Congratulations to the 71 Hemel swimmers who participated in the first of our collaborative Club Championships with Watford SC and swam the 400 free. Georgia Purkis broke her own age group Club record set just last weekend by a massive 5 seconds in an epic contest with Alice Fender which Alice just edged. There were 42 personal best times and no fewer than 23 swimmers entered the event for the first time, gaining valuable experience at this distance.
The idea of working with Watford was to create more balanced heats in longer distance events and hopefully to improve times. So although there was some fantastic racing between Hemel swimmers, notably Cameron Clark edging Jonny Farrow by 6 hundredths of a second after 16 lengths of cat and mouse tactical swimming, and Amber Stratford edging Grace Cawley by 9 hundredths of a second, there was also some tight races involving swimmers from both clubs. In heat 7 of the girls event Lois Emery, Emma Wilson of Watford, Holly Robinson and Freya Beresford were separated by just four seconds. In heat 8, Keelin McKenna just lost out to Fiona Holmes of Watford by 13 hundredths of a second whilst in the next heat sister Shona just lost out to Ceri Heard of Watford by 3 tenths of a second and Chloe Purkis pipped Shannon Nichols of Watford by 5 tenths of a second. Ethan Sutton and Matthew Redjeb of Watford had a great tussle with Chris Cox with only just over a second separating all three, and Josh Gaines capped the evening with an excellent swim against Harrison Lees of Watford with Josh posting the fastest time of the evening just 1 second ahead of Harrison.
This was never intended to be about the two clubs competing against each other, it was all about helping swimmers swim to the best of their ability and in that respect it was a great success. It was also notable that the atmosphere was much livelier than it normally is for this event. All in all the collaboration can be considered a great success.