Midsummer Open to be best ever

Emily Gaize has been putting in some hard graft in the pool this season
Emily Gaize has been putting in some hard graft in the pool this season
Kate Steels-Fryatt in action  Picture: Terry Scott

What it’s like to be an ice water swimmer

Have your say

Lifetime bests will be the aim for a host of swimmers at Havant & Waterlooville’s Midsummer Open meet.

Waterlooville Leisure Centre will welcome competitors from across the south and beyond as they throw their doors open to all-comers tomorrow.

The event is aimed towards swimmers who are not going on towards national competition next month.

Havant & Waterlooville head coach, Graham Pople, explained the meet will aim to cover as many distances and events as possible.

And he is keen to see talents rack up as many personal-best times as they can as they host the competition.

Pople said: ‘This meet isn’t aimed at the national and regional finalists.

‘It’s for the grass-roots level and all the local clubs in the area.

‘We wanted to put a meet on for every kid, with a lot of swimmers going off to national qualifying meets and championships.

‘We wanted to put on a meet for everyone at our pool where we could supply electronic timing.

‘It’s a good way to finish off the season and help people get as fast times as possible.

‘We’ve spread the programme as best we can so we have all the strokes and as many distances as possible.

‘We really want to cover as many bases as possible – whether you are a sprinter or distance swimmer.

‘We want to see as many people as possible finish the season off with a personal-best time.’

Havant & Waterlooville’s Lucy Peers became the youngest person to achieve a county qualifying time for her club at the age of just nine.

She will be looking to continue that form, as will Polly Lorimer who has had a season to remember.

The 15-year-old qualified for the South East Region Age Group Championships in Crawley as she makes hurtling development.

And it’s a similar story for 15-year-old team-mate Emily Gaizley, who has been putting the graft in to make big improvements.

Braden Daniels will have his eye on a new PB as he also competes for the host club.

But Pople explained it’s not just about his outfit making an impression in the pool.

He revealed there will be people coming from far and wide to take part in the action.

‘Polly Lorimer came into swimming quite late and has worked really hard,’ said Pople.

‘She qualified for the regionals, which we didn’t know would happen, and she swam brilliantly there.

‘In one season she has nearly got too big for this meet.

‘She deserves recognition for that, as does Emily Gaizley, who has also worked very hard.

‘Braden Daniels is another guy who has really got his head down and worked hard.

‘We’ve got people from places like Mid-Sussex Marlins, Portsmouth Northsea and Winchester coming along.

‘There’s one lad coming down from the midlands. He is coming down to see friends and do the meet as well.

‘So it’s nice that we are seen nationally as well.

‘We’ll embrace him and make him welcome as part of our team.’

Warm-ups for the open meet begin tomorrow at 8am at Waterlooville Leisure Centre.