Hampshire County Championships Senior Weekend 2022

A Covid depleted team of 6 Barracuda swimmers travelled to Winchester to compete in the first County Championships since the start of the pandemic. Covid stricken Jonathon Beck was disappointed not to be able to defend his 50m freestyle title, along with Oriana Wheeler who was seeded number one in both the 400 and 200 Individual Medley events.

The outstanding performances of the weekend undoubtably came from Commonwealth Games hopeful, Orla Rabey. Despite having only recently recovered from Covid, the butterfly specialist produced outstanding swims in all her butterfly events. Her swim in the 200m butterfly saw her do a personal best time to become the 2022 Hampshire County Champion. She followed up this impressive performance with silver in the 50m and 100m events and a new Island Long Course record in the 50m butterfly, which had previously been set by Laura Le Cras in December last year. In the 100m freestyle final she was joined by younger sister, Ailish Rabey and Molly Staples, where the Barracuda trio took bronze, 4th and 5th places respectively.

Molly Staples, the butterfly and freestyle sprint specialist, also had a successful weekend reaching the final of the 50m and 100m butterfly and 50m freestyle. She narrowly missed out on a medal taking two 4th places and a 5th place. The 50m butterfly final also saw another Barracuda trio when Jemina Green joined Orla and Molly to demonstrate the strength of Guernsey swimming where in fact 5 of the 8 finalists came from Channel Island Clubs.

Swimming in the 16-year age group, and their first experience swimming in a 50m pool was Delphine Riley and Erin Watterson. Erin made the final of the 100m freestyle and took 7th place and based on that performance earned herself a place in the Barracuda team for the relay event.

Always a highlight is the closely fought relays, day one saw Molly Staples, Jemina Green, Orla Rabey and Ailish Rabey contest the 4 x 100 Medley relay taking a creditable 5th place. Day two was the 4 x 100 freestyle relay with Molly Staples, the debutant Erin Watterson, Ailish Rabey and Orla Rabey. At the halfway mark the Barracuda team sat well out of the medals in 5th position, but Ailish on the 3rd leg clawed back some distance before handing over to older sister, Orla. Entering the water in 4th place and 2 body lengths behind the 3rd placed swimmer, Orla had a storming swim to overtake the Rushmoor Royals swimmer in the last few metres to take a well-deserved bronze medal.