Berkhamsted SC’s Ciara
McKenna continued her road trip around the UK to many different swimming venues when she arrived at the Welsh National Pool in Swansea for the National Partnership Swimming Meet, sponsored by the Mencap charity.
Ciara, who swims for Great Britain as part of the Down Syndrome GB team, had the opportunity to swim in the short-course 25m pool on the Saturday and the long-course 50m pool on Sunday.
Her recent improvements were borne out in the first event, the 50m backstroke, when she shaved two seconds off her personal best (PB) to clock 1:00.75 on her way to a well-deserved silver medal.
Despite a disqualification in the 100m individual medley in the butterfly section, she then bounced back in the 50m freestyle to be just 0.3 seconds outside of her month-old personal best (52.82).
Her final event of day one saw some fatigue hit home and with a PB of 1:59.46, she finished just outside the two-minute mark but ended the day a very happy swimmer.
On day two the contest changed to the long-course version, which is often harder due to the lack of turns.
Every legal swim that Ciara put up on the day was a PB as she posted 1:02.26 for the 50m backstroke, 56.81 for her 50m freestyle and 2:27.04 for the 100m backstroke in her first effort at that distance either short-course or long-course, to complete an immensely pleasing two days for the 16- year-old, who was also fresh from passing her Year 11 exams with flying colours.
Meanwhile ex-Berkhamsted athlete John Wood, now swimming out of Bristol, travelled to Slovenia for the European Masters Championships recently.
He began with the 800m freestyle, where his finish time of 9:25.71 was some six seconds quicker than his East Region age group record that he set in London three years ago. His time was fast enough to pick up a bronze medal in his 30-34 age group.
Unfortunately, he was disqualified for a false start in his signature event, the 100m fly, but Wood followed up with a fourth-place finish in the 400m freestyle (4:28.19), just a fraction outside the medals.
He finished the pool side of things with a 26.7 time for eighth place in the 50m fly.
His week finished with a 36-minute swim for 12th place in the 3km open water event.
Berkhamsted SC is expanding their open water arm and 14 swimmers attended their first-ever club session on Saturday at Denham Water Ski Lake with open water head coach Jan Stevens, supported by Jo Sansom administratively.