The annual Royal Air Force swimming, water-polo and diving inter-station championships were held at RAF Cranwell in November. The event was held over 2 days, with the majority of the RAF stations taking part, including RAF Akrotiri.
Being a busy flying station, it is always difficult to take time away from primary duties to compete at the ground level of RAF sports, and due to other commitments this time, RAF Marham was unable to field a full team, however Cpl Nicholas (93 (EA) Sqn) and Cpl Politowicz (Ped Flt) made the journey to RAF Cranwell to represent the station and compete. Their main focus was the swimming competition, but they both jumped in for the water polo scratch team having great fun and scoring goals!
The first day of competition was the swimming heats, in past years due to a lack of numbers there would be no heats at all and swimmers would be entered straight into the finals. The success of recent years meant that nearly all 20 races (male and female) were competitively swum as heats to be entered into the finals the next day.
Both Cpl Nicholas and Cpl Politowicz were successful in all heats and entered into the finals.
The inter-station competition is aimed at recruiting RAF personnel to represent the RAF at their chosen discipline (swimming, diving, water polo or open water swimming). Cpl Nicholas saw the full potential of this competition and recruited 7 new servicemen to the RAF squad. Cpl Politowicz demonstrated some outstanding potential and race fitness. In his first ever RAF competition he proved fastest in the whole of the RAF coming 1st in the 50m freestyle with a time of 25:33 seconds. After placing second in the 50m breastroke heats, Cpl Politowicz then went onto to beat his own placing in the final and achieve 1st place again. Because of the way the competition is run, athletes are only allowed to compete for a medal in 2 events otherwise potentially a current RAF swimmer could win all races and defeat the purpose of the competition.
Cpl Politowicz was then invited to attend the RAF swimming training weekend following the competition and asked to join the squad in preparation for the interservices next year – this is a great achievement for a new PTI.
The current RAF Swimming team captain, Cpl Nicholas, led by example and achieved 1st in the 50m butterfly in a time of 27:28 seconds a near personal best, Cpl Nicholas was even more pleased with this result as the silver medallist was no other than Cpl Wisby, who had recently achieved a world record as the fastest solo swimmer to swim around Jersey Island. Cpl Nicholas then went on to place 2nd and 3rd in the Individual medley and the 100m butterfly. Cpl Nicholas was justifiably exhausted after beating a world record holder!
This year the RAF looks to travel to Aviano, Italy for pre inter-service training and the NATO competition with combined Air Forces around Europe. Following this week’s success RAF Marham is aiming to send 3 to 4 personnel to represent UK Forces competing at the international level.
This week has shown the vast amount of opportunities available not just for swimming but for water polo, and diving too. Representing not only your station but the RAF worldwide is an incredible achievement and fully endorsed by the Station Commander.
The RAF Swimming Association (RAFSA) can be found on Facebook and twitter and we look forward to welcoming new members throughout the year.
For any information about any of the disciplines or training requirements please email 42ESW-93EAS Wpns JNCO08 (Nicholas, James Cpl)