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How many National times can we get?

This weekend, the 28th and 29th April 2012, Niamh Robinson and her fellow team mates took to Macclesfield for the ‘Satellites of Macclesfield’s 25th Annual Open Meet’.  With only three competitions remaining before entries are required for the National Age Group Swimming Championships, Niamh had her eyes set on more National Qualifying Times (NQT).

As she already had achieved the 200m Breaststroke NQT back in February, Niamh omitted this event from this weekend’s schedule to allow her to concentrate on each of the other six events she had entered.  First event was the 100m Backstroke, the NQT she required was 1.09.67.  In the heat, she narrowly missed it by 0.6 of a second, finishing as fastest qualifier for the final in a time of 1.10.29.  In the final, she was slightly faster, but unfortunately just missed the NQT and finished in a faster time of 1.10.18, taking the gold medal.

The next event was the 400m Individual Medley, after a steady butterfly leg, Niamh swam a comfortable backstroke leg, staying with the field.  On the breaststroke, she climbed the field, moving from 6th place up to 2nd, making up a lot of ground.  Her freestyle leg was much better than on previous occasions as she has been concentrating on her stroke much more in training.  In her heat, she finished in 2nd place in a time of 5.29.95, but in her age group, she took 1st place. 

The 100m Butterfly was an event that Niamh had been steadily and quietly excelling in to the extent that she is within grasp of another NQT.  In the heat, she finished comfortably in a time of 1.12.83, then in the final was pipped into 2nd place in a new personal best time of 1.11.08, narrowly missing out on the NQT of 1.09.78 by 1.3 seconds. 

In the 200m Backstroke her aims were set high to achieve another NQT (2.28.72).  She swam extremely well, but yet again, the time was slightly out of reach, with her finishing in a time of 2.32.14, not quite a NQT, but a 2 second personal best, and she took another gold medal in the process.

In her favourite race, the 100m Breaststroke, she swam a fantastic heat, finishing in a time of 1.19.20, scraping just inside the qualification time and qualifying fastest for the final.  In the final, the pressure was off due to achieving the time in the heats, however, the swimmer in the next lane pushed her throughout the race, but Niamh got the touch and finished first in 1.19.41, just 0.10 of a second ahead of the other swimmer.

The final event of the competition was the 200m Individual Medley; after a fantastic weekend’s swimming she knew she just needed to give it her all.  Trying to gain another NQT, she needed to beat 2.31.58.  She swam the race fantastically, unable to fault anything except perhaps her reaction time off the blocks!  Niamh finished in 1st place (seven seconds ahead of her nearest rival) in a new personal best time of 2.31.83, missing out on a NQT by 0.25 seconds!!

With only two more competitions now available to her before entries have to be in for the Nationals, she has some work to do.  With two NQTs now under her belt – the 100m and 200m Breaststroke, her training needs to be continuous and determined.  She needs to also focus on what she is required to do to gain the outstanding qualification times that are well within her grasp.  Her next competition is in Sheffield at the ‘Rotherham Metro Swimming Gala’, over the weekend of 19th and 20th May; for this we wish her all the very best of luck!

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