Swimming Success Another Busy Year for Marham Swimmers!
Last year saw swimmers from RAF Marham at their busiest yet, competing at all levels from the RAF Inter-Stations Championships to an Inter-nation Championship in Poland.
This year there were three additions to the RAF Swimming team from RAF Marham, Cpl Lynsey Carveth (Ped Flt), SAC Claire Hobbs (PSF) and SAC Eleri Davies (PSF).
Going back to March this year, a select few members of the RAF swimming team were invited to take part in an Air Command HQ Ramstein Swimming Championships in Poland over three days. Seven Air Forces across Europe, including the USAF based in Europe, took part and SAC(T) Nicholas represented RAF Marham and RAFSA by competing in the 200m individual medley.
Following on from this was the RAF Inter-regionals competition held at RAF Cranwell. SAC(T) Nicholas and SAC Hobbs were part of the East region squad comprising of over 13 RAF stations including Cyprus and personnel based in Europe. SAC Hobbs performed brilliantly at her first RAF Inter-regional Championships alongside the East Region championships, swimming away with 2 Gold medals in the 100m and 200m Breastroke and a Silver medal in the 100m freestyle. SAC (T) Nicholas also picked up two Gold medal positions in the 100m and 200m Breastroke.
At the start of September this year 26 members from the RAF Swimming team journeyed out to ‘Club La Santa’ in Lanzarote a very popular sports and training resort for top athletes which was organised by SAC(T) Nicholas. From RAF Marham Cpl Carveth, SAC(T) Nicholas, SAC Davies and SAC Hobbs attended the training camp. The swimmers suffered six days of intense training in exhausting heat covering over 50km in the pool alone!! If this wasn’t enough Cpl Carveth competed in a gruelling half marathon finishing 2nd in a time of 1:50. SAC Hobbs and SAC(T) Nicholas also competed in their first Triathlon with both finishing in the top 5 of the age categories.
After a successful week of clocking up the miles not to mention the hours in the pool at Lanzarote, the RAF swimming team were ready to take on the ARMY and NAVY at the most talked about Inter-Services of recent years. In 2011 the RAF lost to the Navy by one point, so this year the RAF Swimming team were back with vengeance. CPL Carveth, SAC Hobbs and SAC Davies all competed in their first Inter-Services representing the RAF and Marham, and SAC(T) Nicholas competed in his third inter services. Unfortunately in this instance through a very inexperienced team not through lack of effort the NAVY won the competition again. However there were extremely great things that came out of the inter services- Cpl Lynsey Carveth at her first inter services became joint female captain, and competed in the 200m individual medley and the 100m Butterfly, both extremely tough and competitive races. SAC Claire Hobbs also her first inter-service experience competed in the 100m and 200m Breastroke and showed the army that inexperience in a big competition doesn’t hold her back. SAC Eleri Davies receiving the hardest trainer award in Lanzarote, put in a sterling effort and competed against some very top athletes throughout the services in 100m and 200m Backstroke. SAC(T) James Nicholas competed in the 100m Breastroke and 200m individual Medley picking up a Silver medal and a place in the Combined Service team!
Downham Market Masters
As well as competing for RAF SAC(T) Nicholas and SAC Hobbs also compete in the civilian world of swimming too. Unfortunately for SAC Hobbs her commitment had to be put on hold as she was part of the working party during this year’s Olympics held in London. Civilian competitions are held throughout the year all over the UK and this year alone saw SAC(T) Nicholas picked up 32 swimming medals including a Gold medal for his first try at open water swimming in Norwich in August.
The most recent competition was the Inter Station Swimming, Water polo and Diving Championships which was held at RAF Cranwell in November. RAF Marham’s station took a strong team of 9 which was headed up by Cpl Carveth and SAC(T) Nicholas and also included Fg Off Barker, Sgt Arthur, Sgt Davey, SAC(T) Coates, SAC(T) Duggan, SAC Hobbs and SAC Mockford. The team entered the water polo competition of which 5 out of the 7 had never played but put in a good strong solid performance coming 5th out of 6. SAC(T) Coates and SAC Hobbs represented RAF Marham in the Diving again both having never dived before, and saw a spectacular overall 5th position out of 7 for RAF Marham. However it was the swimming that saw all the action with a round of heats on the Thursday and the finals being held the following day. The RAF Marham men’s team put in a fantastic effort competing against many RAF Swimmers and a very strong team from RAF Brize Norton. Some fantastic times were swam from the men however it was the ladies team comprised of Fg Off Barker, Sgt Davey, Cpl Carveth and SAC Hobbs medal in either Gold or Silver medal position in every ladies event and win 3 out of 3 ladies relays. If that was not enough two ladies records were also broke with Cpl Carveth breaking the 50m Butterfly record and SAC Hobbs breaking the 50m Breastroke record. After competing hard against a very strong RAF Brize Norton and RAF Cranwell team RAF Marham won and brought home the overall the ladies swimming trophy which is the first time RAF Marham has come home with a swimming trophy. Overall the team came a respective 4th and it was a great two days for the RAF Marham team.
RAF Swimmer of the Year
To top off an extremely packed year of non-stop training and various competitions, Wg Cdr Damian Orton Chairman of the RAF Swimming Association presented the Swimmer Of The Year Award and Trophy to SAC(T) James Nicholas (AESF) for his dedication and commitment to RAF Swimming over the last year, a fantastic accolade to have achieved.
As you can see from everything above although we are on Operations around the world and commitments through work and at home you can gain rewards from just putting a little effort into something you enjoy. RAF Marham Swimming Club is growing rapidly and they train regularly at Downham Market Leisure Centre. They are always looking for new people to come along and join in with training sessions which are held on Monday and Wednesday evenings, for more information please call Ext: 7094 or Ext: 6644.