While most of the swimming world fought through big holiday training, in the Southwestern United Kingdom country of Wales they brought in the Christmas spirit with the weekend’s Welsh Open Swimming Winter Championships, in long course.
Some of Britain’s biggest names are Welsh, including Jazz Carlin, Jemma Lowe, and Georgia Davies (who didn’t post any results at this meet, though she was in attendance as a member of the host club).
There were a few very strong times swum in this meet, including Lowe topping the women’s 100 fly in 58.51, coming off of a strong silver-medal performance in the same race at the European Championships two weeks prior. She hasn’t swum this meet since she was 15, but this is the fastest that she’s ever been outside of a major national or international championship meet.
Her 200 fly wasn’t quite as strong, but she still won handily in 2:09.25. Swimming well in an unrested 200 fly is more important, at the moment, anyway, as that’s where she’ll have the biggest competition for Olympic qualifying (though her 200 is the better chance at a medal).
Carlin, Webb, and Davies will be part of a Swansea group that will travel to California this week to train out of the La Mirada pool for the next couple of weeks.
There were a couple of notable young swimmers who could be names to represent the UK in 2016 and beyond. Among them are 18-year old Ieuan Lloyd of the City of Cardiff Swim Club. He took three event victories, including the 200 free (1:50.39), the 200 IM (2:03.82), and the 400 free (3:54.26). What’s more is that he appeared to be far from rested (he’s been much faster this year). Lloyd is only 18-years old, but right now he sits squarely in the driver’s seat for the 4th spot on the British 800 free relay that placed 6th at World’s. The incumbent for that position is another young swimmer, 20-year old Jak Scott.
On the women’s side, 14-year old Siwan Thomas-Howells of Swansea swam similarly well despite being in the midst of training. She swept the 15 & under divisions of the 50-through-400 freestyles, but in the 50 (27.49) and 200 (2:06.57) meter competitions, she out-swam even her senior competitors for the overall Welsh crown.