The 2017 PSUK Swimming & Water Polo Championships were for the first time in my police career hosted by our friends from over the water, Police Service of Northern Ireland. The event was held at the outstanding facility built especially for the 2013 World Police and Fire Games in Bangor. PSNI have for many years travelled to the mainland to take part in the event and it was good to finally see the championships being held on their soil. Garda Siochana, were also invited to take part which added to the friendly competition.
No swimming records were broken but 3 new swimmers made it onto the national team with representations coming from all 4 of the UK's commonwealth countries. In the first event; 400m freestyle West Midlands dominated with Claire Thorn and Nigel Gaskin taking gold. West Midlands continued their success with Sara Gamble winning the 200m IM and Gaskin taking the silver. Thorn and Gamble battled it out in the 100m breastroke which saw them taking 1st and 2nd respectively. Other individual winners on day one were in the 100m backstroke where Helen Cumber, Metropolitan successfully defended her title and Chris Jones, South Wales. Other champions were Dave Johnston, PSNI in the 200 IM and Aimee Ramm, Leicestershire in the 100m freestyle. Finishing off the men's events Garry Dixon, Thames Valley took the 100m freestyle and Nick Polkinghorne the 100m breastroke titles.
In the 4 x 50m freestyle relays the Scottish proved the dominate force winning both the men's Open and 140 years and Ladies Open with West Midlands winning the 140 years.
Day 2 kicked off with the 200m breastroke where Thorn and Gamble again battled with Thorn just getting the touch; Polkinghorne made it a breastroke double win.
The 100 fly was won by Aimee Ramm and the men's champion Todd Allsop, Metropolitan. The open 200 freestyle saw Thorn clinch her 4th gold and Garry Dixon take the male title. In the open 50 freestyle Aimee Ramm & Ross Woolley, Scotland topped the podium. In the 4 x 50m medley relays, West Midlands Ladies won both the Open and 140+ events and for the Men it was Scotland who carried one their winning streak with the double.
The finale event was the very close and exciting skins; from 8 swimmers to 1 in a matter of minutes. The overall victors of this intense show of speed and strength were Ramm and Woolley.
The top overall Master swimmer went to Aimee Ramm; top overall Open female to Claire Thorn and Nigel Gaskin won the top overall Open male swimmer.
Selected to represent GB Police for 2017 were:
Dave Johnston, Ross Woolley, Garry Dixon, Chris Jones, Nigel Gaskin, Rich Evans (Met), Thomas Allen, Mark Moreland-Francis (Dorset) and Adam Jones (South Wales)
Aimee Ramm, Sara Gamble, Claire Thorn, Vic Standen, Helen Cumber, Rachel Vallins (Dorset) and Sarah Hempenstall (Surrey) and Holly Ross (Scotland)