City of Oxford Swimming Club go through to the national finals of the Arena League following a nail biting South regional final against Guildford, Wycombe, Sevenoaks, Thanet and Bromley.
Amanda Booth, Oxford Head Coach, made a number of tactical changes to thee swimmers’ events based on previous rounds and this, combined with numerous swimmers achieving personal best times, ensured Oxford reversed Thanet’s previous round victory, pushing them in to fourth place behind local rivals Wycombe. Oxford with 193 points, just 2 points ahead of Wycombe and 36 points ahead of Thanet, finished in second place to Guildford (222 points) guaranteeing both Oxford and Guildford a place in the national finals.
This is an annual, fiercely fought, competition to determine the top swimming club in the country; 400 teams and around 16,000 swimmers compete in six divisional leagues. Guildford, a much larger club and previous national competition winners, were always going to be hard to beat so Oxford had to outperform local rivals Wycombe as well as turning the tables on Thanet, to guarantee a place in the national finals. Wycombe threatened to grab the second spot from Oxford throughout this regional final. An incredible total of 40 individual and team personal best times combined with Head Coach, Amanda’s superb tactics led to Oxford’s ‘steal’.
In a competition which is all about gaining unexpected points by bettering an anticipated finishing position the 40 team and personal best times translated in to 20 ‘steals’ overall. A few special mentions go to those swimmers who outperformed to gain more than one additional point. Stealing a massive extra 3 points from the competition were Nick Skelton (Boys15/U 100m Free); Billy Wootton (Boys15/U 100m br/s); Nick Skelton and Billy Wootton again with Max Bolcato and George Rudd (Boys15/U 4x50m medley team); Ethan Bird, Kayden Sillah, Lachlan Middleton and Matthew Critchley (Boys11/U 4x50m medley team) and clearly these were the boys on fire with the same team stealing an extra 2 points in the Boys 11/U 4×50 freestyle team event.
It was a great team effort and these fantastic swims combined with the other 30 personal best times and 29 first and second place positions helped push Wycombe into third place; the spectators were kept on the edge of their seats until the final touch with Wycombe managing to reduce the 6 point differential between the two clubs after 10 events down to just two points after all 50 events had been completed. The National Finals take place on the weekend of 21st/22nd April 2018.
A printable version of this press release is attached here Arena League R3 2017-1