Guernsey Press

Packed programme for ‘lucky’ swimmers

GUERNSEY will be in a very enviable position in the competitive swimming world this weekend.

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Charlie-Joe Hallett will be one of the island's top swimmers in action this weekend. (Picture by Peter Frankland, 28950842)

After a long year when competitions across the board have collapsed due to the coronavirus, St Sampson’s High’s pool will play host to a busy Island Championships gala running from tomorrow until Sunday.

Qualifying for the Guernsey 2021 Island Games would have been the objective for many had circumstances been nearer normal.

Instead, Guernsey Swimming Club head coach Naomi Wakeford is looking forward to hosting a big meet where competitors will be seeking personal bests or qualifying times for future regional or national meets.

‘We are all really, really lucky,’ she said.

‘In England, some swimming pools have not been made open and some clubs are not operating.

‘The elite swimmers – Olympics swimmers and those in the England squad – they are all going, but other than that, most are quite restricted.

‘We are in a privileged position in that things can carry on as normal and they have got us licences so we can use the times for next year.’

There remains the possibility that county or national level competition faces further roadblocks next season.

Regardless, many of Guernsey’s top swimmers across both clubs – like GSC’s Charlie-Joe Hallett and Barracuda Tom Hollingsworth – will be eager to test their form with the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games a distant focus.

The Commonwealths qualifying window is set to open next January and selectors have committed to considering short-course meets from the Channel Islands if trips abroad cannot go ahead.

The first of five Island Championships sessions takes place on Friday evening and action culminates in a jam-packed Sunday morning starring the blue-riband 50m freestyle event and the mixed relays.