English Channel, Loch Lomond and Coniston Water conquered superbly

WARRINGTON Dolphins members took on the English Channel and the infamous Loch Lomond swim in a pulsating 2012 campaign.

Key to the successful year was Michaela Richard, aged 44, who set a championship record time of 1hr 24mins 40secs on her way to winning the Coniston Water veteran’s championship in August.

Richard’s season started in great fashion, finishing first in the Albert Dock’s Ivan Percival event before a fifth place in the British Long Distance Swimming Association’s Champion of Champions competition as well as a respectable fourth placed finish in the River Dee Bridge to Bridge swim.

Her season culminated with a second place in the 10 mile one-way Windermere swim.

Equally pivotal was Jo Norton-Baker, aged 43, who fulfilled a childhood dream of swimming the English Channel on July 26 in 16hrs 54mins.

In a vigorous training programme, Norton-Baker took part in every one of the BLDSA open water competitions, a feat recognised by the organisers as she picked up the Fred Slater Award for swimmer of the year.

Not satisfied with a solo channel crossing, Norton-Baker and her team tackled Loch Lomond, a challenge generally accepted as one of the most arduous on the open-water calendar at a distance of 21.6 miles. Norton-Baker stroked home in 15hrs 49mins.

Caroline Lewis, aged 38, was another Dolphin to complete the Loch Lomond challenge in 15hrs 21mins.

There were a number of other notable swims by the Dolphins in 2012.

Tony Fillingham finished fourth in the St Marys Loch event, Pam Kay was second to Richard in the Coniston veteran’s race and third in the four-miler at Lynn Padarn, where Mandy Reid was second in the one-mile women’s championship.

Andy Wright was fourth in the Coniston veteran’s race, while Kay Gorzko was third at Wykeham and June Morris third at Budworth Mere.

Warrington Dolphins also had success as an events host.

They held the club’s first 1,500m championship at Fordton Leisure Centre ahead of the new Orford Park complex hosting the meeting in February, 2013.

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