Swimming club enjoys success on national stage

From left, Lea Westen, Thomas Smith, Ben Rogers, Ben Gilchrist and Ellie Peacock.

Richmond Dales Amateur Swimming Club (RDASC) is celebrating after more of its swimmers than ever before secured invitations to two of the sport’s premier national annual events, The British Summer Championships and The English National Summer Meet.

The competitions, which are by invitation only based on a swimmers individual national ranking, will take place over the summer.

Invitations to these competitions are highly prized and hard won. Swimmers of the highest caliber have just weeks to secure a fast enough entry time during a short qualification window preceding selection.

British Swimming and Swim England then make their selections based on the fastest times in each event depending on the age of the swimmer.

The top 22 ranked swimmers per event and age from across the British Isles are selected to compete in the British Summer Championships. The next most highly ranked 22 swimmers from England are then selected to compete at The English National Summer Meet.

With only weeks to go until this competitive series commences, RDASC were delighted to learn that 11 of its swimmers, including six from the club’s highly regarded Para Squad, have been invited to swim at one or both competitions – making this one of the club’s most successful years.

The club had several younger swimmers very close to qualification times, illustrating the depth across squads.

This step change comes as head coach, Gordon Rea, completes his first full season at the club following his appointment in May 2022.

The club’s qualifiers in the British Summer Championships include club captains Thomas Smith, 16, and Ellie Peacock, 16, who will be competing in the 800m freestyle and 200m butterfly respectively.

They will be joined by teammate Ben Rogers, 18, who will be competing in the 50m, 100m and 200m breaststroke.

Thomas Smith has also achieved qualification into the English National Summer Meet, where he will be competing in the 50m, 100m, 200m and 400m freestyle, as well as the 200m Individual Medley.

He will be joined at this competition by Ben Gilchrist, 22, who will be swimming in the 1500m freestyle, 200m butterfly and 400m Individual Medley. Lea Westen, 16, will join her team mates to compete in the 50m, 100m, and 200m breaststroke, as well as the 400m Individual Medley.

Meanwhile, in the club’s noted Para Squad, one of the most highly regarded and successful in the country, six swimmers have secured invitations to one or both events.

At the British Summer Championships, Maisie Catt, 13, will be swimming in the 100m backstroke and Archie Hare, 14, will be swimming in the 100m breaststroke and the 50m freestyle. Both will also compete at The English Summer National Meet where Maisie will also swim in the 50m, 100m and 400m freestyle and the 200m Individual Medley, and Archie will swim in the 100m and 400m freestyle.

They will be joined at The English Summer National Meet by Nathan Brown, 18, swimming in the 50m, 100m and 400m freestyle, the 100m backstroke, the 100m breaststroke and the 200m Individual Medley, Ellen Stephenson, 18, swimming in the 200m freestyle, 200m backstroke and 200m Individual Medley, Harvey Stonebank, 18, swimming in the 200m Individual Medley, and Joe Field, 15, swimming in the 100m breaststroke.

Gordon Rea, RDASC’s head coach, said: “These swimmers represent the best in the sport, and as a club we could not be prouder of them.

“Swimming is one of the most time intensive sports to participate in, and to get to this level the athletes need show absolute commitment and a huge amount of hard work.

“Many of these swimmers achieved their invitations to these competitions whilst studying for or taking exams, which I believe shows the strength of character that will serve them well throughout life.”

He added: “What is even more encouraging is just how much further talent and potential we can see coming through from the younger squads.

“If these young swimmers continue to demonstrate the same level of commitment as this year’s qualifiers, I have no doubt that there will be more success to come for our club.”