There was a great start to Hemel’s Herts County Championship campaign at Borehamwood in the 800 and 1500m freestyle distance session on Saturday night. Tom Sherriff and Max Jelfs became County Champions in the 1500m, there was a silver for Georgia Purkis in the 800m, a first ever Regional qualifying time for Alice Fender, new Regional times for Max, Georgia and Eleanor Bevan, new Club records for Georgia, Alice and Max, and personal best times for all seven Hemel swimmers who took part.
First up were the girls in the 800 metres where Georgia Purkis, Eleanor Bevan, Leanne Abrey and Alice Fender were competing. In the 12 year old age group Georgia Purkis had an excellent swim with a time of 10.03.19. Georgia took the silver medal narrowly missing out on the gold. It was also a 27 second PB, 19 seconds inside her regional time and a new club record.
In the 13 year old age group Leanne Abrey and Eleanor Bevan competed and came 5th and 10th respectively in times of 10.15.64 and 10.22.44.Both were excellent swims well inside their seed times and Eleanor’s was also a Regional qualifying time.
Finally for the girls in the 14 year old age group Alice Fender had a tremendous swim to record her first ever Regional qualifying time in 9.48.22.It was an excellent swim going through the 400 on her PB for that event before digging in hard on the back end of her race. Alice narrowly missed the medals coming a close 4th in her age group and her 16 second PB was good enough to also give her a new club record.
Inspired by the girls the boys were next up in the 1,500 metres Freestyle which is arguably the toughest event in swimming. First up was Harrison Newbury-Kemp who continued his rapid recent progression with a gritty swim in the 14 year old age group to record a time of 18.47.16 which was a 29 second PB and good enough to give him 9th place in a very tough age group.
In the 13 year old age group Max Jelfs had the fastest seed time, but went into the pool knowing that 3 boys had already gone significantly inside his PB in his age group. In a perfectly paced race Max went through 400 metres on his PB for that event and kept going to smash the 18 minute barrier in a time of 17.57.27, which was a 30 second PB. Max took the gold medal in his age group, which was also a new club record and a staggering 71 seconds inside his Regional qualifying time.
In the final heat Tom Sherriff had an excellent swim to break the 17 minute barrier for the first time in a time of 16.53.79 ,which was good enough to give him the gold in the 18 and over age group. Tom narrowly missed an extremely challenging Regional time for the open age group.
The main weekends of the Herts County Championship take place over two weekends in March and the club has a record 72 qualifiers. The early signs are these look set to be an exciting few weekends for the club. There are also high hopes of further regional qualifiers to add to the record 23 there are already this season following the latest addition in Alice Fender.