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Swimmers warming up for Welsh Championships

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PEMBROKESHIRE COUNTY SWIMMING (PCS) are in the final throws of preparation for the Welsh Championships, due to be held at the National Pool in Swansea, between Friday (Mar 30) and Monday (Apr 2).

PCS Assistant coach Sam Jones took the opportunity to break the training schedule to undertake a Question and Answer session with his young charges, allowing them to focus on the task before them but also reflect on the progress they have made since joining the County Squads.

 

Tom Webb

Club: Haverfordwest Seals

National Performance Squad: Aged 17

Favourite stroke: Breast stroke

School: Pembrokeshire College

Favourite subject: Studying for a Level 3 Diploma in Sport

Training commitment: “I attend three morning sessions (6am – 7:30am) during the week and between 7am and 9am on a Saturday. For four evenings a week I am swimming in tow hour blocks. On top of this I do five sessions of land training a week, for 40 minutes and attend the Strength Academy Wales sessions.”

 

Grace Thomas

Club: Milford Tigers

Academy Squad; Aged 10

Favourite stroke: Butterfly and back stroke

School: Broad Haven Primary School

Favourite subject: Maths

Training commitment: “On waking up I also spend time stretching before enjoying breakfast usually porridge. If I am training in the morning I have a piece of toast and a drink before I leave for the pool and then have porridge when I come home, often with croissants before heading to school.

“In the evening I do homework and always try to relax, chilling on my IPad. Until evening training before eating well and reading before going to sleep.”

What to do like doing to relax when you aren’t swimming: “iPad, reading, gymnastics or if it’s not raining, going on my trampoline.”

What are your future ambitions in swimming in Pembrokeshire County Swimming: “I would like to get into the Performance squad in Pembrokeshire County Swimming. My future ambition is to get into the Olympics.”

 

Toby Price

Club: Tenby Dolphins

Junior National Squad: Aged 12

Favourite stroke: “Freestyle is my most successful and generally my favourite race. However, I’m beginning to improve all my stroke improves and now enjoy backstroke and butterfly more and more.”

School: Greenhill

Favourite subject: PE, Maths and Science.

Training commitment: “I Set my alarm at 4:30am and get up by 4:40am. I leave the house by 5am, eating breakfast in the car and trying to focus on the training ahead by listening to ‘wake up music’!

“I train from 5:40am to 7:30am, returning to get to school for 8:20am, where I can have time to eat a hearty breakfast. Evening training is from 7pm to 9pm at Tenby Leisure Centre, after which I enjoy a healthy cooked meal before heading to bed for 10pm.”

What to do like doing to relax when you aren’t swimming: “When I’m not swimming. I like to play on my PS4. I also play football for Tenby u12’s and Pembrokeshire County Schools.”

What’s been your most memorable experience when swimming with Pembrokeshire County: “I really enjoyed the Carmarthen Gala at Christmas. I felt that the positive training methods of the county pathway showed in my racing. It was also a fun gala with a good atmosphere and I also got to take part in relays, alongside my team mates, which l love.”

What are your future ambitions in swimming in Pembrokeshire County Swimming: “I would like to progress up through the county squads. I also aim to continue improving my strokes and my times. I hope to qualify for the nationals this year.”

 

Henry White

Club: Haverfordwest Seals

National Squad: Aged 13

Favourite stroke: Back stroke and the 200 metre Individual Medley

School: Sir Thomas Picton

Favourite subject: Georgraphy

Training commitment: “I train every weekday, sometimes twice a day. Occasionally I train on a Saturday morning too. This amounts to 14 hrs a week. I wake up at 5am to be at the pool for 5:40am. I have some cereal before I leave my house, then train for 2 hours and before walking to school. I have another breakfast at school!

“After school I walk to the leisure centre to have a pre training snack, stretch in the gym before doing onto the pool deck for another two hour swim session. I refuel with my main meal of the day, rehydrate before settling to sort out academic tasks and prepare again for the followings days schooling, hopefully being ready to sleep around 9pm.”

What to do like doing to relax when you aren’t swimming: “I enjoy playing FIFA 18 on the PS4 and going outside on the trampoline.”

What’s been your most memorable experience when swimming with Pembrokeshire County: “Getting into my first national final in the 2017 Welsh Winter Championships. It was in the 200 metre Backstroke.”

What are your future ambitions in swimming in Pembrokeshire County Swimming: “I would like to get into the Welsh National Squad and represent Wales at the Commonwealth Games.”

News

BBC Cymru Wales announces new line-up of sports content

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BBC Cymru Wales has announced an exciting new fixture list of content for the forthcoming sporting season. With sports fans looking for immediate coverage of their team, keeping up to date with the latest news and analysis, the broadcaster will be introducing new content on iPlayer, Sounds and online.

Under the Scrum V and Feast of Football brands BBC Cymru Wales will be launching two new digital first, multi-platform programmes – designed for audiences to watch or listen to on their phones, tablets and laptops as well as on television or BBC iPlayer.

The multi-platform Scrum V show will feature big names talking rugby in a relaxed and no holds barred environment, presented by Lauren Jenkins.

And of course there’ll be plenty of live action as Scrum V’s first URC game of the season kicks off on Friday, 20 September when Cardiff take on Zebre. Sarra Elgan will bring all the action from the Welsh clubs every Friday evening on BBC Two Wales, following all four Welsh regions in their quest for this year’s title.  

With audiences wanting their highlights quickly, Scrum V’s evening highlights show will no longer be on Sunday nights.  Instead, highlights will be available shortly after the final whistles of all Welsh regional matches online and on Scrum V’s social channels.  These highlights will also be combined and shown as one comprehensive package on BBC Wales TV and iPlayer. And the Scrum V Podcast continues weekly on BBC Sounds with Gareth Rhys Owen.

Other new shows under the Scrum V banner this season include Scrum V Top 5s which sees Mammoth star and diehard rugby fan Mike Bubbins inviting guests to choose iconic moments and characters from the game. Among those featured in this eight-part series is Sam Warburton who reveals some very unlikely choices for his Top 5 Teammates.

Football fans also have a new multi-platform show. With a bumper autumn of international football approaching, an eight part series of Feast of Football will have unparalleled access into the national squad – capturing all the excitement and the big talking points of the Welsh game.

Presented by former Wales captain Ashley Williams, this will be a must watch for football fans and will tap into the spirit and passion of the Red Wall.  Filmed at the Football Association of Wales’s headquarters on the eve of the men’s and women’s internationals, the show will feature interviews and exclusive access to players from both camps, as well as short films from around Wales.

Ashley Williams said: “I’m really excited to be presenting Feast of Football. We’ve got great access to the squads and we’ll be giving fans a brilliant insight into Welsh football and talking about the things that matter to them. We want them to feel they’re right at the heart of the camp and part of the story.”

BBC Cymru Wales is also increasing its online sports coverage with more team topic pages and live text pages while a new BBC Radio Wales and BBC Sounds series this autumn – Iconic: The Rise of the Women in Red – presented by Wales’s most capped footballer Jess Fishlock will chart the growth of women’s football.

Carolyn Hitt, Head of Sport at BBC Cymru Wales said: “Scrum V is our iconic rugby brand and will remain at the heart of our sports coverage, with content throughout the week offering analysis and predictions, timely highlights as well as marking the remarkable moments. BBC Wales is proud to have brought Scrum V to audiences for almost 30 years and our aim is to capture the interest and imagination of a new generation of rugby fans as well as rewarding our longstanding audiences with new content.”

“As the game evolves and the way we consume sport changes, we’re looking to provide more instant coverage, courtesy of our new digital formats. Rugby and football fans can rest assured that the new offer will bring the latest news, views and analysis to their laptop, smart phone and TV.

“I’m delighted that from next season we can bring more football to fans across Wales.  Feast of Football will expand with a podcast and iPlayer and TV versions. Feast of Football will talk Welsh football in all its glory and in the slightly less glorious times. 

“It’s also true that the BBC, like other broadcasters is having to cut its cloth in line with its budgets. Increased costs across the board, as well as our ambition to cover a broader range of sport means we’re having to focus where we spend our money and ensure we’re giving our audience the sport coverage they want in the places they want to enjoy it.”

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European stars line up for European Rally Championship

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THE FIA European Rally Championship will return to Wales for the first time in 28 years as the JDS Machinery Rali Ceredigion returns this year with an exciting new route covering the stunning landscapes of Ceredigion, Carmarthenshire, and Powys.

Taking place from 30 August to 1 September, 2024, the event will attract top competitors from across the world, with an extended and demanding route that will offer both participants and spectators an unforgettable experience. 

Spectators are invited to join the action and community festivities. Key viewing areas and fan zones will be set up along the route. For details on the best spots to watch and ticketing information, visit Rali Ceredigion’s official website

This year, Rali Ceredigion not only aims to deliver exhilarating motorsport entertainment but also to promote local tourism and sustainability. The rally route showcases the natural beauty and cultural heritage of Mid and West Wales, encouraging visitors to explore and appreciate the region. Efforts are also being made to ensure the event is environmentally friendly, with initiatives such as low-carbon race fuel and one of the world’s largest carbon offsetting programmes for rally events ensuring the event offsets and captures more carbon that it produces through local and national environmental projects.

Rali Ceredigion was the first UK event to have a specific class for electric vehicles and is the only rally in the UK to have achieved the stringent FIA environmental accreditation.

As part of the ‘Rali Engage’ initiative, Rali Ceredigion is visiting schools in the area and has launched a competition for schools to win up to £1,000 to spend on environmental projects. There is also a competition for children to design one of the rally cars that will take place in this year’s event.

Charlie Jukes, Rali Ceredigion Event Director said“We are thrilled to bring Rali Ceredigion to these new and exciting stages and, through the extended coverage of the event, create global awareness of the region and drive tourism opportunities. This event is a celebration of not just motorsport but also the vibrant communities and breathtaking landscapes of Wales. We encourage everyone to join us and experience the thrill and beauty of this event.” 

In a joint statement, Councillor Darren Price, Leader of Carmarthenshire County Council, Councillor Bryan Davies, Leader of Ceredigion County Council, and Councillor James Gibson-Watt, Leader of Powys County Council said: “Rali Ceredigion is a prime example of an event that brings economic as well as wider benefits to our area. We are excited to welcome a large international audience to mid and West Wales for an event that highlights our natural assets. The event is also on an exciting journey to boost its sustainability, providing a world-leading example of how such an event can drive environmental performance whilst delivering a great experience for local people and visitors alike.”

The event is being supported by Ceredigion County Council and partially funded by the UK Shared Prosperity Fund from the UK Government. Rally organisers will be on hand to talk about the event in more detail at this year’s Royal Welsh Show. Come and say hi and pick up a rally guide from the Ceredigion County Council stand on Thursday afternoon, 25 July (Stand 477-E. Grid ref: F4, situated behind the main ring).

Plan Your Visit 

For comprehensive details on the event schedule, road closures, and spectator zones, visit www.raliceredigion.co.uk. Follow us on social media for live updates and join the conversation using #RaliCeredigion2024. 

Staying for longer in the area? There are many beautiful places to discover. Visit Discover Powys for inspiration for your stay: https://www.midwalesmyway.com/

Join us for an unforgettable weekend of rally excitement and discover the best of Wales with Rali Ceredigion 2024! 

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Gareth Southgate resigns as England manager following Euro final

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In a significant turn of events, England manager Gareth Southgate has stepped down just two days after England’s 2-1 defeat to Spain in the 2024 European Championship final in Berlin. This marks England’s second consecutive Euros final loss, having been beaten on penalties by Italy at Wembley three years prior.

Southgate, 53, who led the national team in 102 matches over his eight-year tenure, was due to see his contract expire later this year. In a heartfelt statement, he expressed his deep pride in having served his country: “As a proud Englishman, it has been the honour of my life to play for England and to manage England. It has meant everything to me, and I have given it my all. But it’s time for change, and for a new chapter.”

Football Association chief executive Mark Bullingham announced that the process to find Southgate’s successor is underway, aiming for a swift appointment. He assured that an interim solution is in place if required and that there would be no further comments until a new manager is named.

England’s next fixture is against the Republic of Ireland in the Nations League on 7 September. FA sources have indicated that the selection process is unlikely to be restricted to English managers alone. Potential candidates include Under-21 boss Lee Carsley for an interim role, Newcastle’s Eddie Howe, former Brighton and Chelsea manager Graham Potter, ex-Chelsea and Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino, as well as speculations around ex-Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp and Thomas Tuchel, who left Bayern Munich last season.

Southgate’s tenure was notable, as he became the only England manager besides 1966 World Cup winner Sir Alf Ramsey to lead the team to a major tournament final. He guided England through four major tournaments, including the World Cup semi-finals in 2018 and the quarter-finals in 2022. Under his leadership, England won nine knockout matches, a significant improvement from the six won in the 50 years prior.

Despite his successes, Southgate faced mounting pressure this summer, with many fans critical of his utilisation of England’s talented attacking players. The tension peaked when supporters expressed their discontent following a goalless draw against Slovenia in the Euro 2024 group stage. However, he regained some support during England’s run to the final.

Reflecting on his time, Southgate praised the current squad: “The squad we took to Germany is full of exciting young talent and they can win the trophy we all dream of. We have the best fans in the world, and their support has meant the world to me. I’m an England fan and I always will be.”

Prince William, the FA president, commended Southgate for his leadership, saying: “Thank you for showing humility, compassion, and true leadership under the most intense pressure and scrutiny. And thank you for being an all-round class act. You should be incredibly proud of what you’ve achieved.”

Tributes also poured in from players, with Declan Rice and Jordan Pickford expressing their gratitude for Southgate’s guidance and support.

Southgate, who replaced Sam Allardyce in 2016, concluded with a message of thanks to his players and staff, singling out assistant Steve Holland as “one of the most talented coaches of his generation.” Reflecting on his journey, he stated, “I joined the FA in 2011, determined to improve English football. I hope we get behind the players and the team at St George’s Park and the FA who strive every day to improve English football, and understand the power football has to drive positive change.”

Bullingham lauded Southgate for making “the impossible job possible” and laying strong foundations for future success. He added, “Over the last eight years they have transformed the England men’s team, delivering unforgettable memories for everyone who loves the Three Lions. We look back at Gareth’s tenure with huge pride – his contribution to the English game, including a significant role in player development, and in culture transformation has been unique.”

As the search for a new manager begins, Southgate’s departure marks the end of a remarkable chapter in English football, one that brought hope, pride, and a renewed belief in the Three Lions.

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