Special Olympics - East Herts

SPECIAL Olympics East Herts hosted their 2nd Eastern Regional Swimming Gala on Saturday 26th October, 2013 at Herts Sports Village, Hatfield.

Fourteen teams from across the UK attended the gala bringing a total of 132 athletes who all have a learning disability.  Teams travelled from as far away as Warrington in Cheshire (Cheshire Penguins), Peterborough, Coventry, Reading, Hastings & Rother, Redditch, Mottingham (Sharks), Market Harborough, St. Albans, Marlins, Greater London, Electric Eels and Essex.


Swimmers enter their times and are then divisioned into heats according to their ability and speed.  If they exceed their time by more than 15% they are disqualified because it is deemed they have broken the Honest Effort Rule.

Special Olympics East Herts had a team of 20 swimmers on the evening.  In the Female 50m freestyle event Jessica Aldridge won gold (1:14.40); Ruby Codiroli silver (1.03.07); Tara Phillips bronze (1:18.28).

Hayley Sage, Olympic finalist from Beijing, and Commonwealth bronze medallist in syndronised diving, presented the medals alongside dad (Chris Sage) who is the Herts ASA President and was the GB diving judge at last year’s London Olympics.  Hayley’s sister Sam swam too fast in her first race the 50m freestyle and broke the Honest Effort Rule in a fantastic personal best time of (49.57), however Sam won a silver medal in the 100m freestyle in a time of (1:58.73).

In the male 50m freestyle event Mitchell Wright won gold (1:25.97); Luke Rogers broke the Honest Effort Rule with a new personal best time of 1:29.95 (this was actually the first time Luke had competed in the 50m event).  Ashley West came 4th (41.53); Marc Curtis finished 5th (53.32); Matthew Casey 6th (39:30); and Joel Weeks 7th (1:00.65).

In the female 25m backstroke event Jessica Aldridge won bronze (44.75); and Sian Richards finished 8th (54.60).

In the male 25m backstroke event Max Anker won gold (51.59); Luke Cooper silver (56.41) and Billy Elford bronze (1:17.02); Philip Goodall 5th (40.75); and Stephen Birks 6th (33.81).

In the male 100m freestyle event Marc Curtis, like Sam Sage, won silver medal (2.04.78) and Matthew Casey came 6th (1:31.57).

In the female 25m freestyle Sian Richards finished 5th (34.12) and so did Ruby Codiroli (27.53) with Tara Phillips finishing in 6th place (30.90).

In the male 25m freestyle event Vinny Gorry (38.47); Stephen Birks (21.03); and Daniel Sedgewick (34.78) all won gold medals; Ashley West won silver (18.04); Joel Weeks bronze (23.31); Billy Elford came 5th (1:11.36).  Philip Goodall finished 5th (32.78); Mitchell Wright 6th (37.74); with Luke Rogers and Jack Smith both breaking the Honest Effort Rule with personal best times 39.44 and 48.27 respectively.

Finishing with the relays our SOEH male Team B finished 4th Philip Goodall, Joel Weeks, Daniel Sedgewick and Mitchell Wright.

Janet Warrington said “the evening was fantastic.  We had a great team of volunteers and officials which helped make the evening such a success.  The athletes were absolutely brilliant and everyone appeared to enjoy themselves, which is the most important thing.”