley Brown and George Greener for taking good chunks off their 100m fly times.
– Captains Matt Gates, Immy Hill, Harrison Jones and Ella Cooper all encouraging the rest to support every single leg swam.
– The ‘Barmy Army’ supporters who made it feel like a home gala – they risked the snow and went home with huge smiles and very soar throats.
The final result after 51 races on an 8 point scoring system was :-
The club therefore earned 16 points for coming FIRST and we have been confirmed as 10th in the final league table – simply our BEST RESULT EVER. Our 28th win since we ended the draught in March 2014 and a fifth consecutive year we will win at least one league gala in a calendar season.
It all means that in 2019 the club for the third year running will be a Division 1 team – and hopefully can go into that season believing they can maintain it for years to come.
Two years ago we won the Division 2 title at Rugby and last year our Diddy Team made it to the grand final at Corby – but last night was probably the best result Burton SC has ever had – well done to everyone whether pool based, committee roles or parents.
Massive thanks go to:-
– the coaching team of Simon and Ian for all the advice and encouragement on the night – but also to them and Mary, Phil, Karen, Brian, Jo, Ailsa, Alice, Immy, Eve, Rob and Matt who continue to tutor and coach the swimmers to reach levels who simply should not reach on our limited pool time.
– Bev, Craig, Debbie, Jo, Donna and Karen for the officiating and timing.
– All the parents for once again taking time out of their busy weekends to support the team, despite the weather.