DSC’s Hackett Achieves 4th in Great Britain!

Dunstable Swimming Club’s Walter Hackett has had a fantastic British Summer Championships, held at the Ponds Forge International Swimming Centre in Sheffield from 24th July through to 29th July 2018.

Each year British Swimming invite the top twenty four age group swimmers in each event to the National Championships. With events spread over 6 days the competition is the pinnacle of the age group swimming season.

Accompanying Walter to Sheffield was Dunstable Swimming Club’s Director of Swimming, Tim Hutton, who had high hopes for Walter following his three Gold Medal tally at the East Region Championships in May.

Walter’s first event was his best – the 50 metres backstroke. After a 7.30am warm up he wasn’t back in the pool until 12.30pm. Utilising Tim’s well-rehearsed pre-pool warm up, Walter pulls out a personal best time of 28.36 seconds, qualifying him for the final of the 15 years age group in 4th place. Other Dunstable swimmers, parents and coaches were cheering him on, watching on the streamed live feed and posting messages of support on Twitter.

With many more hours waiting, punctuated by a pool warm up at 4pm, Walter walked out for the finals that evening at 7.15pm. With each swimmer walking onto poolside to their name being announced by the commentator, tension and anticipation was high. Following the same practised routine, Walter smashed down the 50 metre pool against the stiff competition. Virtually all the swimmers bettered their times from the heats, with Walter taking nearly half a second off his heat time to take 4th position in 27.79 seconds. Although missing the bronze medal by only 0.1 seconds, he takes a new all-time Bedfordshire under 17 years record, previously achieved in Norwich in May.

Back home in Dunstable, the club’s supporters were ecstatic. Many swimmers had pulled their cars over en route to training to watch the live stream. The commentator congratulated the club on their support, noting over one hundred tweets supporting Walter.

After a punishing twelve hour day, the second day of the Championships saw Walter compete in the 100 metres backstroke. Slightly off personal best Walter swam 1.02.60. Despite achieving a number of practised process goals, this time was unfortunately not quite enough to qualify for the finals.

Finally on the last day of the competition Walter competed in the gruelling 200 metres backstroke. Following the planned pacing variation over the distance his time again was not fast enough to make the final.

Walter was extremely pleased with his second national competition, tweeting about the final of the 50 metres backstroke “Honestly I reckon you could say it was the best night of my life”. He also thanked his coach Tim and the club’s committee for providing support in both pool time and the investment in buying backstroke ledges to enable the club’s swimmers to practice using the same starting equipment that is standard at higher-level competitions.

Alluding to the 18 month closure of Dunstable Leisure Centre, the club’s home base, Tim Hutton Director of Swimming said “‘Without a home pool Dunstable continue to break records across the entirety of the club. This continued upturn in performance is clearly down to the dedication of our swimmers, parents, committee members and coaches. We are looking forward to getting back into our new home and continuing to excel. Walter has been an incredible talisman for the club at British Summer Champs and has dealt with the pressure incredibly well. His excellence was not a fluke or surprise, but was down to his hard work and dedication throughout the season; a mantra that will inspire all of our athletes. Dunstable Swimming Club are now on the map in the world of swimming and can push on to achieve wonderful things. We now dust off this season and start the long road to the new campaign”. 

At the end of the competition the commentator made a point of shaking coach Hutton’s hand due to the impression the small Dunstable club’s supporters had made on the Championship twitter feed and the way this had inspired the whole club. Having stopped a training session to watch Walter’s swim on the live feed, one young swimmer had remarked “I want to be that swimmer; the one that stops the training sessions and everyone watches on the TV”.

Well done to all of our swimmers this season.  DSC take a break in competition now, but will be back in September.