THERE was plenty to savour for Stratford Sharks swimmers as they got the chance to meet Olympic star Rebecca Adlington OBE and show off their new FINA regulation track start blocks.
Competition swimmers do not just dive into a pool like the rest of us. They propel themselves from starting blocks and at the London 2012 Olympics the track-style starting blocks made their Olympic debut with an inclined surface and a lip at the back.
Now, thanks to support and funding from Stratford Town Trust, Stratford Sharks were able to splash out more than £6,000 to get these competition starting blocks.
“It makes a real difference for competition swimmers to be able to practice on these state-of-the-art blocks as seconds and often tenths of seconds can make the difference between first and last,” said Sharks’ club captain Harrison Cook.
“Having these blocks gives us an edge as we get to practice on the real thing.”
Club chairman Jonathan Penny was full of praise for Stratford Town Trust, adding: “We needed their help and they supported us and we are extremely grateful.”
To mark the official launch of the new starting blocks, four-time (two golds) Olympic medallist Adlington was on hand to celebrate with Sharks swimmers Harrison Cook, Seren Mahon, Chris Clements, Charlotte Clements, Robin Hughes and Hannah Penny, who are pictured with Adlington.
“The new starting blocks are great,” said 11-year-old Junior Performance swimmer Hannah Penny.
“I saw Becky using the track-style blocks in London in 2012 and it was great to finally meet her in person.”
With a new pool, new blocks and new head coach Dirk Cox, Stratford Sharks are moving in the right direction and fast.