Next wave shine at midsummer meet

Havant and Waterlooville swimmer Samantha Britton   Picture: Mick Young
Havant and Waterlooville swimmer Samantha Britton Picture: Mick Young

HAVANT & WATERLOOVILLE’S next generation emerged at their Midsummer Open Meet.

And head coach Graham Pople has backed his young swimmers to impress as they rose to the occasion of swimming in a competition environment.

Clubs from across Hampshire and beyond descended on Waterlooville Leisure Centre for the event.

And a number of members from the host club took the opportunity to impress.

The likes of Zara Jillett, Amber Kendall, James Arnold, Harrison Marchant. Henry Buckle and Matthew Pullen showed their promise.

Benjamin Pope and Elizabeth Pope also impressed as disability swimmers competing with able-bodied opposition

Pople was delighted with what he saw from his squad.

He is confident there will soon be more young talent from the club’s ranks making an impact after seeing them in action.

Pople said: ‘The whole meet was like a carnival.

‘We had lots and lots of young kids coming along and racing against each other in a real friendly environment.

‘It ran smoothly and we had some great swims.

‘There was about 80 per cent of our club there doing lots and lots of events, so it was a fantastic take-up.

‘It was a real broad spectrum of swimmer, right from children as young as nine up to the older ones.

‘It was about getting the swimmers into that environment and taking up the challenge.

‘We had our two disability swimmers involved, too. They loved it and had big smiles on their faces.

‘They were integrated and got involved with everyone else. They were part of the whole programme of the club,

‘You are looking out for talent who can go all the way through.

‘Some have only been at the club 18 months and have really picked up the technique. It’s good to see.

‘They are listening in training and it’s about transferring that when there’s relative pressure on.

‘It was about ending the year on the high. Everyone is working on a goal and we want to get that culture of momentum going at the swimming club.

‘It’s good for them to have an expectation on them. We are looking to see who rises to the occasion. A lot of the children did that.’

Next up for a trio of the club’s members is the England Schools’ Swimming Association Inter-Divisional meet in Bristol on Saturday.

Katie Byrne, Owen Davies and Oliver Jermy are all looking to make an impact there.

Byrne stormed to a stunning six-medal haul South-East Regional Championships in Crawley.

And there was a silver medal for the 4x200m freestyle relay team of Ollie Jermy, Will Stanhope, Dan Gilbert and James Faull, with Alaina Ward also making a final.

Pople said: ‘We have three swimmers competing for England South in Bristol this weekend.

‘Katie Byrne, Owen Davies and Oliver Jermy all going.

‘I expect Katie and Ollie to medal, absolutely, and I’d like to see Owen make a final.

‘I’d love to see Katie and Ollie on that England team.

‘The team are doing well, and now others are thinking if they can do it, so can we. They all want a piece of it, so hopefully we can light the touchpaper. They are realising they are capable of achieving things.’