Worcester swimmers, Olivia Fletcher and Natasha Dobson, travelled down to Swansea to compete at the Welsh Home Nations. For Fletcher, this was her fourth time competing at Welsh Home Nations, while Dobson was making her debut at this level.
Fletcher, who secured her first Welsh national cap in February this year, qualified in seven events, while Dobson qualified in five.
Competing in the 16-year age group, Fletcher didn’t have to wait long for her first medal. In the 50m back, Fletcher qualified in first (32.03) before winning gold in the final in 31.34. Next up was the 100m back, with Fletcher again qualifying first through the heats (1.09.07). She then knocked off over a second in the final to win gold in 1.07.79.
Fletcher then tackled the 100m free, qualifying strongly in the heats in second (1.00.07). She saved her best for the final, producing a season’s best (59.31) to win gold in a thrilling race. And Fletcher’s fourth gold came in the 50m free. Qualifying again in second (28.25), Fletcher flew off the blocks to touch in first in 27.89.
Two more medal were added to an already impressive haul, with Fletcher winning silver medals in 200m back and 50m breaststroke. In the heats of the 200m back, Fletcher produced 2.28.51 to qualify in second, and again went faster in the final for silver in 2.26.89. Her last event of a busy programme saw Fletcher qualify in second place in the 50m breaststroke (35.42) and went faster by 0.01 in the final for another silver medal (35.41).
Dobson made an impressive debut and didn’t looked fazed by the quality of the opposition. Dobson produced several personal bests during the championships in the 15 year age group and was very close to making her first home nations’ finals.
In the 50m fly, Dobson was just off her pb, producing 31.76 to just miss out on a place in the final. She also clocked 33.71 in the 50m back to again come agonisingly close to making her first final.
Next up was the 100m back, with Dobson producing a massive pb (1.11.84) to finish twelfth. She also produced another pb in the 100m free (1.04.53) with a strong performance. The final event of her programme saw her swim 2.37.10 in the 200m back, just outside her pb, and an impressive tenth place.
Jon Fletcher, assistant head coach, said: “Both Olivia and Natasha applied themselves brilliantly throughout the week. With professionalism shown during every session, I was delighted with the race skills. They should be very proud of themselves!”
Josie Armstrong also attended the meet, but not as a Welsh Home Nations qualifier. Her best swim was the 200m IM (2.31.98) in which she finished fourth in the 16 year final, plus swam in the 400m IM (5.12.13), 100m fly (1.10.17) and 100m free (1.02.66).