Saturday 26th November, 2012

English Schools Team Championships

English Schools Team Championships at Southampton.

We had an early start because we needed to get to the pool at Southampton. I had a bad night (not discomfort, I just couldn't sleep). When the alarm went off at 6:45, I really wasn't ready to get up.

We had two carts of computer and PA equipment to load into the car, plus things for an overnight stay. I am now able to drag the wheeled carts, so loading the car did not take too long. We had a lot less stuff than when we run competitions at the Quays ourselves, so getting everything up onto the balcony at the pool only took 2 trips.

I like getting to a pool first, because it enables me to set up tables and cables the way I want them. It worked out that way today. I was greeted by a message from the staff that the system was not working. The first thing I did was to remove the PA and ARES computer provided by the pool and replace them with stuff that worked. The system equipment might have worked if it had been wired up correctly.

I had a working PA system by 8:45 and a working timing system before the water famiarisation sessions started at 9:30.

It was a long morning as different schools got access to the pool at different times. At 12:45, the pool was clear. I carried out a final check of the timing system and organised the pool staff to replace one of the timing pads that was not working. The competition started at 1:30 and everything went extremely smoothly. Unusually for the pool at Southampton, the timing system worked flawlessly.

After the competition was over, we checked in to the Holiday Inn near the pool for an overnight stay. After looking at some recent negative reviews on Trip Advisor, we were a little worried about what we would find, but our room was fine, with a great view of Southampton Water and one of the cruise ship docks.

The main reason we were staying overnight was to have dinner with a group of other people from English Schools Swimming. There was a group of slightly more than 20 of us and we were all choosing from the a la carte menu. (A good fixed price deal, three courses, any choice of starter, main course and desert and two drinks).

The set up was rather strange. We had to order both of our drinks at the start, so most of us had two glasses of wine in front of us. As one waitress slowly took our orders, we prepared ourselves for a length wait, but the service was surprisingly good and the quality of the food was fine. Well done, Holiday Inn. [Memo to self: Submit a positive review to Trip Advisor].