By Owen Morgan
Fresh from his medal-winning exploits at last weekend’s British Championships, Patrick Swan will lead Swansea Harriers’ bid to build on their first round showing in the National Athletics League this weekend.
The Harriers sit 12th in the Premiership table going into Saturday afternoon’s second round fixture, while fellow Welsh club Cardiff Athletics lie 15th in the 16-team division.
A shot put silver medallist at last weekend’s British Championships in Manchester, Swan will also compete in the discus in the NAL Premier West Group fixture hosted by Yate and District AC, which also features Bristol and West AC and Yeovil Olympiads, along with Cardiff.
Swansea’s men’s team manager David Jones feels his club are slightly stronger going into this week’s fixture.
As well as Swan, Jones said: “Nathan James goes again having won the javelin last time out, hoping to improve and getting closer to his best of 69m which he threw before the lockdowns.
“Tom Walley is once again in the pole vault. Tom won last time with a PB of 4.91m but since then has improved to 5.10m. Tom is again paired with veteran Glyn Price who won the B event last time.
“Osaze Aghedo is again in the triple jump hoping to improve upon his 14.54m last time and once again break 15m.
“Our sprints squad has been hit by a number of factors. Steffan Dylan Jones goes in the 400m following his bronze in the England u23 Championships, but we are missing Joe Brier and Aidan Leeson who have been selected for the European U23s in Tallinn.
“100m club record holder, Dan Beadsley, will only run the 200m rather than his specialist event.”
The Swansea team will also feature Commonwealth Games 400m hurdler Caryl Granville, who finished seventh at the British Championships final in 57.01 – a time which would have earned a medal at 10 of the last 15 finals.
Cardiff will also have plenty of British Championships finalists on duty at Yate.
Another Commonwealth Games star, Rebecca Chapman competes in the long-jump, while Jenny Nesbitt, who finished fifth in the 5,000m at Manchester, will go in 3000m and 1500m in Yate.
Lauren Cooper, who finished 7th at the British Champs will also have a busy day in the south west as she doubles up in the 1500m and 2,000m steeplechase.
Great Britain international James Tomlinson will also be multi-tasking as he goes in his specialist event, the discus, and the shot following on from his exploits at the British Champs where he finished sixth.
Introduced to replace the now defunct British Athletics League and UK Women’s League, the NAL was devised to revamp the domestic club structure.
For this season, due to COVID, the Premiership has been separated into four regional groups in order minimise travel and overnight stays and adhere to Covid-safe guidelines.
Given that clubs will face the same opposition each round according to geography rather than all other clubs, scoring is based on performance tables across the league rather than athlete positions at each match.
In each fixture, athletes will be allotted points and the clubs’ standings for that match will be an amalgamation of all their athletes’ tallies.
Standings convert to round points – 16 down to 1 for each division – in order to ascertain overall league positions. No promotion or relegation will take place this season.