Rhondda swimmers continue their journey to being red hot with great success in three recent galas – achievements that a couple of years back were just a dream. On Saturday 7 October, Rhondda’s A team won the inaugural David Napper Gala, beating four other teams in Rhondda Leisure Centre. Two weeks ago, Rhondda beat five other teams to win the Natwest Shield in Pontypool and the following day came a close second overall in a friendly gala in Barry.
The atmosphere in all the galas was electric, with huge support from the Rhondda friends and families, many of whom had their heads nearly falling off with all the cheering.
Rhondda Head Coach Craig Napper said the club’s swimmers were “awesome” and well deserving of their success. “I would like to thank everyone who made today an amazing gala. My dad would have loved it.. all you swimmers were awesome and the support from all the families was amazing…The future looks good for Rhondda Swimming Club.”
He added that the highlight of the David Napper Gala was to see so many new young swimmers coming through with great gusto and enthusiasm. The club fielded two full teams of swimmers – some swimming in a gala for the first time – and a full team of officials.
The late David Napper was the first coach of Rhondda Swimming Club and was instrumental in setting it up in 1975. He was also manager of Rhondda Leisure Centre for many years.
In the Pontypool gala, Rhondda took the lead in the first race and stayed there, widening its lead and eventually beating the next team by 25 points. It was a similar story in the David Napper Gala, where the win was by 17 points.
Rhondda is performing well with its relay teams, who are regularly winning many of their races. A few years ago, the club was not always even able to put relay teams together for every event.
Rhondda for several years was accustomed to coming last or next but last in galas. Now, the club is drawing the attention of other clubs.
Gerald Sims, Head Coach of Cwmbran Otters, said: “As a coach for over 30 years, I knew David personally and agree he would have loved today’s gala, but he would have been proud of what his son Craig has done for the club. Well done, Rhondda. I have seen the improvement over the last couple of years. All of you are great friends of Cwmbran Otters.”