Qualifiers for Swim England East Region Championships 2020

Seven of our more experienced swimmers recently gained qualifying times for the two upcoming Regional championships … Daniel Belteki and Colin Peden to those being held in May; Colin, Ciara McAuley, Christian Housden, Austyn Johnson, Daisy Hanbury-Tracy, Daniel and Ruben McLaughlin to the September event.

Saffron Seals Newsletters

We (the Committee) thought it was about time that we established a regular communication with you – the parents, swimmers and volunteers that make-up our swimming club.

Every 6 months (or so) we will aim to produce a newsletter and hold an “open forum” at the Leisure Centre, and attached is the first newsletter.

We hope you find this useful and welcome your comments at the Open Forum in September.  If you would like to help produce a future newsletter then please let us know.

Saffron Seals – Summer 2019 Newsletter

Five swimmers qualified for East Region Championships

George Rogers (not in picture) and Elliot Skingley travelled to Luton Inspire for their events.  Short course conversions gave George a 50m FS time of 25.0 which meant that he was within the 2020 qualifying time by 0.07 secs!   Elliot swam 50m Breaststroke in 35.3, not quite enough for automatic qualification, but certainly something to aim at.
Ciara McAuley and Colin Peden travelled to Norwich.  The times achieved were again converted to short course and Ciara’s two events – 50m Butterfly (31.3) and 50m Freestyle (29.2) – and Colin’s 50m (32.4) and 100m Butterfly (1.13.6) gave both swimmers 2020 qualifying times.   Unfortunately Isla Stringer was unable to compete.

Thank you to Colin’s mum for the photograph.

Sisters take part in Essex Age group Championships

Three pairs of sisters took part in the first weekend of competition – all six swimming in 100m Breaststroke.   All gained PB times in this short course event, and when the times were converted to long course they all achieved again.   Congratulations girls!

… showing off this year’s hoodie.   Smart!

Mael’s success

Mael Bely, who is one of our senior swimmers, recently gained success in the World AquaBike Championships – where he took a Gold medal for Great Britain.   The championships were held in Denmark during third week in July, and, although competition in this gruelling swimming and cycling event was fierce, Mael beat his American rival by 25 mins.3 secs. – a remarkable achievement.

Mael’s achievement was reported in the Walden Local newspaper where he generously attributed his success to the support and coaching expertise of the town’s youth sporting clubs to which he belongs – Saffron Seals, Walden Triathlon, Walden Velo and Walden Track & Field.

Club Championships for 2018

Three sessions of very competitive swimming were held on 30th June, 3rd July and 6th July, on possibly the three hottest evenings of the year.   However, the temperatures didn’t affect the children’s performances and an amazing number of PB and new times were achieved, with six new Club records set.
Points scored on each evening were totalled and the overall winners were presented with their trophies at the BBQ and Presentation Afternoon held the following Sunday.   Girls and Boys trophy winners are …
8 and 9 years Saffron Laundry Shield – Tara Perkins and Thomas Peters
10 years Barker Associates Cup – Rose Denyer and Edward Taylor
11 years Ward Booth Cup – Beth Aris
Challenge Shield – Bayley Hindle
12 years Butler Cup – Ciara McAuley
Millenium Trophy – Colin Peden
13 years Wilson Cup – Rebecca West
Lyn Fisher Challenge – Ruben McLaughlin / Will Saward
14 years and over Cole Challenge Cup – Hetty Aris / Megan Rochester and Finley Budden
Coaches’ Awards were also presented to the following swimmers …
Club Person of the Year – Janet Bright Trophy – Isla Hindle
ESL – Millie Denyer
EML – Sam and Toby Kerrison
and to those who trained well and consistently throughout the season …
Gold Training Group  Kirsty Eva Brownlie Trophy – Matilda Caldwell
Dolphin Award – Fred Wardle
Silver Training Group Silver Cup – Millie Wiseman and Aaron Molyneux
Yellow Training Group Maggie Chapman Award – Imogen Hattee and Darwin Crick
Black Training Group Coaches’ Award – Erin Matthews and Will Harris

Regional Qualifiers for 2018

Four swimmers will travel to the East Region Championships.   Elliot Skingley, George Rogers, Isla Stringer and Ciara McAuley will be competing over the two Bank Holiday weekends in May – George in the senior age groups, and the other three in the junior age groups.   We wish them every success.

Our Esteemed Leader

A number of swimmers went to the Christmas Cracker Open Meet over the weekend 17th/18th November.   Here is our esteemed leader getting into the festive spirit!

The end of EML 2017

To finish off the series of fixtures, and coming first against some strong competition, many swimmers and parents stopped off at the Golden Arches for supper – a very pleasant way to end a busy evening of competitive swimming!

 It’s Carnival – Saturday, 8th July

Seals swimmers appeared as Float 62 in the Carnival procession last Saturday.   Willing volunteers congregated at LBF&LC car park at 9.00am, and set to to decorate the six car transporter that was kindly loaned to us by Hilton’s of Bishop’s Stortford.   After a lot of head scratching and discussions the parents and swimmers managed to convert the lorry into an amazing representation of The Blue Planet – complete with dolphins, whales, and jelly fish.

We had a strong complement of swimmers, coaches and parents who walked or rode the route, and we managed to give out about 6 kgs of sweeties to the crowds along the roadside.

Many thanks to those parents who helped out, and particularly to those who were on the Common to welcome us back and assist in the disassembling of our beautifully decorated lorry.   Particular thanks should go to John, whose conviction that ‘it would be alright on the day’ proved so accurate; and to Steve, our driver, who confessed that he had never seen anything quite like it, but could he come again next time!


Club Championships 2017 – Awards Evening

Seals’ awards evening was held on Sunday, 25th June, at St. Mark’s College Barn, Audley End.   A large number of parents and swimmers enjoyed the warm weather, the tremendous BBQ (thank you Nina, James, Jackie, Christian and Andy) and the impressive awards presentations.

Full results from Club Championships 2017, together with the list of trophy winners, can be found on the Results page.

Swim England

As from 3rd April 2017 the Amateur Swimming Association has been re-branded.   It is now known as Swim England – and their new logo is shown here

It is likely to take us all a long time to get used to the new name, but we are sure it will come with practice.

Club Captains for 2017

George Rogers and Georgina Dunham have been appointed as Senior Club Captains for the 2017 season.   They will travel with the various squads to all meets to support the swimmers and help coaching staff poolside.

Both have been members of Seals for a number of years and have competed in EML, ESL, open meets and Essex Age Group Championships, with increasing amounts of success.   Both are qualified lifeguards and Georgina is also an ASA timekeeper.

Lyn bows out

It is with regret that we have to say ‘goodbye’ to Lyn Dance, who has decided to step down as a coach with our Club.   She has been the lead coach for Mon.1 and Mon.2 training sessions for quite some time, but felt that the Walden School Easter closure would provide a natural break and, as such, will not be returning after the holiday.

As you may know, Lyn has been with the Club for many years and has seen a large number of our children progress from new intake swimmers to County qualifiers.   Her experience and expertise, working alongside Joanne, kept us going for more than 18 months, and we are grateful to her for that.Goodbye to Joanne

Joanne Raynham has been a member of Seals for more than 30 years, both as a competitive swimmer, a dedicated and much respected coach and official.   She has now decided to step down from coaching, and the Club will miss her cheery face at training sessions.   Joanne will, however, continue in her role as an ASA official and so will be poolside for all home fixtures, EML league events and open meets.

Seals benefits from Waitrose Community Matters

Four members of our Club are shown below receiving a cheque for £450 from the Waitrose Green Token Scheme, and our grateful thanks go to all those members, their families and friends for putting their green tokens into the Seals box.It is intended that this money will be used to purchase computer software which will help the coaching team to monitor and develop each swimmer’s performance.

Jamie O buys cake …

Celebrity chef, Jamie Oliver, visited the cake stall run by the Fund Raising Committee, and purchased a chocolate and banana loaf cake.   His contribution helped the Club to raise more than £250.

Seals say goodbye to Dan

All Seals members said goodbye and a huge ‘thank you’ to Dan Wheeler who has been a popular and respected volunteer coach for some time.   Dan has given fantastic support to the Club and was Team Coach for the winning ESL team for this season.

Essex Junior Schools Relay Squad

We were pleased and proud that two of our swimmers – Ciara McAuley and Ollie Rogers – were selected to take part in the above event and both swimmers were part of winning relay teams.

The overall result saw the Essex squad come first by a margin in the competition.

Ollie and Ciara - September 2016

 Saffron Seals has a new Head Coach

We are pleased to welcome David Lowe as our Head Coach, and he starts his new role from 1st October.   David has more than 30 years’ coaching and teaching experience at all levels.   He is an Olympic bronze medal winning swimmer who helped GB to third place in the 4 x 100m relay event at the 1980 Moscow Games.  He also achieved three Commonwealth Games silver medals.

David says he is delighted to be joining Seals at such an exciting time.   Working with the coaching team I am looking forward to building on the club’s present potential to take swimmers to regional and national level in the future.

Alice joins the Coaching Team

Alice Rogers, a talented swimmer with the club, has recently qualified as a Level 2 Competitive Swimming Coach.   She will join the coaching team in her new role from May 2016

ASA East Region Championships – 28th to 30th May 2016

The ASA East Region Championships were held at Luton Sporting Village. This event is only open to swimmers who achieved qualifying times during the past year, and clubs from Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Essex, Hertfordshire, Norfolk and Suffolk were represented. This is a Long Course (LC) event, swum in a 50 metre pool.

Our two swimmers – Ollie Rogers and Claire Stockton – took part in sessions over the three days. Ollie competed in Backstroke, Breaststroke and Freestyle, and Claire in Freeestyle.

Claire competed in her event on Sunday and achieved her second fastest time for 50m Freestyle.

Ollie competed on Saturday and Monday in his three 50m events. He successfully came through the heats with PB times, and qualified for the finals – 8th fastest in Freestyle, 2nd fastest in Backstroke and 3rd fastest in Breaststroke. His Backstroke final achieved a first place, and a Gold medal, and another PB time. He came fourth in the Breaststroke final and 7th in the Freestyle, again with PB times.

Our congratulations go to both our swimmers, who represented our club so successfully.

Ollie Rogers and Claire Stockton - East Region qualifiers 2016

Seals went bag packing at Tesco Superstore

As part of our continuing fund raising events a group of swimmers, committee members and parents went bag packing at Tesco Superstore on Radwinter Road on Saturday, 14th May 2016.   They raised a grand total of £430 in their four hour stint at the checkouts. Congratulations to those who attended, and thanks to Susie Diggons (Tesco Community Coordinator) and Andrew and Helen Upton for organising the volunteers.

We are the Champions!

On Saturday, 7th May 2016 our ESL squad came first in Round 4 of the League, thereby winning Division 3 and gaining promotion to Division 2.   This is the first-ever league win by a Seals squad, and the trophy was collected by Alice Rogers and Will Brooker, Team Captains for the evening.

Will Brooker and Alice Rogers with ESL Division 3 trophy – Version 2


ASA East Region organises a course for Level 1 Competitive Swimming coaches

This course was held on Saturday, 12th and 19th March, at LBF&LC.   Seals’ five candidates ( Lisa Hindle, Nicola  Peart, Maddie Peck, Katie Sarginson and John Stirling) were all successful and now join our Coaching Team.   The candidates from Bottisham and Dunmow Atlantis swimming clubs were also successful.

Successful Level 1 Coach candidates - Maddy Peck, Course tutor, Lisa Hindle, John Stirling, Nicola Peart, Katie Sarginson

Club Championships,  Coaches’ Awards – March 2016

Trophy Winners

8 years – Mae Bissett

9 years – Freddie Wardle, Beth Aris and Millie Denyer

10 years – Hywel Bowen, Dominic Rogers, Zoe Dale-Webb and Ciara McAuley

11 years – William Saward, Lewis Marsh and Freya Stirling

12 years – Ollie Rogers and Gaia Clark-Ward

13 years – Jack Stanton-Stock and Claire Stockton

14 years – Nathan Wright and Isla Yarrow

15 years and over – George Rogers and Alice Rogers

Coaches Awards

The coaches’ awards for our more experienced swimmers were given to Georgina Dunham and George Rogers and Nathan Wright.   

Georgina had a shoulder injury which meant she was unable to train.   However, she has shown great commitment to get back to pre-injury fitness levels for County Championships.

George and Nathan have taken on board the increased training work load and met the challenge with wit, charm and a very positive attitude, engaging fully with their training.

However, swimming isn’t just a great competitive sport, it is also a great fitness and community sport.   This year, for the first time, the coaches and club wanted to recognise two swimmers (one boy and one girl) from each development group who have shown a fantastic approach to training, and to others who are true role models for our club. 

Swim Skills – Beth Aris and Hywel Bowen

Beth has shown a great commitment to training.   She has attended regularly and worked very hard to master the Front Crawl tumble turn.   She has grown into a club swimmer and is showing  much more confidence in training.   Hywel has lifted his training up a level – he has shown more commitment and works very hard in sessions.

Development 1 – Emily Alltree and  Benedict Hannam

Emily has been very committed to training during the past year and has shown a big improvement technically.   Benedict has shown true effort and commitment; he swam in an EML gala on a Saturday evening and then, following a late call-up, turned out for a friendly fixture the following day, despite being disheartened with his EML performance.

Development 2 – Evie Upton and James Hamilton

Evie is not only technically very good, but she just gets on with her training, no messing about, reads and understands the board.   James also trains well, he knows his times, uses the clock well, listens well and responds – and all this shows in the technical improvement he has gained over the past year.

Development 3 – Leni Wilsher and Bryce Drylie

Leni has coped with a shoulder injury by adjusting her training to work with it.   She still gives 100% effort even when finding it tough.   Bryce takes on any challenge given to him and he works hard to complete it.   His wry sense of humour is evident always.

Seals swimmers at the Essex Age Group Championships – January and February 2016

Thirty-three swimmers achieved qualifying times in fifty-seven events for Essex Age Group Championships.    Go to Results page to  see just how well they did.

ASA Officials Course – Timekeeper qualification

In November 2015 11 parents and senior club members successfully passed the ASA Timekeepers qualification.   Congratulations to them all, and we look forward to seeing them poolside at future events.

Team Challenge – November 2015

This year’s Team Challenge had an extra incentive for the swimmers.   Each team was asked to raise sponsorship for a charity.   The charities chosen were CMT (Blue Team), Riding for the Disabled (Orange Team), Teenage Cancer Trust (Red Team) and Saffron Walden Young Carers (Green Team).

Many events were keenly fought, but the final result was close, with the Red Team coming out on top. The results for each team are given  on the Results page.

A perfect photo opportunity presented itself now that the final amounts of sponsorship have been received.   In February 2016 we invited representatives from our four chosen charities (Riding for the Disabled, Teenage Cancer Trust, Saffron Walden Young Carers and CMT) to receive their cheques and £327.00, £316.20, £340.10 and £334.05 were presented.   Many thanks to all those children who swum in this event, and to those who provided the sponsorship.

A big thank you to everyone who provided sponsorship for these four very worthwhile charities, and an especial thanks to those swimmers who took part.

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