Suffolk County Championships 2020

The first day of the 2020 County Championships was at Norwich on the 18th of January. I had gone there to compete in my 1st and most favourite event, the 1500m freestyle. This is my favourite event because I love that it isn’t just an all out effort, it requires tactics and skill to make sure that you don’t burn out of energy too fast. The nerves started kicking in around 30 minutes before the race. Knowing that this was the competition that I have been training for all year, the time to see if all that hard work you put in was worth it.

I was on the blocks, take your marks BEEP! I was off, the first event of counties. I Swam as hard as I could because I knew I was good at this event and if I pushed hard enough I could get a good result.  It turns out that all that hard work did pay off as I came into the wall to finish the race and not only got a PB of 19:12.26, I also managed to get first place which I was super happy with. This year I was a good contender to do well in the overall County rankings, so to maximise points you have to swim as fast as you can, as your points are calculated off how close you are to the world record. So if you come first which in this case I did, you will get the most amount of points for that race. They take your top 5 best point scoring events overall for Counties, and add all of those points up to get your total points for the whole event. 

Day two of County swimming was the next day. I was back at Norwich for another long distance event, the 800m freestyle. This is my second favourite event as it is another long distance race which requires skill and tactics to get a good result. After a good result the previous day I was hoping for another good result, and after a very hard effort in the water I managed to get another 1st place. Not only did I get first place in both of these events, I also got two regional qualifying times.

The next weekend I was at crown pools for the short course part of Counties. On this particular weekend I had six different events, the 400m IM, the 200m freestyle, 100m backstroke, 200m breaststroke, 100m freestyle and the 50m breaststroke. I ended up having another good weekend of swim racing, with 2 first places ( in the 400m IM and the 200m Freestyle), a second place (in the 100m backstroke), a third place (in the 200m breaststroke), a fourth (in the 100m freestyle) and a sixth (in the 50m breaststroke).

On the third weekend of Counties I won 3 silver medals in the 200m backstroke, the 100m IM and the 200m IM. This weekend was ok but i didn’t get the results i had hoped for. Over the whole weekend I just didn’t seem to have my racing head on which resulted in things like, sloppy turns, not powerful dives, not using good racing tactics etc. Over the next week I made sure that I was ready for my third favourite event and the last individual event of the county championships, the 400m Freestyle. The 400m Freestyle is one of those events where it is all about who can go the hardest for the longest, so I needed to make sure I was on top of my nutrition and sleep to make sure I could perform my best.

It was the final weekend of the Suffolk County Championships, which meant that today was the 400m freestyle. This event was the hardest one of them all, and to make everything a whole lot harder, I had to win this race to win the County Championships overall, so there was a lot of pressure on me to do well in this race.  After a long dragging day the event was finally here. My main contestant was Ashton, a good friend who swims for the same club as me, we stepped up onto the blocks, my heart felt like it was going to burst with nerves ‘Take your marks’ Beep! we were off. AsI hit the water all my nerves were gone, it was all about focus. I swam as hard as I could.  I got to the last 25m, this was it, all the effort I had left in me, I touched the wall.

I turned to see the result on the board, but my goggles had fogged up, I couldn’t see. By the time I cleared my goggles the board reset for the next heat of the race. I wouldn’t know my result until I saw my parents, who wrote down all of my times and results. I walked nervously over to them, I asked them what the result was, I had won! When I heard those words I was so happy, all of my hard work really had paid off. I was so excited, I was the Suffolk County Champion in the 13 year age group. In my age group we still had two 4×25 meter team relays. We all worked as hard as we could and managed to win both with a great team effort. Overall the 2020 Suffolk County Championships was great, lets see if I can retain my title in 2021.

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About Ben Howlett 19 Articles
I'm Ben Howlett (aka CheekyBen) I like to swim, bike & run and take part in lots of different events. I want other children to realise they can do the same so I share my experience here.