Page last updated 24th June 2018

Tudor Grange Gala - Saturday 23rd June 2018

This was a Para event for younger and novice swimmers, held at Tudor Grange, Solihull on Saturday 23rd June.

Orion went along with following swimmers Ellis, Elliot, Aran, Adrian, May, Aleena, Violet, Rowan, Phoebe and 4 helpers Grace, Aimee, Ellie and Scott to support me on poolside.

I would like to thank the helpers to start with for giving up their Saturday evening to help me out - I could not have done it without you guys. I also need to thank a couple of the parents who also helped me out.

This event is designed to introduce swimmers to a competitive environment and to swim as part of team. It was open to OS learn to swim and some OS junior swimmers only. This meant the swimmers taking part were very young, inexperienced and some were swimming in their very first competition.

Scott, Ellie and Aimee started the gala by giving a short demonstration of starts, turns and finishes across all four strokes. This was designed to give the younger swimmers an understanding as to what to expect from the gala. Bearing in mind some of these swimmers are as young as four years old, and all have impairments, it was needed to ease any anxieties and to explain visually what to do.

The first event was 25m free and everyone took part in this event. With all the swimmers spread across 4 different heats, meant that the helpers were in and out and out of pool supporting swimmers in every heat. We had several swimmers achieving gold medals including Elliot, Adrian, Violet, May and Phoebe.

The next event was 25m backstroke. That was very interesting with Ellis swimming his own version of backstroke that looked very much like front crawl, and Aran swam the race of his life. Aran has not completed 25m backstroke before but within the competition environment he gave it everything he had and swam the whole length. Medallists were Phoebe, Violet, Ellis, Elliot, Rowan, May and Adrian.

The next event was 25m breaststroke. This did cause some confusion for some of our swimmers. Adrian decided that his butterfly was a lot stronger than his breaststroke so switched strokes half way down the lane. Rowan did a combination of every stroke going, whilst Aleena decided to do front crawl kick, breaststroke arms. Elliot managed a false start and so did May but everyone finished with a smile on their face. Medallists in this event Phoebe, Violet, Aran.

The next event was 25m butterfly. A few swimmers were very reluctant at first to swim this event, and it took some persuading to get them to try. However, there were some fantastic swims with medals for Adrian, Aleena, Elliot, Violet, May.

Phoebe, Elliot, Violet and Aleena swam every length without a helper showing how much they have progressed since their last gala (which was the Orion championships) and they remembered the correct start and finish for each stroke.

Ellis swam the whole length with Scott's support with the biggest smile on his face, and it really did not matter what stroke he was swimming, just getting from one end to the other was such an achievement for him that the smile was well deserved. He achieved a medal and certificate.

Aran swam his little heart out, trying so hard to use his leg kick and stroke technique. He also achieved a medal and certificate.

Phoebe came away with a lot of medals as she achieved a medal place in every event. She was also very supportive of the other swimmers, cheering them on, showing fantastic sportsman like conduct.

Violet was very nervous at first and became quite anxious but after the first event, she could not wait until she swam again. She went from being very nervous to being very excited with minutes and she then sided with Phoebe to cheer on everyone else.

Elliot showed his swimming skills to a high degree, despite a false start in one event.

Rowan worked really hard and with Ellie's support took part in the butterfly event. He managed the kick really well, although the arms used a style that was a little unique.

Aleena didn't seem nervous at all, although I think her parents were! She completed all 4 strokes using correct starts and finishes, showing her learning from training.

May also swam all 4 strokes and worked really hard to swim fast. She achieved several medals across 3 out of 4 events.

Adrian showed his reading skills by pointing out something on the notice board that made everyone smile. The instruction said no shouting, but he pointed out that all parents on poolside were shouting and cheering and therefore, breaking one of the rules at the pool. Very difficult for a young person to understand when a rule can be broken and when it cant. His confusion did not stop him from swimming a fantastic butterfly and achieving a medal in this event.

Every parent on poolside went home with a sore throat from shouting and cheering and sore hands from clapping. Great comradeship was shown by all the swimmers and their parents as every swimmer regardless of the club they were from, were cheered and clapped whole-heartedly. A brilliant way to spend a Saturday evening, and I really enjoyed watching and supporting our swimmers.

The Orange Squad did Orion proud at this event.

I am very proud of all you.

Karen

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