Final Camp of the year
So, 2014 has been a successful year. The Performance Camps throughout the year have each consisted of more than 30 young athletes who have all consistently performed well.

During our last camp in October, we had 38 athletes who attended the two days in Rotherham. The pool sessions were spent working on the forthcoming two international competitions, the BeNe Cup and the German Cup.

I would like to thank the staff at Rotherham for letting us use their facility and for making all of us feel welcome.

The BeNe Cup

BeNe Cup was the first international competition for many of the team.

The team consisted of:

  • Male – Josh Walker, James Warren, Daniel Weightman, Joseph Orbell, Mitch McCallum, Frazer Crump, George Spendlove, Martin Schofield, Finn Purdy, Callum Gilroy, Matthew Douglas, Jacob Reeves
  • Female – Jessica Parker, Jessica Lockwood, Kim Eastwood, Sinead Gourley, Beth Little, Rebecca Douglas, Emelye Saunders, Olivia Broughton

The two-day competition began with 200m of obstacles. A couple of the team had a few scary thoughts as the nerves kicked in as the facility at which the competition was held at was fantastic, with a 50m 4 lane warm-up pool which ran alongside the main competition pool.

The obstacles lay lower in the water than normal which caught a few by surprise. In the obstacle relay, both the junior boys and girl’s teams broke the British Record. Line throw, manikin relay and manikin tow events went ok with an early finish and plenty of time to chill in the hotel before the team went for tea with an ‘all you can eat’ buffet and a great chocolate fountain.

Day two started with the 50m Manikin carry, there was a mixture of performances during this event, some dropping the manikins as the floor was very slippery. The 100m Manikin carry with fins was a great event with many of the team trying to swim the full 50m underwater for the first time, and some succeeding with some excellent performances! The Medley relay followed with another British Record broken by the junior girls' team and the boys narrowly missing out.  After a lunch break we had the Rescue Medley and for many of the team their first attempt, it was great to see all the 20 athletes managed to make the 17.5m underwater, which is a great achievement for all.  The last event of the day was the 200m Super-Lifesaver with many of the team attempting this event for the first time – we had some great results.

The team achieved three British records, 80+ personal best times and many personal achievements and one very close team who really gelled together – you would think they had all been friends for many years, definitely one of the highs of lifesaving sport.  A very proud team finished the championships with overall placing: Jessica Lockwood 5th, Mitchell McCallum 7th, Joshua Walker 7th, James Warren 9th and the Male and Female youth team finished 5th and the Senior Male and Female team finished 6th.  A very solid team performance with lots of potential for the future.

The German Cup

The German Cup was the second International competition for the Performance Squad within seven days, with a different team making up the squad of ten, managed by Linda Taylor & Stephen Ward.

The team consisted of:

  • Male – Sam Lawman/Mark Angus/Adam Threfall/Ruari Hurson/Mitch McCallum
  • Female – Jennifer Penny/Rachel Carroll/Eorran O’Neil/Lucy Howes/Jayne Stallion

A good training session in the pool set us up for a great competition against teams from Germany, Belgium, The Netherlands, China, Ireland, GB, Sweden, Switzerland Spain & Italy. The 1.8m pool depth provided an excellent opportunity for personal best times and records to be broken with three World Records broken over the two days.

The opening ceremony – a fire burning torch parade through the centre of town, which lit up the streets, followed by the singing of the ‘Lifesaving Song’ in the marketplace by all of the athletes and the opening speeches.

The first event, 200m Obstacles, gave us a positive start with several athletes gaining personal best times. Ruari Hurson, at his first international representing the Performance Squad, managed to finish 26th.

100m Manikin Tow – some good performances, the tubes were DLRG, which slightly different to ours but having used them in the training session meant we were ready for the challenge. There were some good swims for Mark Angus, Lucy Howes, Jenny Penny and Rachel Carroll had an exceptional race and finished 2nd gaining our first silver medal of these championships.

50m Manikin Carry – A mixture of performances in this event, Sam Lawman managed a good battle with many of the Europeans during this performance.

Line Throw – Jayne Stallion and Jenny Penny enjoyed a podium finish, Jayne threw a very quick time of 13.60 seconds earning them a well-deserved bronze medal – another two medals to add to the medal table.

100m Manikin Carry – Rachel Carroll swam exceptionally well, gaining the second of her silver medals in this event. Rachel also broke her own British Record which she set earlier this year at Rescue 2014. A time of 1:01:59 saw her miss out on the gold medal by 0.03 of a second.

Rescue Medley – saw some great results, one to watch at the speed championships Mitch McCallum finishing 5th and narrowly missing out on a British record by 0.16 of a second.

The male captain, Sam Lawman, finished top UK male, earning a huge 3152.4 points for the team, closely followed by Mark Angus. Rachel led the female points, followed by her team-mate Lucy Howes.

Adam Threlfall and Mitch McCallum had an excellent competition both achieving 4/5 personal bests. The was extremely commendable, especially for Mitch who had earned those 4 personal bests only a week earlier in Holland.

The relays were won and lost on the touch with very little between many of the teams.  Lucy Howes and Ruari Hurson led out their respective Medley Relay both with Pb’s in the 50m freestyle.

The team displayed some excellent swims, and as a team finished a highly respectable 6th place overall which was excellent considering the average age of the youthful team was only 19 years.

Many personal achievements were made during the competition, battles won and lost, but most of all some great friendships were sought throughout the competition with athletes from across the globe, some great memories and fantastic team spirit was shown throughout the trip.

I would like to thank everyone for their hard work and commitment this year. I wish you a Merry Christmas and a safe and happy new year.