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HomeSWIMMINGTonbridge swimmer Caitlin Ebbage delivers the medals in Dubai

Tonbridge swimmer Caitlin Ebbage delivers the medals in Dubai

Tonbridge Swimming Club’s Caitlin Ebbage has been studying for a Diploma in Sporting Excellence (DiSE) since September 2021, in her own time, alongside her A level studies. The Diploma is run jointly by Swim England and Loughborough College. Swimmers applied to join the talent pathway program with Swim England and the top FINA point scorers in each stroke were offered a place.

Over the past two years Caitlin and the others on the DiSE program have attended face-to-face workshops and training days at various locations across England and also attended online seminars and workshops. The students have also completed regular homework/workbook tasks and submitted their work to their allocated tutors.

The highlight of the program so far was 75 swimmers attending a seven-day training camp and competition in Dubai in mid-February. The swimmers travelled to Dubai and spent three days training in very impressive pools (both long course and short course format).  One outdoor pool was set up in 25m format and had an estimated 20 lanes.

On the Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, as well as their in-pool training sessions, they also completed gym workouts and attended program workshops. Swimmers were also set work to complete and submit each day.  Somehow, they managed to fit a couple of hours into their schedule to visit the Burj Khalifa, their sole non-swimming event of the week.

Friday, Saturday and Sunday were competition days as all members of the touring DiSE group were racing in the Middle East Open and Junior Championships at the impressive Hamdan Sports Complex. Team England did really well over the course of the three days of competition, bringing home a medal haul of 56 medals (19 Gold, 18 Silver & 19 Bronze).

Caitlin raced in five events and qualified for four finals. The long course season just started in January and she swam in her first racing of the season at the end of January at the Luxembourg Euro Meet. 

In Dubai she qualified for the B final of the ladies 100m freestyle and set a new season’s best time. She then qualified for the A finals of the 50m, 100m and 200m backstroke and brought home bronze medals in the 50 and 100m events and a silver medal in the 200m. She set new seasons’ best times in all three backstroke events by swimming much faster than she did just two weeks prior in Luxembourg. 

One totally new racing experience for her and team was racing in the finals in the evening almost in the dark with just laser ‘snowflake’ lights on the ceiling and in the water lighting (under the surface of the water) during the races. Something which the backstroke athletes found very strange as they had very little lighting to guide them whilst racing! 

Caitlin said the camp was a wonderful once in a lifetime opportunity to travel abroad and experience and be part of a training camp of this type alongside other dedicated swimmers. The entire team trained together, worked out together and she said she thoroughly enjoyed being part of a team that really valued their swimming and all it encompasses and each one of them took the whole process seriously to ensure they performed to the best of their ability on the race days. 

Caitlin is looking forward to further major long course competitions over the coming months with the upcoming Kent Championships, English Schools Inter-Divisional Championships in mid-March and the British Championships in April before she sits her A-level exams in May and June.

Caitlin is then looking to continue her swimming journey further within a sports university performance squad and is very much looking forward to the challenges that may bring.

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