Fabulous Flitwick Dolphins swimmer Francesca Baber (15) travelled to Ponds Forge in Sheffield over the 3rd to 5th of December to compete in the National Short Course Championships.
It was a star-studded weekend with many Team GB swimmers taking part, but Francesca showed that she was more than capable of swimming at that level, despite it being her first taste of the Championships. She opened up on the Friday with a 58.99 in the 100m freestyle, only the second time she has dipped under 59 seconds, putting her in the top 50 of the 16 and under category.
There was even better to come in the 400m freestyle on the Saturday, an event that she only qualified for two weeks earlier. She showed great pacing control to pass the 200m mark in 2.13.88 before producing an exceptional second half of the race to come home in a new personal best time of 4.32.02, winning her heat and again finishing in the top 50 of the 16 and under category.
Francesca saved her very best for her last event, the 200m freestyle. She stormed off the blocks to go through the 100m mark in 1.01.28 then pulled away from the other swimmers in her heat to finish in 2.06.63, lowering her personal best time by more than two seconds. That put her 22nd in the 16 and under category and only 1.67 seconds off a final place, which must be a target for next year.
Head Coach Nigel Halford said he was tremendously proud of Francesca’s performances and the way she represented the club with such distinction at a major national event: ‘Francesca is an inspirational swimmer and I hope that younger swimmers at the club will strive to match what she has achieved’.