South West Success in Sofia

Thirty swimmers were selected for this years’ overseas camp, accompanied by 4 coaches and 2 team managers. The group had an early start, meeting at Heathrow airport at 6am to fly to Sofia.

Once everyone had settled in there was time for an early evening training session. Unfortunately there was no swim down facility at the pool but swimmers were lead through a pre and post pool session so that the swimmers were aware what was expected of them for the remainder of the competition

The team dominated on poolside and worked well as a team. There were teams from many other countries mostly from Eastern Europe. The quality of the competition was mixed and generally the Swim England South West team had to work for places in A finals as it was an open age group competition.

All our males except one were 18 or under and were swimming against seniors. They therefore, had stronger competition than the girls which is reflected in the overall medal tally.

All swimmers had at least 1 second swim, most of them had several. The girls, in particular were very successful. There was no restriction on the number of foreign swimmer s in finals or able to receive medals which were awarded to first 3 in A final only.

Bronze Medals

Theo O'Keefe

400m Freestyle

800m Freestyle

Abigail Hurst 100m Breaststroke
Athena Clayson

50m Backstsoke

100m Backstroke

Oriana Munden 200m Backstroke
Emily Haimes 50m Butterfly
Jess Podger 100m Butterfly
Honey Osrin 200m Individual Medley
Holly Hudghton 400m Individual Medley

Oliver Fairman

James Watson

Adam Chillingworth

Alec White

4 x 100m Medley Relay

Emily Haimes

Harry Noble

Oriana Munden

Adam Davies

4 x 100m Mixed FreestyleRelay 

Silver Medals

Molly Francis 1500m Freestyle
Abigail Hurst 5m Breaststroke
Adam Chillingworth

100m Breaststroke

200m Breaststroke

Oliver Fairman 200m Backstroke
Emily Haimes 100m Butterfly
Victoria Adams 200m Butterfly
Sophia Wilson 200m Individual Medley
Aliyah-Mai Webb 400m Individual Medley

Rhiannon Bowen

Theo O'Keefe

Olivia Butler

Honey Osrin

4 x 100m Freestyle Relay

Rhiannon Bowen

Molly Francis

Jess Podger

Theo O'Keefe

4 x 200m Freestyle Relay

Oriana Munden

Abigail Hurst

Aliyah-Mai Webb

Athena Clayson

4 x 100m Medley Relay

Gold Medals

Jess Podger 200m Freestyle
Olivia Butler

800m Freestyle

400m Individual Medley

Alex Mason 50m Backstroke
Honey Osrin 200m Backstroke
Aliyah-Mai Webb 200m Butterfly

Rhiannon Bowen from Team Bath AS Reflects on her trip to Sofia

Overall, the experience of going abroad to Bulgaria was very positive. It was great fun and an experience I will always remember. Being selected for this abroad competition gave me an amazing feeling as I had not been picked for anything like this before. I would definitely do something like this again if selected.

I swam in five events: 50 free, 100 free, 200 free, 100 fly and 200 IM. On top of that, I managed to get into finals (either A or B) for all events. I was also selected for the 4 x 100m free women’s relay and the 4 x 200m women’s relay. Both of our relays came second overall, but disappointingly foreign teams for relays were not allowed to place on the podium. I especially enjoyed the relays because it was a great experience to be in a team with team mates I would normally race against at competitions. So in total, I did 12 races.

Some of my races didn’t go as planned, while some where quite close to PB’s. However, most of the swimmers were going through the same thing. You could tell everyone was trying their best for the team and showed lots of support even if they didn’t have any races that day. Everyone was getting involved and we looked like a really strong team (and we were!).

I’ve learnt many things from going abroad to Bulgaria:  

  • Currency: The currency we used was Bulgarian Lev and it turns out everything was so cheap in the shops. It was great because we could buy lots of food and water as the hotel wasn’t particularly appetising. I did some research before the trip about the currency which is a good thing to do if you get selected for something like this.
  • Food: The food in Bulgaria was extremely different to food in England, but I expected that. However, we all struggled finishing off our plates at lunch and dinner. The shop that we visited once a day was heaven.
  • Friends: I have made many friends from across different networks and clubs. I really enjoyed meeting them and a highlight was catching up on Love Island with them when we had free time (a great way to relax and bond as team mates!). They introduced me to it and now I am hooked! We still keep in contact and hopefully will meet at Nationals.
  • Language: No one knew Bulgarian but that was alright as sometimes there was either English below or picture signs so it wasn’t a massive hassle.
  • Flying: At first it was really weird arriving at the airport and getting onto a plane with a different team, but we helped each other. I don’t really go to airports much so now I feel more confident and experienced. I can easily pack a suitcase.

Finally I would like to thank all the coaches, team managers and organisers for an amazing trip and experience, and a thank you to the Swim England South West for selecting me.

Also a massive thank you for everyone who supported me over the time I was there competing. I loved all the tweets and messages.

For full results from the SW Team please click here

Posted by Swim England South West on July 24th 2018

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